27 MARCH 1915, Page 11


[To roe Barron or Tor IIIPACTRTOR."1 Sts, Will you permit a minister of religion, whose duties lie in a provincial town and a few neighbouring villages, to tell you from the bottom of his heart how moved he has been by your first two leading articles in last Saturday's SpectaforI They are like the focussing, by a master hand, of thoughts and convictions which have gripped my soul mightily in the past few weeks. I ought to tell you one personal thing which perhaps gives me some right to speak. Since last August, without intermission, Territorial troops have been stationed in Bedford. Like thousands more, in various parte of the country, who could not enlist, I asked myself how I could prove my patriotism. I could not give more than a mite to war relief funds. I turned my drawing-room into a soldiers' room, a room for rest, recreation, and letter-writing. Sunday and weekday alike, from morning till night, for seven months, any man in khaki has bad right of entry. Too grateful I cannot be for an opportunity which has given me, and shit gives me, the honour of, at least, twenty visits a day—many of them daily repeat visits—from soldiers of the King. It has meant the punctuation of one's sermon-making with much vigorous laughter, and the break-up of many cosy hours, but I do not think I have done anything which my Master of Life more truly approves. Does it give me the right to appreciate your splendid summons to increased national seriousness P

You tell your readers in "News of the Week" that the country is waiting for a lead. "Nothing would rouse it more quickly than if our rulers were to take the glasses out of our hands, throw the liquor on the ground, and tell we firmly ' No more of that till the war is over.' " The country, I humbly think, would gratefully respond. So many of us need to be saved from ourselves. " How oft the eight of means to do ill deeds makes deeds ill done !" As you are careful to indicate, it is not a question of recreation but of disabling self-indulgence. In a war that is shaking the earth and digging new graves every day anything and everything that dims the eye or enfeebles the hand of a single Englishman should be plucked out and cast from us.—I am, Sir, Ac.,

30 Cauidwell Street, Bedford. J. EDWARD HARLOW.