29 MARCH 1940, Page 15

Each country, however, needs its interpreters. It is un- fortunate

that the great French anglophile of the past were concerned with one aspect only of English civilisation, and were inclined to falsify proportions. Voltaire and Monte- squieu were so concerned with the problems of political liberty that they provided their readers with a flattering but incorrect version of the British Constitution: the Romantics were so delighted by the "maladie du siecle " that they pro- duced an imaginary Englishman, who combined in his person the haughtiness of Chesterfield, the sulkiness of Byron, the extravagance of Beckford, and the foppishness of Brummell. It was left to Andre Maurois to provide his countrymen with the portrait of the ordinary inarticulate Englishman as he really is.