Apart from decided signs of proficiency in mathematics, he showed no special ability.
Its main object is to perfect the proficiency of players in certain departments of bowls proper.
After attaining to great proficiency in that kind of learning, Abdallatif applied himself to natural philosophy and medicine.
The rudiments of Latin he obtained at the grammar school of Montrose, after leaving which he learned Greek for two years under Pierre de Marsilliers, a Frenchman whom John Erskine of Dun had induced to settle at Montrose; and such was Melville's proficiency that on going to the university of St Andrews he excited the astonishment of the professors by using the Greek text of Aristotle, which no one else there understood.
There again his proficiency, especially in physical science, was marked, and he was one of the young Russians chosen to complete their education in foreign countries.