25 SEPTEMBER 1942, Page 14

THE VICTORIAN AGE SIR,—I have read the usual cry from

one of your correspondents against the Victorian Age, " for whose foibles and complacency we are still paying." We are paying, however, for the foibles and complacency of a generation to which your correspondent no doubt belongs, 1900 to t939, the forty years of England in the wilderness: ignorant and foolish people, who despised Victoria, and despised Disraeli, and despised Kipling and Rhodes and Chamberlain, who were ashamed of the word empire, and besmeared the glorious pride of the past with sham modesty and real degradation. We are paying for the moral cowardice of politi- cians which the people chose themselves, who were afraid to tell us the truth when they knew it (at least one Prime Minister has owned it), but mostly were too bemused with prejudice to see any truth at all. They saw only votes, and the voters wanted only more wages and less work. We surviving Victorians hale been humiliated to see our country throwing away its influence, afraid of its duties, ready to lick the boots of a Japanese or the toes of a Gandhi or the breech of a Hitler.

It is a great encouragement to see now the trade union leaders, most of them at least, learning a few elementary truths at middle age, but still I see strikes and clutchings after more and more wages. We Victorians have to do with less and less wages, and more and more grabbing at anything we may have, but we submit in the public