Letters to His Son


I will tell you what you should do,by telling you what I would now do in that case myself.I would run up to him,and embrace him;say some kind of things to him,and then return to my company.There I should be immediately asked:'Mais qu'est ce que c'est donc que ce petit Sapajou que vous avez embrasse si tendrement?Pour cela,l'accolade a ete charmante';with a great deal more festivity of that sort.To this Ishould answer,without being the least ashamed,but en badinant:O je ne vous dirai tas qui c'est;c'est un petit ami que je tiens incognito,qui a son merite,et qui,a force d'etre connu,fait oublier sa figure.Que me donnerez-vous,et je vous le presenterai'?And then,with a little more seriousness,I would add:'Mais d'ailleurs c'est que je ne desavoue jamais mes connoissances,a cause de leur etat ou de leur figure.Il faut avoir bien peu de sentimens pour le faire'.This would at once put an end to that momentary pleasantry,and give them all a better opinion of me than they had before.Suppose another case,and that some of the finest ladies 'du bon ton'should come into a room,and find you sitting by,and talking politely to 'la vieille'Marquise de Bellefonds,the joke would,for a moment,turn upon that 'tete-a-tete':He bien!avez vous a la fin fixd la belle Marquise?La partie est-elle faite pour la petite maison?Le souper sera galant sans doute:Mais ne faistu donc point scrupule de seduire une jeune et aimable persone comme celle-la'?

To this I should answer:'La partie n'etoit pas encore tout-a fait liee,vous nous avez interrompu;mais avec le tems que fait-on?D'ailleurs moquezvous de mes amours tant qu'il vous plaira,je vous dirai que je respecte tant les jeunes dames,que je respecte meme les vieilles,pour l'avoir ete.Apre cela il y a souvent des liaisons entre les vieilles et les jeunes'.This would at once turn the pleasantry into an esteem for your good sense and your good-breeding.Pursue steadily,and without fear or shame,whatever your reason tells you is right,and what you see is practiced by people of more experience than yourself,and of established characters of good sense and good-breeding.

After all this,perhaps you will say,that it is impossible to please everybody.I grant it;but it does not follow that one should not therefore endeavor to please as many as one can.Nay,I will go further,and admit that it is impossible for any man not to have some enemies.

But this truth from long experience I assert,that he who has the most friends and the fewest enemies,is the strongest;will rise the highest with the least envy;and fall,if he does fall,the gentlest,and the most pitied.This is surely an object worth pursuing.Pursue it according to the rules I have here given you.I will add one observation more,and two examples to enforce it;and then,as the parsons say,conclude.

There is no one creature so obscure,so low,or so poor,who may not,by the strange and unaccountable changes and vicissitudes of human affairs,somehow or other,and some time or other,become an useful friend or a trouble-some enemy,to the greatest and the richest.The late Duke of Ormond was almost the weakest but at the same time the best-bred,and most popular man in this kingdom.His education in courts and camps,joined to an easy,gentle nature,had given him that habitual affability,those engaging manners,and those mechanical attentions,that almost supplied the place of every talent he wanted;and he wanted almost every one.They procured him the love of all men,without the esteem of any.

Dormer StanhopePhilip