14 MARCH 1958, Page 20

SIR.—Mr. Simon Raven assures us that he is 'a per-

fectly loyal Pagan,' but writes with a rather juvenile and cocksure knowingness which is far from attrac- tive in itself, and which most decent pagans of my acquaintance would wish to repudiate. In his novel review on March 7, for example, he writes much of elephants. When captive in zoos 'crapulous children' ride them. But why 'crapulous'?; the word means intemperate or drunken. Their 'condescending Wel- fare State mothers' pay for their rides. By why `condescending'? And what has the Welfare State to do with it? When the elephant is wild in Africa `female visitors get a sexual thrill out of shooting him.' Why 'sexual'? Does the novelist say so, or is it Mr. Raven's assumption? Later on in the same review, one of the characters is called a 'randy little tyke,' which may strike many readers as an expression they did not expect to find in the Spectator, and which its earlier editors would not have admitted. But these verbal offences are slight when put beside Mr. Raven's chronic disdain for people. I doubt if most pagans .I know would think him loyal:—Yours faithfully, Cheyney Court, Winchester ROGER LLOYD