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Of complaisance.

To this point you must attend before all others: not to be so attached to any one of your former acquaintances or friends as to condescend to behavior like his; otherwise you will undo yourself. But if it comes into your head, "I shall appear odd to him, and he will not treat me as before," remember that there is nothing to be had for nothing; nor is it possible that he who acts in the same manner as before should not remain the same person. Choose, then, whether you will be loved by those who formerly loved you, and be like your former self; or be better, and not meet with the same treatment. For if this last is preferable, immediately incline altogether this way, and let no other kind of reasoning draw you aside; for no one can improve while he is wavering. If, then, you prefer this to everything, if you would be fixed only on this, and employ all your pains about it, give up everything else. Otherwise this wavering will affect you in both directions; you will neither make a due improvement, nor preserve the advantages you had before. For before, by setting your heart entirely on things of no value, you were agreeable to your companions. But you cannot excel in both styles; you [p. 2150] must necessarily lose as much of the one as you partake of the other. If you do not drink with those with whom you used to drink, you cannot appear equally agreeable to them. Choose, then, whether you would be. a drunkard, and agreeable to them, or sober, and disagreeable to them. If you do not sing with those with whom you used to sing, you cannot be equally dear to them. Here too, then, choose which you will. For if it is better to be modest and decent than to have it said of you "what an agreeable fellow," give up the rest; renounce it; withdraw yourself; have nothing to do with it. But if this does not please you, incline with your whole force the contrary way. Be one of the debauchees; one of the adulterers. Act all that is consistent with such a character, and you will obtain what you would have. Jump up in the theatre, too, and roar out in praise of the dancer. But characters so different are not to be confounded You cannot act both Thersites and Agamemnon. If you would be Thersites, you must be hump-backed and bald; if Agamemnon, great and noble, and faithful to those who are under your care [p. 2151]


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