3 MAY 1940, Page 12


By HAROLD NICOLSON AT the end of last week I visited Oxford and attended the presidential debate in the Union. The hall was crowded, and as my eyes wandered along the rows of undergraduates, I was once again amazed by the continuity of types. Even the eccentrics seem to repeat themselves in exactly the same pro- portions year by year, lustrum by lustrum, decade by decade, and to carry on from generation to generation the same man- nerisms and the same movements of the head and hands. I could identify in the men around me their counterparts of 1930, and 1920 and 1910. Over there, tousled and distinguished, was the Charles Lister of 1908 ; to his right, prim and irreverent, sat the counterpart of the stripling Ronald Knox ; other types stood out from the basic undergraduate norm ; there was the Beazley type, the Julian Grenfell type, the Gladwyn Jebb type, the Brian Howard type, the Christopher Hobhouse type ; I could recall their voices and visualise the books and pictures in their rooms.