Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman, 1750 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 102 pages of information about Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman, 1750.
concealed opinion of one’s self, a firm resolution, and an unwearied perseverance.  None but madmen attempt impossibilities; and whatever is possible, is one way or another to be brought about.  If one method fails, try another, and suit your methods to the characters you have to do with.  At the treaty of the Pyrenees, which Cardinal Mazarin and Don Louis de Haro concluded, ’dans l’Isle des Faisans’, the latter carried some very important points by his constant and cool perseverance.

The Cardinal had all the Italian vivacity and impatience; Don Louis all the Spanish phlegm and tenaciousness.  The point which the Cardinal had most at heart was, to hinder the re-establishment of the Prince of Conde, his implacable enemy; but he was in haste to conclude, and impatient to return to Court, where absence is always dangerous.  Don Louis observed this, and never failed at every conference to bring the affair of the Prince of Conde upon the tapis.  The Cardinal for some time refused even to treat upon it.  Don Louis, with the same ‘sang froid’, as constantly persisted, till he at last prevailed:  contrary to the intentions and the interest both of the Cardinal and of his Court.  Sense must distinguish between what is impossible, and what is only difficult; and spirit and perseverance will get the better of the latter.  Every man is to be had one way or another, and every woman almost any way.  I must not omit one thing, which is previously necessary to this, and, indeed, to everything else; which is attention, a flexibility of attention; never to be wholly engrossed by any past or future object, but instantly directed to the present one, be it what it will.  An absent man can make but few observations; and those will be disjointed and imperfect ones, as half the circumstance must necessarily escape him.  He can pursue nothing steadily, because his absences make him lose his way.  They are very disagreeable, and hardly to be tolerated in old age; but in youth they cannot be forgiven.  If you find that you have the least tendency to them, pray watch yourself very carefully, and you may prevent them now; but if you let them grow into habit, you will find it very difficult to cure them hereafter, and a worse distemper I do not know.

I heard with great satisfaction the other day, from one who has been lately at Rome, that nobody was better received in the best companies than yourself.  The same thing, I dare say, will happen to you at Paris; where they are particularly kind to all strangers, who will be civil to them, and show a desire of pleasing.  But they must be flattered a little, not only by words, but by a seeming preference given to their country, their manners, and their customs; which is but a very small price to pay for a very good reception.  Were I in Africa, I would pay it to a negro for his goodwill.  Adieu.

LETTER CXVI

London, June 11, O. S. 1750

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Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman, 1750 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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