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[10]

And since the point now in discussion is entirely a question of the loyalty of friends, I must not, I think, pass over one caution. Deception, intrigue, and treachery are everywhere. This is not the time for a formal disquisition on the indications by which a true friend may be distinguished from a false: al that is in place now is to give you a hint. Your exalted character has compelled many to pretend to be your friends while really jealous of you. Wherefore remember the saying of Epicharmus, "the muscle and bone of wisdom is to believe nothing rashly." Again, when you have got the feelings of your friends in a sound state, you must then acquaint yourself with the attitude and varieties of your detractors and opponents. There are three : first, those whom you have attacked second, those who dislike you without definite reason ; third, those who are warm friends of your competitors. As to those attacked by you while pleading a friend's cause against them, frankly excuse yourself; remind them of the ties constraining you; give them reason to hope that you will act with equal zeal and loyalty in their cases, if they become your friends. As for those who dislike you without reason, do your best to remove that prejudice either by some actual service, or by holding out hopes of it, or by indicating your kindly feeling towards them. As for those whose wishes are against you owing to friendship for your competitors, gratify them also by the same means as the former, and, if you can get them to believe it, shew that you are kindly disposed to the very men who are standing against you.


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