Letter: Furore over a few words

From Mr Anthony Goldstaub, QC

Sir: What Eric Cantona probably had in mind was the ghost of a memory of Tacitus: Cum aves piscatores sequntur pisces eis iacturi esse credunt sed sola intestina donantur (Agricola, 31; Fife). The seagull following the fishing boat expects to be thrown fish but receives only offal.

Joseph Needham (obituary, 27 March) gave me some years ago several variants of a provincial Chinese proverb about sparrows and the dung cart; all of a piece, he said, with Tacitus' comment on great reputations and the sad reality they may conceal.

Mr Cantona has tasted the English legal system and we have his view of it.

Yours faithfully,

ANTHONY GOLDSTAUB

Nottingham

1 April

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