4 APRIL 1958, Page 7

I SUPPOSE it is merely a sign that I am

getting pre- maturely middle-aged, but I become increasingly irritated at misquotations, or quotations wrongly attributed, or characters in them wrongly identi- fied. I ,found a prize one in an article by Peter Wildeblood in Gemini (`The Oxford and Cam- bridge Magazine'). 'Somebody,' writes Mr. Wilde- blood, 'once described Lord Northcliffe as wielding "power without responsibility—the pre- rogative of the harlot throughout the ages." That, of course, was before Lord Beaverbrook invented the concept of power without influence.' Alas, the phrase, coined by Rudyard Kipling and actually used by Baldwin, referred not to Northcliffe but to- Beaverbrook and Rothermere. I sometimes think, incidentally, that I ant the last living man who knows that Lord Acton did not say 'Power