23 SEPTEMBER 1882, Page 14


OF THE "SPECTATOR."] have read with great interest all that has appeared in your columns of late concerning employment for women. I do not remember to have seen anything concerning one branch of industry in which women might have their full share, and which, even in competitive London, seems far from being ex- hausted ; I allude to that of reading aloud.

Why should we not see in the daily papers some such adver- tisement as the following ?—

EADING ALOUD.—Miss So-and-So roads aloud History, Science, Alo Theology, Fiction, Poetry, Drama, &a., as required. Specially qualified to read to the Sick and Invalid. Highest references on this paint from the Medical Faculty. Terms, at her OWIl residence, 7— per hour; at employer s residence, — per hour. Frenoh (acquired in

Paris), or German (acquired in Dresden), at double the above charges. • It occurs to me that reading-rooms might also be established, perhaps in conjunction with the "Library and Reading-room" of the pattern already familiar to us, where a man might drop in, and hear reading aloud on his favourite subject. The difficulty of arranging details might be great, but surely not insuperable.

I am myself, Mr. Editor, as you have probably already sur- mised, a man of such defective eyesight as to be almost debarred from reading for myself ; exceedingly fond of books, I find it impossible to get anything like the amount of reading aloud I should like done for me by my family. An exceptional case, you may say. Granted ; yet, surely, in such a big place as London, there must be thousands of people who, from defective eyesight, or from other causes, cannot read as much as they would like, nor get themselves read to as much as they would like, by anybody who can read aloud well, and to whom such a resource as I have suggested would be most welcome,—as welcome as the money would be to many a lady, scarcely quali- fied to be a governess in these exigeant days, and yet anxious to earn money in some way other than that of menial occupation. Of course, I am aware that ladies do already read aloud for employers, who, in some shape or other, remunerate them for their services. But I think that the services of women in this way might be greatly extended, systematised, and made more easily available.—I am, Sir, &c., PURBLIND.