19 JULY 1919, Page 13



SIR,—In your leading article " The Future of the Turk " you refer to " the fine old Jewish apophthegm : They say. What say they? Let them say.' " But is it of Jewish origin? Henry, the great Irish scholar, quotes it in the introduction to his Virgilian commentary in the Greek form: Xi-yovetv d Movo-cv.

Xeyirtocrav• piaez we He does not, however, state where it is first to be found. The saying, in the form in which you give it, is the motto of a great Scots family, the Keiths.

To turn from old to new, I have been interested by two reviews which have recently appeared in your columns. The first was that of the diverting novel The Young Visiters. Yet it seemed to me strange that in your long notice, as in all the other notices of the book which I have seen, no mention is made of the classical example of precocity in belles lettres- Marjorie Fleming, the " pet " of Walter Scott, immortalized in Dr. John Brown's beautiful study, and the only child author who appears in the Dictionary of National Biography. Some years ago she was " discovered " by Mr. William Archer, but has apparently again been forgotten, though, with a sound instinct, Mr. George Sampson has included Dr. John Brown's essay in his excellent series of " Cambridge Readers." The resemblance between "Daisy Ashford " and Marjorie Fleming is sufficiently marked to make it surprising that Sir James Barrie, a loyal Scot, should not have noticed it in his Introduc- tion. But in quality the new is to the old as wafer to wine.

The other review that specially interested me was that of The Owl, the new illustrated periodical. Your reviewer was most sympathetic, but-he omitted to comment on the strange choice of a title, familiar (to old fogies like myself) from its associa- tion with the brilliant satirico-political-society journal of some fifty years back. It is pretty clear that the founders of the new Owl had never heard of the old one, for as ultra-Georgians they would not be likely to acknowledge their indebtedness to a mid-Victorian exemplar. And yet there was a day when Laurence Oliphant (who, if I mistake not, was one of the con- tributors) was looked upon as a highly unconventional and almost revolutionary figure in the world of letters.

To maintain the consistent inconsequence of this letter, let me tell you a story from Ireland, the home of topsy-turvydom. A lady was recently discussing the situation with a Sinn Fein friend of pro-German sympathies and pointing out how under a German protectorate Ireland would have been tyrannized over and dragooned into conformity with Prussian ideals. " Oh no! " was the prompt answer, " the English would never let [Our correspondent is right. We remember to have seen the maxim quoted from a mediaeval Jewish theologian, who lived long before George, Earl Marischal, inscribed it at Marischal College, Aberdeen, in 1593. But the Greek version, we find, was a favourite posy for rings found at Pompeii, and occurs on late

• Roman gems, with the addition " cry TEL Ise. auglaipei crot " (But love thou me : 'tie good for. thee).—Ea. Spectator.]