22 MAY 1941, Page 15


Sia,—Sir Richard Livingstone in your May 9th issue, in referring to those Premiers whose classical attainments did not, se judice, entitle them to the name of scholar, states that "perhaps the most curious case is Lord Balfour, the finest intellect of all, to whom the classics seem to have made no appeal," and humorously suggests as a possible cause that he may have been overdosed with Latin verse at school.

The real reason, I think, will be found in Lord Balfour's Auto- biography, p. 8, where he states, in referring to what he styles "the mediocrity of my scholastic career," "The fact is, that I had no gift for languages, no liking for grammar, and never acquired sufficient mastery of the classics to enjoy them as literature. I detested the weekly task of writing bad Latin prose ; I detested even more the

weekly task of composing yet worse Latin verses . . Through no fault of my teachers, I failed to master either Greek or Latin."—