And another saying he had, which was this: ’Neither can an opposition, neither can a ministry, be always wrong. To be a plumb man therefore with either, is an infallible mark, that that man must mean more and worse than he will own he does mean.’
Are these sayings bad, Sir? are they to be despised?—Well, then, why should I be despised for remembering them, and quoting them, as I love to do? Let me tell you, if you loved my company more than you do, you would not be the worse for it. I may say so without any vanity; since it is other men’s wisdom, and not my own, that I am so fond of.
But to add a word or two more on this occasion; and I may never have such another; for you must read this through—Love honest men, and herd with them, in the house and out of the house; by whatever names they be dignified or distinguished: Keep good men company, and you shall be out of their number. But did I, or did I not, write this before?—Writing, at so many different times, and such a quantity, one may forget.
You may come in for the title when I am dead and gone—God help me!—So I would have you keep an equilibrium. If once you get the name of being a fine speaker, you may have any thing: and, to be sure, you have naturally a great deal of elocution; a tongue that would delude an angel, as the women say—to their sorrow, some of them, poor creatures!—A leading man in the house of commons is a very important character; because that house has the giving of money: and money makes the mare to go; ay, and queens and kings too, sometimes, to go in a manner very different from what they might otherwise choose to go, let me tell you.
However, methinks, I would not have you take a place neither—it will double your value, and your interest, if it be believed, that you will not: for, as you will then stand in no man’s way, you will have no envy; but pure sterling respect; and both sides will court you.
For your part, you will not want a place, as some others do, to piece up their broken fortunes. If you can now live reputably upon two thousand pounds a year, it will be hard if you cannot hereafter live upon seven or eight—less you will not have, if you oblige me; as now, by marrying so fine a lady, very much you will—and all this, and above Lady Betty’s and Lady Sarah’s favours! What, in the name of wonder, could possibly possess the proud Harlowes!—That son, that son of theirs!—But, for his dear sister’s sake, I will say no more of him.
I never was offered a place myself: and the only one I would have taken, had I been offered it, was master of the buckhounds; for I loved hunting when I was young; and it carries a good sound with it for us who live in the country. Often have I thought of that excellent old adage; He that eats the king’s goose, shall be choked with his feathers. I wish to the Lord, this was thoroughly considered by place-hunters! it would be better for them, and for their poor families.