27 JANUARY 1950, Page 18

Middle-Class Argument

SIR,—Being an elderly middle-class housewife myself, I read with interest George's and Jane's letters in the Spectator of January 20th. May make a few comments on Jane's ? To begin with, I think that few people now believe literally in "fair shares." Equal opportunity, yes, and to achieve that the minimum necessities of life, both material and spiritual, must be assured to everyone—and the spiritual necessities that I have in mind are freedom from acute money worries and from squalid material conditions, without which freedom mental and spiritual development is difficult if not impossible.

Then, although I completely agree with much of what she says, and especially about one being " stuck with the broken-down framework of our old lives," I join issue with her over two things. One, that such a change as this could be made without some regimentation. She and many like her would honestly make every effort to adapt themselves, and not to take advantage of freedom, but what about many others less enlightened and more selfish ? As usual, the more conscientious must suffer for the irresponsible.

And, two, that our sacrifices are for objects not worth while. When I fall exhausted into a chair after a day of manual 1: bour in houses and garden, I am cheered by the thought that my work contributes indirectly to the easement of conditions for so many women—women for whom such a day, and indeed a longer and harder one, was just in the order of things ; and was, moreover, aggravated by under-nourishment, by preventable disease, and by living conditions which have to be seen to be believed. (Incidentally, if our predecessors had thought a little more about the comfort and convenience of our maid-servants, we should now have many more labour-saving devices in our houses.) And when I think of my charming house in the country, of my pretty garden, my bulbs from Holland, my library subscription, and my good wireless which brings me symphony concerts to lighten the hours of ,darning, I cannot find it in my heart to grudge other people their football pools and their cinemas, which so often are their only outlet and escape. I cannot help feeling that Jane has expressed only one side of a very

big subject.—Yours faithfully, E. M. HAMILTON. Maryfield, Haslemere, Surrey.