SURELY Nicholas Bagnall does the word 'sceptic' (Words, 15 May) and David Hume a disservice by failing to put Hume's reference to his 'philosophical melancholy and delirium' in its full context. Hume wrote in A Treatise of Human Nature: 'Most fortunately it happens, that since reason is incapable of dispelling these clouds, nature herself suffices to that purpose, and cures me of this philosophical melancholy and delirium, either by relaxing this bent of mind, or by some avocation, and lively impression of my senses, which obliterate all these chimeras. I dine, I play a game of backgammon, I converse, and am merry with my friends, and when after three or four hours' amusement, I wou'd return to these speculations, they appear so cold, and strained, and ridiculous, that I cannot . . . enter into them any further.'