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UPON INDEXES.*

IN

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NDEX-MAKING has been held to be the driest as well as

lowest species of writing. We shall not dispute the humble

ness of it ; but the task need not be so very dry. Calling to mind Indexes in general, we found them presenting us a variety of pleasant memories and contrasts. We thought of those to the Spectator, which we used to look at so often at school, for the sake of choosing a paper to abridge. We thought of the Index to “ The Pantheon, or Fabulous Histories of the Heathen Gods,” which we used to look at oftener. We remember how we imagined we should feel some day, if ever our name should appear in the list of H's; as thus, Home, Howard, Hume, Huniades, [Hunt). The poets would have been better ; but then the names, though more fitting, were not so flattering ; as, for instance, Halifax, Hammond, Harte, Hughes,

We did not like to come after Hughes. We have just been looking at the Indexes to the Tatler and Spectator, and never were more forcibly struck with the feeling we formerly expressed about a man's being better pleased with other writers than himself. Our Index seems the poorest and most second-hand thing in the world after theirs ; but let any one read theirs, and then call an Index a dry thing if he can. As there is “a soul of goodness in things evil,” so there is a soul of humour in things dry, and in things dry by profession.
Lawyers know this, as well as Index-makers, or they would die
of sheer thirst and aridity. But as grapes, ready to burst with
wine, issue out of the most stony places, like jolly fellows bring-
ing burgundy out of a cellar ; so an Index like the Tatler's often
gives us a taste of the quintessence of his humour. For in-
stance :-

* This short

paper was introductory to the Index of the first volume of the Indi. cator.-ED,

“Bickerstaff, Mr, account of his ancestors, 141. How his
race was improved, 142. Not in partnership with Lillie, 250.
Catched writing nonsense, 47.

“Dead men, who are to be so accounted, 247."

Sometimes he has a stroke of pathos, as touching in its brevity
as the account it refers to; as-

“ Love-letters between Mr Bickerstaff and Maria, 184-186.
Found in a grave, 289.”

Sometimes he is simply moral and graceful; as-

“Tenderness and humanity inspired by the Muses, 258.
No true greatness of mind without it, ibid.”
At another, he says perhaps more than he intended; as-

Laura, her perfections and excellent character, 19. Despised
by her husband, ibid.”

The Index to Cotton's “Montaigne," probably written by the
translator himself, is often pithy and amusing. Thus, in
Volume II.:-

'Anger is pleased with, and flatters itself, 618.
“ Beasts inclined to avarice, 225.

“ Children abandoned to the care and government of their
fathers, 613.

“ Drunkenness, to a high and dead degree, 16.
“ Joy, profound, has more severity than gaiety in it.
“ Monsters are not so to God, 612.
“ Voluptuousness of the Cynicks, 418.”

Sometimes we meet with graver quaintnesses and curious
relations, as in the Index to Sandys's “ Ovid” :-

“ Diana, no virgin, scoft at by Lucian, p. 55.

“ Dwarfes, an Italian Dwarf carried about in a parrot's cage, p. 113.

“Eccho, at Twilleries in Paris, heard to repeat a verse without failing in one syllable, p. 58.

“Ship of the Tyrrhenians miraculously stuck fast in the sea, p. 63. A Historie of a Bristol ship stuck fast in the deepe Sea by Witchcraft: for which twentie-five Witches were executed, ibid.”

But this subject, we find, will furnish ample materials for a separate article ; and therefore we stop here for the present. We have still a notion upon us, that, because we have been making an Index, we are bound to be very business-like and unamusing. *

* The subject was never resumed.-ED,

ECCO

SA

THOUGHTS AND GUESSES ON HUMAN

NATURE,

CONFUSION OF MODES OF BEING.

EOPLE undertake to settle what ideas they shall have

under such and such circumstances of being, when it

is nothing but their present state of being that enables them to have those ideas.

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VARIETY OF THE COLOURS OF PERCEPTION.

There is reason to suppose that our perceptions and sensations are much more different than we imagine, even upon the most ordinary things, such as visible objects in general, and the sense of existence. We have enough in common for common intercourse ; but the details are dissimilar, as we may perceive in the variety of palates. All people are agreed upon sweet and sour; but one man prefers sour to sweet, and another this and that variety of sour and sweet. 66 What then is the use of attempting to make them agree?” Why, we may try to make them agree upon certain general modes of thinking and means of pleasure: we may colour their existence in the gross, though we must leave the particular shades to come out by themselves. We may enrich their stock of ideas, though we cannot control the items of the expenditure.

CANNOT. “ But what if we cannot do even this ?" The question is answered by experience. Whole nations and ages have already been altered in their modes of thinking. Even if it were otherwise, the endeavour is itself one of the varieties; one of the modes of opinion and means of pleasure. Besides, CANNOT is the motto neither of knowledge nor humility. There more of pride, and ignorance, and despair, in it, than of the modesty of wisdom. It would settle not only the past, but the future ; and it would settle the future, merely because the past has not been influenced by those that use it.

Who are these men that measure futurity by the shadow of their own littleness? It is as if the loose stones lying about a foundation were to say, “ You can build no higher than our heads."

SUPERSTITION AND DOCTRINE. Superstition attempts to settle everything by assertion ; which never did do, and never will. And, like all assertors, even wellinclined ones, it shows its conscious feebleness in anger and threatening. It commands us to take its problems for granted, on pain of being tied up to a triangle. Then come its advocates, and assert that this mode of treatment is proper and logical : which is making bad worse. The worst of all is, that this is the way in which the finest doctrines in the world are obstructed. They are like an excellent child, making the Grand Tour with a foolish overbearing tutor. The tutor runs a chance of spoiling the child, and makes their presence disagreeable wherever they go, except to their tradesmen. Let us hope the child has done with his tutor.

SECOND THOUGHT ON THE VARIETY OF THE COLOURS OF

PERCEPTION. We may gather, from what we read of diseased imaginations, how much our perceptions depend upon the modification of our being We see how personal and inexperienced we are when

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