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CLVI. Errors of the Multitude.—The multitude judge almost constantly wrong on all subjects that lie in the least out of the common way. They follow one another, like a flock of sheep, and not only go wrong themselves, but make those who are wiser ashamed to go right. And yet it is not prudent to be singular in matters of inferior con. sequence.—Burgh's Human Nature.
CLVII. An overbearing Temper.-Nothing shows a greater abjectness of spirit, than an overbearing temper appearing in a person's behaviour to inferiors. To insult or abuse those who dare not answer again, is as sure a mark of cowardice, as it would be to attack with a drawn sword a woman or a child. And wherever you see a person given to insult his inferiors you may assure yourself he will creep to his superiors; for the same baseness of mind will lead him to act the part of a bully to those who cannot resist, and of a coward to those who can. But though servants and other dependents may not have it in their power to retort, in the same taste, the injurious usage they receive from their superiors, they are sure to be even with them by the contempt they themselves have for them, and the character they spread abroad of them through the world. Upon the whole, the proper behaviour to inferiors is, to treat them with generosity and humanity; but by no means with familiarity on one hand, or insolence on the other.-Ibid.
Of Talkativene88.—Talkativeness, in some men, pro
ceeds from what is extremely amiable, I mean, an open, communicative temper. Nor is it a. universal rule, that whoever talks much, must say a great deal not worth hearing. I have known men who talked freely, because they had a great deal to say, and delighted in communi. cating for their own advantage and that of the company; and I have known others, who commonly sat dumb, because they could find nothing to say. In England, we blame every one who talks freely, let his conversation bę ever so entertaining and improving. In France, they look upon every man as a gloomy mortal, whose tongue does not make an uninterrupted noise. Both these judg. ments are unjust.-Ibid.
CLIX. Times and Opportunities. As we ought to be more frugal of our time than our money, the one being infi. nitely more valuable than the other, so ought we to be particularly watchful of opportunities. There are times and seasons proper for every purpose of life; and a very material part of prudence it is to judge rightly of them, and make the best of them. If you have, for example, a favour to ask of a phlegmatic, gloomy man, take him, if you can, over his bottle. If you want to deal with a covetous man, by no means propose your business to him immediately after he has been paying away money, but rather after he has been receiving. If you know a person for whose interest you have occasion, who is unhap. py in his family, put yourself in his way abroad, rather than wait on him at his own house. A statesman will not be likely to give you a favourable audience immedi. ately after meeting with a disappointment in any of his schemes. There are even many people who are always sour and ill-humoured from their rising till they have dined. And as in persons, so in things, opportunity is of the utmost consequence.-Ibid.
Of trusting to Others. It would be greatly for the advantage of men of business, if they made it a rule never to trust any thing of consequence to another, which they can by any means do themselves. Let another have my interest ever so much at heart, I am sure I have it more myself: and no substitute one can employ, can understand one's business so well as the principal, which gives him a great advantage for doing things in the best way, as he can change his measures according to circumstances, which another has not authority to do. As for dependents of all kinds, it is to be remembered always, that their master's interests possess at most only the second place in their minds. Self-love will ever be the ruling principle, and no fidelity whatever will prevent a person from bestowing a good deal of thought upon his own concerns, which must break in, less or more, upon his diligence in consulting the interest of his constituent. How men of business can venture, as they do, to trust the great concerns some of them have, for one half of every week in the year, which is half the year, to servants, and expect others to take care of their business, when they will not be at the trouble of minding it themselves, is to me inconceivable. Nor does the detection, from time to time, of the frauds of such people, seem at all to deter our men of business from trusting to them.-Ibid.
* Persons not likely to serve you.—There are six sorts of persons, at whose hands you need not expect kindness. The sordid and narrow-minded, think of nobody but their noble selves. The busy have not time to think of you.
The overgrown rich man, is above minding any one who needs his assistance. The poor and unhappy, has neither spirit nor ability. The good-natured fool, however willing, is not capable of serving you.—Ibid.
CLXII. Fortune.–Fortune is like the market, where many times, if you can stay a little, the price will fall; and, again, it is sometimes like a Sibylla's offer, which at first offereth the commodity at full, then consumeth part and part, and still holdeth up the price.-Lord Bacon,
CLXIIT. Contradictions in the Human Character.- What is so hateful to a poor man as the purse-proud arrogance of a rich one? Let fortune shift the scene, and make the poor man rich, he runs at once into the vice that he declaimed against so feelingly; these are strange contradictions in the human character.—Cumberland.
How to give Advice.—The most difficult province in friendship is the letting a man see his faults and errors, which should, if possible, be so contrived, that he may perceive our advice is given him, not so much to please ourselves as for his own advantage. The reproaches, therefore, of a friend should always be strictly just, and not too frequent.-Budgell.
Fate of Historians.-I know not by what fate it comes to pass, that historians, who give immortality to others, are so ill requited by posterity, that their actions and their fortunes are usually forgotten; neither themselves encouraged while they live, nor their memory preserved en. tire to future ages. It is the ingratitude of mankind to . their wisest benefactors, that they who teach us wisdom by the surest ways, should generally live poor and unre. garded; as if they were born only for the public, and had no interest in their own well being, but were to be lighted up like tapers, and to waste themselves for the benefit of others.-Dryden.
Contentment.-Contentment produces, in some measure, all those effects which the alchymist usually ascribes to what he calls the philosopher's stone; and if it does not bring riches, it does the same thing by banishing the de. sire of them. If it cannot remove the disquietudes arising from a man's mind, body, or fortune, it makes him easy under them.-Addison.
CLXVII. Philosophy put to the Test.-A man that is out of hu. mour when an unexpected guest breaks in upon him, and does not care for sacrificing an afternoon to any chance comer; that will be master of his own time, and pursuer of his own inclinations, makes but a very unsociable figure in this life.-Spectator.
CLXVIII. How to deal with the World. If a man were only to deal in the world for a day, and should never have occa