4 FEBRUARY 1938, Page 6

Old soldiers, they say, never die. Nor, it appears, do

old jokes. In last week's Spectator Dame Edith Lyttelton, reviewing Hereward Carring-ton's The Psychic World, quoted from it some examples of condemned innovations, among them bath-tubs, concerning which Mr. Carrington writes that "in Boston there was an ordinance forbidding their use except on medical advice." The original author of that statement, I learn, was Mr. H. L. Mencken, who pro- mulgated it as a joke, presumably at the expense of highbrow Boston, some twenty years ago. Since then it has gained wide currency as plain assertion and Mr. Mencken has given up the hopeless task of convincing the world that no one ever said it seriously.

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