Dear Mr. Editor-There are few sweeter moments in the year than those in which one is engaged in choosing the vacation hat. No other garment implies so much. A vista of coming idleness floats through the brain as you stop before the hatter's at different points in your daily walk, and consider the last new thing in wideawakes. Then there rises before the mind's eye the imminent bliss of emancipation from the regulation chimney-pot of Cockney England. Two-thirds of all pleasure reside in anticipation and retrospect; and the anticipation of the yearly exodus in a soft felt is amongst the least alloyed of all lookings forward to the jaded man of business. By the way, did it ever occur to you, sir, that herein lies the true answer to that Sphinx riddle so often asked in vain, even of Notes and Queries: What is the origin of the proverb ''As mad as a hatter?'' The inventor of the present hat of civilisation was the typical hatter. There, I will not charge you anything for the solution; but we are not to be for ever oppressed by the results of this great insanity. Better times are in store for us, or I mistake the signs of the times in the streets and shop windows. Beards and chimney-pots cannot long co-exist.