22 MARCH 1957, Page 8

LONG BEFORE Miss Nancy Mitford was heard of, the English

system of titles has been a stumbling- block to foreigners. In their early book, The Holy Family, Marx and Engels were able to jeer at some length at a German philosophical opponent for referring to Sir James Graham simply as 'Sir Graham.' Marxist scholarship has decayed in the last hundred years in many ways, but I have never come across such a curious example as one which now appears in the Moscow Young Com- munist paper Komsomolskaya Pravda. It prints an article which starts off with the question 'What do young British lords do in their spare time?' and finds the answer in the behaviour of 'Lord Anthony Clive' and 'Lord Basil David.' These fascist peers have, it seems, been leading a party of aristocratic British students to assist the Hun- garian counter-revolution. In fact, a curious con- fusion has promoted two commoners—brothers whose surname, it will be remembered, was Lord. My own recollection is that their actions were closer to the 'nation of shopkeepers' stereotype of the English than to the milord tradition.