20 MARCH 1942, Page 13


Bannard says: " They might believe like Robert Brown- ing that—' God's in his Heaven—All's right with the world.'" But what evidence is there to show that Browning did believe this? He put the words into the mouth of a little Italian girl—Pippa—who was starting off for her only holiday on a fine morning. All seemed to her very good indeed. It is the business of a dramatist to find appro- priate words for his characters. Shakespeare says in a song: " On a bat's back I do fly " and " Where the bee sucks there suck I." But We need not therefore suppose that Shakespeare habitually amused himself in this manner. Nor assume that Tennyson's great desire was 10 be " Wakened early " in order to be "Queen of the May." In each case the poet supplied words to the characters he created. When Browning spoke for himself he said: " I was ever a fighter, so one fight more, &c." Thus making it evident that he had found much to struggle against in a far from perfect world. I am a Victorian myself. As children we were told of the duty of each one to try to leave the world better than he found it. There was constant work for improving and extending education. My grand-

father opened four large schools in the poorer parts of London and carried them on at his own expense. Work for improving the Factory Acts ; Prevention of Cruelty to Children and to Animals ; Reformatory Schools (one of the first was managed by my great-uncle), and other work of the kind was carried on and constantly discussed. Far from thinking all was right with the world, we as children heard mainly of the efforts needed to improve it. Mrs. Browning's Cry of the Children gives a truer account of Victorian ideas than can be gained by removing two lines of Robert's poem from the context.—Yours, &c., M. E. DURHAM.