The tree of silence bears the fruit of peace.
SECTION 43. Money is never spent to so much advantage as when you have been cheated out of it; for at one stroke you have purchased prudence.
SECTION 44. If possible, no animosity should be felt for anyone. But carefully observe and remember the manner in which a man conducts himself, so that you may take the measure of his value,—at any rate in regard to yourself,—and regulate your bearing towards him accordingly; never losing sight of the fact that character is unalterable, and that to forget the bad features in a man’s disposition is like throwing away hard-won money. Thus you will protect yourself against the results of unwise intimacy and foolish friendship.
Give way neither to love nor to hate, is one-half of worldly wisdom: say nothing and believe nothing, the other half. Truly, a world where there is need of such rules as this and the following, is one upon which a man may well turn his back.
SECTION 45. To speak angrily to a person, to show your hatred by what you say or by the way you look, is an unnecessary proceeding—dangerous, foolish, ridiculous, and vulgar.
Anger and hatred should never be shown otherwise than in what you do; and feelings will be all the more effective in action, in so far as you avoid the exhibition of them in any other way. It is only cold-blooded animals whose bite is poisonous.
SECTION 46. To speak without emphasizing your words—parler sans accent—is an old rule with those who are wise in the world’s ways. It means that you should leave other people to discover what it is that you have said; and as their minds are slow, you can make your escape in time. On the other hand, to emphasize your meaning—parler avec accent—is to address their feelings; and the result is always the opposite of what you expect. If you are polite enough in your manner and courteous in your tone there are many people whom you may abuse outright, and yet run no immediate risk of offending them.
WORLDLY FORTUNE.—SECTION 47.
However varied the forms that human destiny may take, the same elements are always present; and so life is everywhere much of a piece, whether it passed in the cottage or in the palace, in the barrack or in the cloister. Alter the circumstance as much as you please! point to strange adventures, successes, failures! life is like a sweet-shop, where there is a great variety of things, odd in shape and diverse in color—one and all made from the same paste. And when men speak of some one’s success, the lot of the man who has failed is not so very different as it seems. The inequalities in the world are like the combinations in a kaleidoscope; at every turn a fresh picture strikes the eye; and yet, in reality, you see only the same bits of glass as you saw before.