The Letters of the Earl of Chesterfield to His Son, Volume 1

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Page 262 - ... they love mightily to be dabbling in business (which by the way, they always spoil) ; and being justly distrustful, that men in general look upon them in a trifling light, they almost adore that man, who talks more seriously to them, and who seems to consult and trust them ; I say, who seems, for weak men really do, but wise ones only seem to do it. ( No flattery is either too high or too low for them. They will greedily swallow the highest, and gratefully accept of the lowest; and you may safely...
Page 212 - Frequent and loud laughter is the characteristic of folly and ill manners : it is the manner in which the mob express their silly joy at silly things ; and they call it being merry. In my mind there is nothing so illiberal, and so ill-bred, as audible laughter.
Page lxvi - My dear friend, clear your mind of cant. You may talk as other people do : you may say to a man, ' Sir, I am your humble servant.' You are not his most humble servant. You may say, ' These are bad times ; it is a melancholy thing to be reserved to such times.
Page lx - Is not a patron, my Lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and when he has reached ground encumbers him with help...
Page 366 - This flapper is likewise employed diligently to attend his master in his walks, and upon occasion to give him a soft flap on his eyes ; because he is always so wrapped up in cogitation, that he is in manifest danger of falling down every precipice and bouncing his head against every post, and in the streets, of jostling others, or being jostled himself, into the kennel.
Page 386 - Breeding to be, the result of much good sense, some good nature, and a little self -denial for the sake of others, and with a view to ' obtain the same indulgence from them.
Page 293 - ... them ; for I will venture (contrary to the custom of profound historians, who always assign deep causes for great events), to ascribe the better half of the Duke of Marlborough's greatness and riches to those graces. He was eminently illiterate ; wrote bad English and spelled it still worse.
Page xxv - Wit, my lords, is a sort of property : it is the property of those who have it, and too often the only property they have to depend on. It is indeed hut a precarious dependence. Thank God ! we, my lords, have a dependence of another kind...
Page 183 - ... topic of conversation ; for every man talks most of what he has most a mind to be thought to excel in. Touch him but there, and you touch him to the quick. The late Sir Robert Walpole (who was certainly an able man) was little open to flattery upon that head, for he was in no doubt himself about it ; but his prevailing weakness was, to be thought to have a polite and happy turn to gallantry, — of which he had undoubtedly less than any man living.
Page 154 - Search every one for that ruling passion; pry into the recesses of his heart, and observe the different workings of the same passion in different people; and, when you have found out the prevailing passion of any man, remember never to trust him where that passion is concerned.

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