18 AUGUST 1939, Page 15

Was Hallam dull? I wish I knew the answer to

that question. The figure which emerges from Mr. Gladstone's heavy eulogy, as indeed from many passages of In Memoriam, is on the priggish side. Moreover, Monckton Milnes did not really care for Hallam, and I am not attracted by people who were disliked by Monckton Milnes. His face tells us little. A fine and arrogant forehead, a pro- truding underlip. One suspects exuberance, vitality and great conversational powers. There is also a pleasing letter from one Cambridge apostle to another in which regret is expressed that Hallam, in London, appeared to be indulging in social pleasures to a degree distressing to those who had predicted for him a triumphant future. His verses are poor stuff. There is that sonnet which he addressed to Tennysol in which, with great delicacy, he reproves his Lincolmhire friend for jealousy of his Eton friend. Tennyson, Hallam explains, would certainly have been his best friend had not the " Maker of all good upon my youth a perfect gem bestowed." The perfect gem, in this case, was W. E. Gladstone. I do not care for that sonnet.

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