20 JUNE 1931, Page 12

A Penny of Observation


• Cradles are being sold in America fitted with a microphone attachment. This enables the mother, when duty or pleasure takes her away from the nursery, to " listen-in on baby." Wireless experts, moreover, assure us that it is now possible, at a cost of £7,000, actually to watch over an infant (or anything else, for that matter) by television within a radius of 200 miles. How charming a picture is conjured up of the modern American home ! Side (metaphorically speaking) by side, mother and child are watching the daylight die: he in his New York nursery, she at a bridge-party in Yonkers. Her features aglow with tenderness, she bends over her portable transmitter. Is all well with the little one ? . . Heaven be praised, it is. The loud, angry roaring which the instrument was emitting a moment ago has died away. The tiny features are complacent now. She knows that loving, though mechanical, hands are keeping the automatic gramophone well supplied with syncopated nursery rhymes. Perhaps, as she switches off, she misquotes—woman-like- from the Midsummer Night's Dream : " I'll put a gurgle round about the earth In forty minutes . . ."

If only father were here—or at any rate within 200 miles— to share this holy intimacy ! But father, poor man, is in Reno, queueing up for a divorce.