5 MAY 1967, Page 26

In defence of English

Sir: May I endorse Mr Playfair's plea (28 April) for a pleasing pronunciation of our language, which demands it? French may produce a mono- tonous effect upon the ear. But whoever speaks English may endow what he has to say with an exceptional variety of tone. The euphony of a language is most apparent to those who do not understand it; and many foreigners, not at all distracted by what the words may mean, have commented on the beauty imparted by that richness.

Then, incidentally, may I endorse Mr Playfair's remarks about the stage? The verdict ol Pinero's Trelcovny of the Wells, that breeding eviscerates an actor, is a true one. In his Study of the British Genius, Havelock Ellis has shown how in this way the theatre stands out from other pursuits. From his survey it appeared that most -actors have been lowborn. It is remarkable that Cyril Maude should, I believe, have been the fust 'gentleman to achieve celebrity on the stage.