26 NOVEMBER 1937, Page 20


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] SIR,—On exagire, if one must show off that one knows the language. To such an extent that one would think one's leg was being pulled if one could suspect one's weekly intelligencer of permitting so irreverent a performance. Is one really supposed to believe that " Under Thirty VI " represents anything but the most intense and maudlin egotism ? One is apparently so " hard," so " disillusioned," so " cynical " that one can do nothing but shudder at the " tmintellectual timidity " of women in " 3rd class carriages " (why only 3rd ?) or have the vapours at the thought of the " overwhelming horrors of a war." Meanwhile, one has apparently not enough spirit to do anything about either of these horrors, nor even enough personality to exist as " I," but only enough to cling to the skirts of anonymity as " one." As an Under Thirty, I shudder rather at the thought that this is apparently speaking for me, to a, thank heaven, limited extent. Your Under Thirties, Sir, are such a craven, spineless set that I am forced to wonder whether they really exist at All except as ghosts, inside or outside your offices.

Have none of them ever read Candide, or thought at all about the true contribution of individuals to society ? Has any of them ever realised that an army does not consist entirely of generals ? They mope and squawk, and because they are not at once given dazzling positions or hailed as saviours of the modern world, they announce that they will not play any more, but are going off to desert islands or to fits of accidie. They are kind enough not to blame anyone else for the mess, but they feebly deny the use of trying to clear up

even a corner of it. Heaven help us all if these are ever to be in charge of us.

May I put in a protest on behalf of those of us who are trying to do something, even if we have to 'prevent ourselves looking beyond our noses in order to raise the necessary courage ? We may all be slaughtered, but we may not ; in the meantime cultivons, not the whole world, but our own