Dear Sir:

The news in PAW (Nov. 30) that the undergraduates have adopted the fashion of carrying umbrellas brings a note of hope in an otherwise too cheerless world.

An umbrellaphile friend of mine used to say that the umbrella was the greatest invention since the wheel, until it was pointed out that the umbrella, in the primitive form of a large leaf or woven mat on a stick, was probably invented even earlier. The umbrella was surely one of the first artifacts. When Man learned to come in out of the rain, he also learned not to walk about in it without protection overhead. The umbrella is thus a symbol of civilization, deeply ingrained since the dawn of man­kind, and it is only proper that the “ivier­than-thou look” should be identical with the “more-civilized-than-thou look.”

Lest anyone be suspicious, I want to state that I am not in the umbrella business. But I am heartened by the evidence in PAW that umbrellas are becoming popular with the leaders of the future. I am investing heavily, as I am confident that umbrellas are going up.

Princeton,. N.J.