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But we will reserve these remarks for a more proper place. In the mean time I must not omit the other artifice observable in his imitation, which is this: that if at any time he counterfeit the good qualities of his friend, he immediately yields him the pre-eminence; whereas there is no competition, no emulation or envy amongst true friends, but whether they are equally accomplished or not, they bear the same even unconcerned temper of mind towards each other. But the flatterer, remembering that he is but to act another's part, pretends only to such strokes as fall short of the original, and is willing to confess himself outdone in any thing but his vices, wherein alone he claims the precedency to himself; as, if the man he is to wheedle be difficult and morose, he is quite overrun with choler; if something superstitious, he is a perfect enthusiast; if a [p. 113] little in love, for his part he is most desperately smitten. I laughed heartily at such a passage, says one; But I had like to have died with laughter, says the other. But now in speaking of any laudable qualities, he inverts his style; as, I can run fast enough, says he, but you perfectly fly. I can sit an horse tolerably well, but alas! what's that to this Hippocentaur for good horsemanship? I have a tolerable good genius for poetry, and am none of the worst versifiers of the age;
But thunder is the language of you Gods, not mine.

And thus at the same time he obliges his friend both in approving of his abilities by his owning of them, and in confessing him incomparable in his way by himself coming short of his example. These then are the distinguishing characters of a friend and flatterer, as far as concerns the counterfeit resemblance betwixt them.

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