11 JULY 1931, Page 18


In the Spectator, dated June 27th, the writer of the article "A Hospital for Animals" gives at the close three quotations, the first being-: "A merciful man is merciful to his beast" (the Bible). Proverbs xii. 10 is the nearest to this : "A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast." There is a much more serious error, however, on the same page in " Moth's " contribution : "As a nation we are notoriously prone to hide our talent in a napkin." I admit that the writer is in good company in this slip, for Charlotte Bronto wrote : "Better to try all things and find all empty than to try nothing and leave your life a blank. To do this is to commit the sin of him who buried his talent in a napkin —despicable sluggard " (Shirley, ch. 23). As a matter of fact, a man would be no sluggard who succeeded in wrapping a talent in a napkin, and the feat would be as difficult as putting a quart into a pint pot. The napkin does not figure in the parable of the talents (see St. Matthew 25). It is in the parable of the pounds a napkin is mentioned and a pound is but a small fraction of a talent.—J. K. COMPTON, Baptist Church, Bid Lane, Colchester.