Again I recall the following conversation between him and his companion Diodorus.
“Tell me, Diodorus,” he said, “if one of your servants runs away, do you take steps to bring him back safe?”
“Yes, of course,” he replied, “and I invite others to help, by offering a reward for the recovery of the man.”
“And further, if one of your servants is ill, do you take care of him and call in doctors to prevent him dying?”
“Indeed I do.”
“Well, suppose that one of your acquaintance, who is much more useful than your servants, is near being ruined by want, don't you think it worth your while to take steps to save him?
Now you know that Hermogenes is a conscientious man and would be ashamed to take a favour from you without making a return. Yet surely it is worth many servants to have a willing, loyal, staunch subordinate, capable of doing what he is told, and not only so, but able to make himself useful unbidden, to think clearly and give advice.
Good householders, you know, say that the right time to buy is when a valuable article can be bought at a low price; and in these times the circumstances afford an opportunity of acquiring good friends very cheap.”
“Thank you, Socrates
,” said Diodorus, “pray bid Hermogenes call on me.”
“No, indeed I won't,” said he; “for in my opinion it is at least as good for you to go to him yourself as to invite him to come to you, and you have quite as much to gain as he by doing so.”
The consequence was that Diodorus set off to visit Hermogenes; and in return for a small sum he acquired a friend who made a point of thinking how he could help and please him either by word or deed.