25 JUNE 1994, Page 23

Ignorance of bliss

Sir: It is surprising that the fastidious Fred- eric Raphael should perpetuate one of the great common misapprehensions of English letters (Books, 18 January). 'Foie Bras to the sound of trumpets' was not 'Sydney Smith's conception of bliss'. On the contrary, Smith, quoted in Lady Holland's Memoir of 1855 (Vol I, ch. 2, p. 15), said, contemptu- ously, that it was the idea of Heaven of someone whose views he despised.

Michael Grosvenor Myer

34 West End, Haddenham, Cambridge