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to dulness, formality, and want of spirit. [May 15, 1749.]
How to PLEASE.—You must not neglect your dress, neither, but take care to be bien mis. Pray send for the best operator for the teeth, at Turin, where I suppose there is some famous one; and let him put yours in perfect order; and then take care to keep them so, afterwards, yourself. You had very good teeth, and I hope they are so still; but even those who have bad ones, should keep them clean ; for a dirty mouth is, in my mind, ill manners. In short, neglect nothing that can possibly please. A thousand nameless little things, which nobody can describe, but which everybody feels, conspire to form that whole of pleasing; as the several pieces of a mosaic work, though separately of little beauty or value, when properly joined, form those beautiful figures which please everybody. A look, a gesture, an attitude, a tone of voice, all bear their parts in the great work of pleasing. The art of pleasing is more particularly necessary in your intended profession, than perhaps in any it is, in truth, the first half of
business ; do not please the court you are sent to, you will be of very little use to the court you are sent from. Please the eyes and the ears, they will introduce you to the heart; and, nine times in ten, the heart governs the understanding.
Make your court particularly, and show distinguished attentions, to such men and women as are best at court, highest in the fashion, and in the opinion of the public; speak advantageously of them behind their backs, in companies who you have reason to believe will tell them again. Express your admi.
for if you ration of the many great men that the house of Savoy has produced ; observe, that nature, instead of being exhausted by those efforts, seems to have redoubled them, in the persons of the present king, and the Duke of Savoy : wonder, at this rate, where it will end, and conclude that it will end in the government of all Europe. Say this, likewise, where it will probably be repeated; but say it unaffectedly, and the last especially, with a kind of enjouement. These little arts are very allowable, and must be made use of in the course of the world; they are pleasing to one party, useful to the other, and injurious to nobody. [Same date.]
FLATTERY. I recommended to you, in my last, an innocent piece of art; that of flattering people behind their backs, in presence of those who, to make their own court, much more than for your sake, will not fail to repeat, and even amplify the praise to the party concerned. This is, of all flattery, the most pleasing, and consequently the most effectual. There are other, and many other inoffensive arts of this kind, which are necessary in the course of the world, and which he who practises the earliest, will please the most, and rise the soonest. [May 22, 1749.]
TEMPER.—The principal of these things, is the mastery of one's temper, and that coolness of mind, and serenity of countenance, which hinders us from discovering, by words, actions, or even looks, those passions or sentiments, by which we are inwardly moved or agitated; and the discovery of which, gives cooler and abler people such infinite advantages over us, not only in great business, but in all the most common occurrences of life. A man who does not possess
himself enough to hear disagreeable things, without visible marks of anger and change of countenance, or agreeable ones without sudden bursts of joy and expansion of countenance, is at the mercy of every artful knave, or pert coxcomb: the former will provoke or please you by design, to catch unguarded words or looks; by which he will easily decipher the secrets of your
rt, of which you should keep the key yourself, and trust it with no man living. [May 22, 1749.]
IMMOBILITY,-Determine, too, to keep your countenance as unmoved and unembarrassed as possible; which steadiness you may get a habit of, by constant attention. I should desire nothing better, in any negotiation, than to have to do with one of these men of warm, quick passions; which I would take care to set in motion. By artful provocations, I would extort rash and unguarded expressions; and, by hinting at all the several things that I could suspect, infallibly discover the true one, by the alteration it occasioned in the countenance of the person. Volto sciolto con pensieri stretti 1 is a most useful maxim in business. [Same date.]
DISSIMULATION.—It may be objected, that I am now recommending dissimulation to you; I both own and justify it. It has been long said, Qui nescit dissimulare nescit regnare: I go still farther, and say, that without some dissimulation no business can be carried on at all. It is simulation that is false, mean, and criminal: that is the cunning which Lord Bacon
| An open face with a close (or secret) mind.
calls crooked or left-handed wisdom, and which is never made use of but by those who have not true wisdom. And the same great man says, that dissimulation is only to hide our own cards ; whereas simulation is put on in order to look into other people's. Lord Bolingbroke in his “Idea of a Patriot King,” which he has lately published, and which I will send you by the first opportunity, says, very justly, that simulation is a stiletto; not only an unjust but an unlawful weapon, and the use of it very rarely to be excused, never justified. Whereas dissimulation is a shield, as secrecy is armour; and it is no more possible to preserve secrecy in business, without some degree of dissimulation, than it is to succeed in business without secrecy. [Same date.]
THE FACE.—Make yourself absolute master, therefore, of your temper, and your countenance, so far, at least, as that no visible change do appear in either, whatever you may feel inwardly. This may be difficult, but it is by no means impossible; and, as a man of sense never attempts impossibilities on one hand, on the other he is never discouraged by difficulties. [Same date.]
THE EASY MOMENT.—Some people are to be reasoned, some flattered, some intimidated, and some teased into a thing; but, in general, all are to be brought into it at last, if skilfully applied to, properly managed, and indefatigably attacked in their several weak places. The time should likewise be judiciously chosen: every man has his mollia tempora, but that is far from being all day long; and you would choose your time very ill, if you applied to a man about one business, when his head was full of another, or when his heart was full of grief, anger, or any other disagreeable sentiment. [May 22, 1749.]
JUDGE OF OTHERS BY YOURSELF.—In order to judge of the inside of others, study your own; for men in general are very much alike; and though one has one prevailing passion, and another has another, yet their operations are much the same; and whatever engages or disgusts, pleases or offends you, in others, will, mutatis mutandis, engage, disgust, please, or offend others, in you. [Same date.]
SMART SAYINGS.—The temptation of saying a smart and witty thing, or bon mot, and the malicious applause with which it is commonly received, have made people who can say them, and, still oftener, people who think they can, but cannot, and yet try, more enemies, and implacable ones too, than any one other thing that I know of. When such things, then, shall happen to be said at your expense (as sometimes they certainly will), reflect seriously upon the sentiments of uneasiness, anger, and resentment, which they excite in you ; and consider whether it can be prudent, by the same means, to excite the same sentiments in others, against you. It is a decided folly, to lose a friend for a jest; but, in my mind, it is not a much less degree of folly, to make an enemy of an indifferent and neutral person, for the sake of a bon mot. When things of this kind happen to be said of you, the most prudent way is to seem not to suppose that they are meant at you, but to dissemble and conceal whatever degree of anger you may feel inwardly; and should they be so plain, that you cannot be supposed ignorant of their meaning, to join in the laugh of the company against