13 DECEMBER 1940, Page 14


SIR,—In the Christmas Literary Number of The Spectator your reviewer cites without demur the statement that Sir Walter Scott never mentions the Napoleonic War in his novels. In the last chapter of The Antiquary there is a vivid description of the prepara- tions made in 179— to repel a French invasion. Perhaps the war which began in 1793 cannot strictly speaking be termed Napoleonic, at least in its early stages; but what of the splendid elegy on Pitt and Fox in the introduction to Marmion—itself a novel in verse? Sir Waiter, like Shakespeare, ranged the whole vast landscape of history, seeking backgrounds for his living pictures; nor did he neglect his own times, in whose public life he took a very active part. Miss Austen, it is true, chose to sit in a quiet room and paint us miniatures no less alive. Surely we may be thankful for both; and, apart from that, appreciate contemporary merit without "ex- tortions on the frames of old."—Yours truly,

Levati, .St. lohn's Road, Cosham.