Lord Chesterfield saw himself as an artist of the courtly graces working on a masterpiece of a son. The Letters remain the best part of the effort-imagine a failed statue surrounded by a pile of fascinating chips-everyone explores the chips and hangs their coats on the statue.
Here he gives his son advice for his stay at the court of Turin 1748:
" But here let me, as an old stager upon the theatre of the world, suggest one consideration to you; which is, to extend your desire of praise a little beyond the strictly praiseworthy; or else you may be apt to discover too much contempt for at least three parts in five of the world, who will never forgive it you. In the mass of humanity, I fear, there is too great a majority of fools and knaves; who, singly from their number, must to a certain degree be respected, though they are no means respectable. And a man who will show every knave or fool that he thinks him such, will engage in a most ruinous war, against numbers much too superior to those that he or his allies can bring into the field. Abhor a knave, and pity a fool in your heart; but let neither of them, unnecessarily, see that you do so. Some compliance and attention to fools is prudent, and not mean; as silent abhorrence of individual knaves is often necessary and not criminal."
If people who invested time and Koch brother's money to gather together got tired of waiting for a speech to be remembered and cleaned up the mall, I always say "Good for you, well done, endebted."