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Her fortune, beauty, and amiable qualities, procured her many solicitations to change her state ; but she preferred, in a single and independent life, to be mistress of her actions, and the disposition of her income.”

It seems pretty clear from all these accounts that this noblehearted woman,

notwithstanding her beauty and sweet temper, was as imperfect a specimen of the comfortable in body as her kinsman was in mind. We are far from meaning to prefer his state of existence. We confess, indeed, that there are many we have read of, whom we would prefer being, to the most saintly of solitary spirits; but the mere reflection of the good which Lady Elizabeth did to others would not allow us a moment's hesitation, if compelled to choose between inhabiting her infirm tenement and the jolly vacuity of Honourable William. At the same time, it is quite evident to us that the fair saint neglected the earthly part of herself in a way neither as happy-making nor as pious as she took it for. Perhaps the example of her kinsman tended to assist this false idea of what is pleasing to heaven, and to make her a little too peremptory against herself ; but what had not her lovers a right to say ? For our parts, had we lived then, and been at all fitted to aspire to a return of her regard, we should have thought it a very unfair and intolerable thing of her to go on doing the most exquisite and seducing actions in the world, and tell us that she wished to be mistress of her own time and generosities. So she might, and yet been generous to us too, as well as to the charity-boys. But, setting all this aside (and the real secret of it is to be found perhaps in matters into which we cannot inquire), a proper attention to that beauteous form which her spirit inhabited might have done great good to herself. She not only lived nearly half a century less than her kinsman, and thus shortened a useful life; but the less healthy state of her blood rendered even a soul like hers liable to incursions of melancholy to the last moment of her existence. If it may be said that this stimulated her the more to extract happiness out of the happiness of others, we do not

deny that it may have done so; nor do we pretend to say that this might not have been her best state of existence, for herself and all of us, if we could inquire into matters hidden from our sight. But, upon that principle, so might her relation's. It is impossible to argue to any purpose upon these assumptions, which are only good for patience, not for action. William Hastings was all bodily comfort; Elizabeth Hastings was all mental grace. How far the liability of the former to gusts of passion, as well as his other circumstances of being, settled the balance with her necessity for being patient, it is impossible to say; but it is very easy to say that nobody would like to undergo operations for a cancer, or to die at fifty-seven, when they could live healthily to a hundred.

What, then, is our conclusion? This :—that the proper point of humanity lies between these two natures, though not at equal distances,—the greatest possible sum of happiness for mankind demanding that great part of our pleasure should be founded in that of others. Those, however, who hold rigid theories of morality, and yet practise them not (which is much oftener the case with such theories than the reverse), must take care how they flatter themselves they at all resemble Lady Elizabeth Hastings. Their extreme difference with her kinsman is a mere cant, to which all the privileged selfishness and sensuality in the world give the lie,-all the pomps and vanities, all the hatreds, all the malignities, all the eatings and drinkings, such as William Hastings himself would have been ashamed of. In fact, their real instincts are generally as selfish as his, though in other shapes, and much less agreeable for everybody. When cant lives as long a life as his, or as good a one as hérs, it will be worth attending to. Till then, the best thing to advise is, neither to be canting, nor merely animal, nor over-spiritual ; but to endeavour to enjoy, with the greatest possible distribution of happiness, all the faculties we receive from nature.

UPON INDEXES.*

IN

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 nore 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

* This short paper was introductory to the Index of the first volume of the India cator.-ED,

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 bringing burgundy out of a cellar ; so an Index like the Tatler's often gives us a taste of the quintessence of his humour. For instance :

“ 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.

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66

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,

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