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The word was now with Critobulus, who continued thus:

“Well, I think you have told me quite enough about such passions as these, and when I examine myself I find, I think, that I have them fairly well under control; and therefore, if you will advise me what I should do to increase my estate, I don't think those mistresses, as you call them, are likely to hinder me. So do not hesitate to give me any good advice you can: unless, indeed, you have made up your mind that we are rich enough already, Socrates, and think we have no need of more money?” [2]

“Oh, if you mean to include me, I certainly think I have no need of more money and am rich enough. But you seem to me to be quite poor, Critobulus, and at times, I assure you, I feel quite sorry for you.” [3]

“And how much, pray,” asked Critobulus, laughing, “would your property fetch at a sale, do you suppose, Socrates, and how much would mine?”

“Well, if I found a good buyer, I think the whole of my goods and chattels, including the house, might readily sell for five minae.1 Yours, I feel sure, would fetch more than a hundred times that sum.” [4]

“And in spite of that estimate, you really think you have no need of money and pity me for my poverty?”

“Yes, because my property is sufficient to satisfy my wants, but I don't think you would have enough to keep up the style you are living in and to support your reputation, even if your fortune were three times what it is.” [5]

“How can that be?” exclaimed Critobulus.

“Because, in the first place,” explained Socrates, “I notice that you are bound to offer many large sacrifices; else, I fancy, you would get into trouble with gods and men alike. Secondly, it is your duty to entertain many strangers, on a generous scale too. Thirdly, you have to give dinners and play the benefactor to the citizens, or you lose your following. [6] Moreover, I observe that already the state is exacting heavy contributions from you: you must needs keep horses, pay for choruses and gymnastic competitions, and accept presidencies;2 and if war breaks out, I know they will require you to maintain a ship and pay taxes that will nearly crush you. Whenever you seem to fall short of what is expected of you, the Athenians will certainly punish you as though they had caught you robbing them. [7] Besides all this, I notice that you imagine yourself to be a rich man; you are indifferent to money, and yet go courting minions, as though the cost were nothing to you. And that is why I pity you, and fear that you may come to grief and find yourself reduced to penury. [8] Now, if I ran short of money, no doubt you know as well as I do that I should not lack helpers who would need to contribute very little to fill my cup to overflowing. But your friends, though far better supplied with means to support their establishment than you, yet look to receive help from you.” [9]

“I cannot dispute this, Socrates,” said Critobulus, “but it is time for you to take me in hand, and see that I don't become a real object of pity.”

At this Socrates exclaimed, “What, don't you think it strange, Critobulus, that a little while ago, when I said I was rich, you laughed at me, as though I did not even know the meaning of riches, and would not cease until you had proved me wrong and made me own that my possessions were less than one-hundredth part of yours, and yet now you bid me take you in hand and see that you don't become in literal truth a poor man?” [10]

“Well, Socrates, I see that you understand one process by which wealth is created—how to create a balance. So a man who saves on a small income can, I suppose, very easily show a large surplus with a large one.” [11]

“Then don't you remember saying just now in our conversation, when you wouldn't give me leave to utter a syllable, that if a man doesn't know how to manage horses, his horses are not wealth to him, nor his land, sheep, money or anything else, if he doesn't know how to manage them? Now these are the sources from which income is derived: and how do you suppose that I can possibly know how to manage any of these things, seeing that I never yet possessed any one of them?” [12]

“Still we held that, even if a man happens to have no wealth, there is such a thing as a science of household management. Then what reason is there why you should not know it?”

“Exactly the same reason, of course, that a man would have for not knowing how to play on the flute if he had never possessed one himself and had never borrowed one to learn on. [13] That is just my case with regard to estate management; for never having possessed wealth myself, I have not had an opportunity of learning on an instrument of my own, and nobody has ever let me handle his, until you made your offer. Beginners, I fancy, are apt to spoil the lyres they learn on; and if I attempted to learn to manage estates by practising on yours, possibly I might spoil it entirely for you.” [14]

“Ah, Socrates!” rejoined Critobulus, “I see you are eager to avoid giving me any help towards lightening the weight of my troublesome duties.”

“Not at all, not at all,” said Socrates, “I am all eagerness to tell you all I know. [15] Suppose that you had come to me for fire, and I, having none by me, had taken you to some place where you could get it; you would not, I think, have found fault with me: or, if you had asked for water, and I, having none myself, had brought you to some other place for it, I feel sure that you would not have found fault with me for that either: or, suppose you wanted to learn music with me and I directed you to persons far more skilled in music than I am, who would be grateful to you for taking lessons with them, what fault could you find with me for doing so?” [16]

“None, if I were fair, Socrates.”

“Well then, Critobulus, I will direct you to others far more skilled than I in the things you now seek to learn from me. I confess that I have made a point of finding out who are the greatest masters of various sciences to be found in Athens. [17] For observing once that the same pursuits lead in one case to great poverty and in another to great riches, I was filled with amazement, and thought it worth while to consider what this could mean. And on consideration I found that these things happen quite naturally. [18] For I saw that those who follow these pursuits carelessly suffer loss, and I discovered that those who devote themselves earnestly to them accomplish them more quickly, more easily and with more profit. I think that if you would elect to learn from these, you too with God's favour would turn out a clever man of business.”

1 A little more than 20 pounds.

2 It is unlikely that προστατείας is used here for προστασίας, the charge of resident aliens, since there is no proof that this duty involved expense to the patron.

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