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But some perhaps may plead on their behalf, that these men keep and hoard up their wealth for their children and heirs,—to whom they part with nothing whilst they are alive; but, like those mice that live in mines and pick up and eat the golden sands and ore, you cannot come by any of that gold, till you anatomize them to find it after they are dead. But to what end, I pray, would they leave such a deal of money and a great estate to their children and heirs? That they forsooth may preserve it also for others, and those others in like manner shall hand it down to their children (just like those earthen pipes the potters make for a water-course, which retain none of the water themselves, but one pipe only conveys it to the next), till some informing false accuser or tyrant appears and cuts off, this keeper in trust, and when his breath is stopped, derives and diverts the course of his wealth into another channel; or, as they say, till some one that is the most wicked of the race devours and consumes all that those who went before him had preserved. For not only, as Euripides says, [p. 301]
Children from slaves derived and baser blood
Prove prodigal and lewd, none come to good;

but it is as true of the children of the parsimonious; as Diogenes wittily abused this sort of men, when he said that it was better to be a certain Megarian's ram than his son. For, under the pretence of training them up and instructing them, they undo and pervert them, implanting in them their own love of money and meanness of spirit, and erecting as it were a fortress for the securing their inheritance in the minds of their heirs.

For the instructions and lessons they give them are such as these: Gain as much and spend as little as may be; value yourself according to what you are worth. But certainly this is not to instruct, but to contract and sew them up, just like a purse, the better to conceal and keep what is put into it. The purse indeed becomes foul and musty after money is put up in it; but the children of the covetous, before they are enriched by their parents, are replenished with covetous desires which they derive from them. And indeed they pay them a deserved reward for their instructions, not loving them because they shall receive a great estate from them, but hating them because they have it not so soon as they fain would. For being taught to admire nothing but wealth, nor knowing any other end of living but to get a great estate, they account the life of their parents to be a hindrance to that of their own, and fancy so much time is taken from their own age as is added to theirs. Wherefore, whilst their parents are yet living, they secretly always steal their pleasures; and what they bestow upon their friends or spend upon their lusts, and even what they give to their teachers, is fetched as it were from another's estate, not from their own.

But when their parents are dead and they are once possessed of their keys and seals, then their way of living is of another fashion, and they put on another face and [p. 302] aspect, grave, severe, and morose. You hear no more of their former pastimes, nor of exercises with the ball and in wrestling, nor of the Academy or the Lyceum: but they are wholly taken up in examining the servants, looking over writings, in debating matters with those that receive or owe them money. Their hurry of business and thoughtfulness will not give them leave to dine, and they are forced to make the night their time of bathing; the gymnastic schools in which they were educated and the water of Dirce are neglected. If any man ask him, Will you not go and hear the philosopher? How can I, says he, now that my father is dead? I am not at leisure. O miserable wretch! What has thy father left thee to be compared with what he has taken from thee, thy leisure and thy liberty? And yet it is not so much he that hath done it, as the wealth that flows round thee and overpowers thee, which, like the women Hesiod speaks of,

Thee without firebrands burns, and unawares
Resigns thee up to dotage and gray hairs,

bringing on thy soul those cares—like untimely wrinkles and old age—that spring from covetous desires and multiplicity of business, that shrivel up all thy vigor and gayety, all sense of honor, all kindness and humanity within thee.

1 Hesiod, Works and Days, 703.

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