This, my dear friend, is a very true account; and a very encouraging one for you. A man who owes so little can clear it off in a very little time, and, if he is a prudent man, will; whereas a man who, by long negligence, owes a great deal, despairs of ever being able to pay; and therefore never looks into his account at all.
When you go to Genoa, pray observe carefully all the environs of it, and view them with somebody who can tell you all the situations and operations of the Austrian army, during that famous siege, if it deserves to be called one; for in reality the town never was besieged, nor had the Austrians any one thing necessary for a siege. If Marquis Centurioni, who was last winter in England, should happen to be there, go to him with my compliments, and he will show you all imaginable civilities.
I could have sent you some letters to Florence, but that I knew Mr. Mann would be of more use to you than all of them. Pray make him my compliments. Cultivate your Italian, while you are at Florence, where it is spoken in its utmost purity, but ill pronounced.
Pray save me the seed of some of the best melons you eat, and put it up dry in paper. You need not send it me; but Mr. Harte will bring it in his pocket when he comes over. I should likewise be glad of some cuttings of the best figs, especially la Pica gentile and the Maltese; but as this is not the season for them, Mr. Mann will, I dare say, undertake that commission, and send them to me at the proper time by Leghorn. Adieu. Endeavor to please others, and divert yourself as much as ever you can, in 'honnete et galant homme'.
P. S. I send you the inclosed to deliver to Lord Rochford, upon your arrival at Turin.
MY DEAR FRIEND: Since your letter from Sienna, which gave me a very imperfect account both of your illness and your recovery, I have not received one word either from you or Mr. Harte. I impute this to the carelessness of the post simply: and the great distance between us at present exposes our letters to those accidents. But when you come to Paris, from whence the letters arrive here very regularly, I shall insist upon you writing to me constantly once a week; and that upon the same day, for instance, every Thursday, that I may know by what mail to expect your letter. I shall also require you to be more minute in your account of yourself than you have hitherto been, or than I have required, because of the informations which I receive from time to time from Mr. Harte. At Paris you will be out of your time, and must set up for yourself; it is then that I shall be very solicitous to know how you carry on your business. While Mr. Harte was your partner, the care was his share, and the profit yours. But at Paris, if you will have the latter, you must take the former along with it. It will be quite a new world to you; very different from the little world that you have hitherto seen; and you will have much more to do in it. You must keep your little accounts constantly every morning, if you would not have them run into confusion, and swell to a bulk that would frighten you from ever looking into them at all. You must allow some time for learning what you do not know, and some for keeping what you do know; and you must leave a great deal of time for your pleasures; which (I repeat it, again) are now become the most necessary part of your education. It is by conversations, dinners, suppers, entertainments, etc., in the best companies, that you must be formed for the world. 'Les manieres les agremens, les graces' cannot be learned by theory; they are only to be got by use among those who have them; and they are now the main object of your life, as they are the necessary steps to your fortune. A man of the best parts, and the greatest learning, if he does not know the world by his own experience and observation, will be very absurd; and consequently very unwelcome in company. He may say very good things; but they will probably be so ill- timed, misplaced, or improperly addressed, that he had much better hold his tongue. Full of his own matter, and uninformed of; or inattentive to, the particular circumstances and situations of the company, he vents it indiscriminately; he puts some people out of countenance; he shocks others; and frightens all, who dread what may come out next. The most general rule that I can give you for the world, and which your experience will convince you of the truth of, is, Never to give the tone to the company, but to take it from them; and to labor more to put them in conceit with themselves, than to make them admire you. Those whom you can make like themselves better, will, I promise you, like you very well.
A system-monger, who, without knowing anything of the world by experience, has formed a system, of it in his dusty cell, lays it down, for example, that (from the general nature of mankind) flattery is pleasing. He will therefore flatter. But how? Why, indiscriminately. And instead of repairing and heightening the piece judiciously, with soft colors and a delicate pencil,--with a coarse brush and a great deal of whitewash, he daubs and besmears the piece he means to adorn. His flattery offends even his patron; and is almost too gross for his mistress. A man of the world knows the force of flattery as well as he does; but then he knows how, when, and where to give it; he proportions his dose to the constitution of the patient. He flatters by application, by inference, by comparison, by hint, and seldom directly. In the course of the world, there is the same difference in everything between system and practice.
I long to have you at Paris, which is to be your great school; you will be then in a manner within reach of me.
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