SIR,-1 wonder how many of your readers are as sick
of Strix as I am?
In your issue of March 29 he wastes an unconscion- able amount of your good space with a fussy, nig- gling, atrabiliar dissection of some probably harmless back-to-nature book about the highlands. In this particular he is sufficiently rebutted and rebuked by the objective review of the book published (to your honour and the author's ease) on another page of the same issue.
The week before he had had (at his usual length) some trouble with a telephone operator. To buttress his case he had resort (as he would) to the always discreditable and now outmoded trick of seeking to deride a social inferior by laborious lopping of the aspirates from the offender's reported speech. Apart from the fact that I have found modern operators— particularly the long-distance ones—consistently helpful and frequently charming I have not heard one,,, for years, male or female, who did not speak stan- dard English—with regional intonations in the north and west, admitted, but with all the aitches intact. From that, this aggressive man proceeded to a general castigation of all those who fall short of willing or subservient service to him. I think that this may be a matter of approach. Personally I find a fairly general friendliness everywhere. Sometimes this becomes embarrassing, and I admit occasional irritation at the indiscriminate endearments which accompany the sales of certain commodities, from a bus ticket upwards. But I would rather be called 'duck' or 'clearie' than what Strix no doubt is fre- quently called. If he is as objectionable in life as I find him in print, I am surprised that he ever gets a civil answer at all.—Yours faithfully,