Morning Read:
Quos Ultra

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¶ Lord Chesterfield sends a lot of sound financial advice to his son. The heartbreaking thing about it is that those capable of taking good advice about money rarely need it. Chesterfield’s underlying budgetary principle, however, is not without interest, because, as he himself says, it’s not easy to discern.

The sure characteristic of a sound and strong mind, is to find in everything, those certain bounds, quos ultra citrave nequit consistere rectum. These boundaries are marked out by a very find line, which only good sense and attention can discover; it is much too fine for vulgar eyes. In manners, this line is good-breeding; beyond it, is troublesome ceremony; short of it, is unbecoming negligence and inattention.

How often, when I was young, did I justify negligence and inattention as the avoidance of troublesome ceremony!

¶ Melville: “The more I consider this mighty tail, the more do I deplore my inability to express it.” Do admit.

¶ In Don Quixote, it appears that the Squire of the Wood has rather more experience at accompanying a knight errant than Sancho does. When he shares a hefty meat pie and a wine skin with the Squire of the Sorrowful Face, the latter laments,

“Your grace is a faithful and true, right and proper, magnificent and great squire, as this feast shows, and if you haven’t come here by the arts of enchantment, at least it seems that way to me, but I’m so poor and unlucky that all I have in my saddlebags is a little cheese, so hard you could break a giant’s skull with it, and to keep it company some four dozen carob beans and the same number of hazelnuts and other kinds of nuts, thanks to the poverty of my master and the idea he has and the rule he keeps that knights errant should not live and survive on anything but dried fruits and the plants of the field.”

“By my faith, brother,” replied the Squire of the Wood, “my stomach isn’t made for thistles or wild pears or forest roots. Let our masters have their knightly opinions and rules and eat what their laws command. I have my baskets of food, and this wineskin hanging from the saddlebow, just in case, and I’m so devoted to it and love it so much that I can’t let too much time pass without giving it a thousand kisses and a thousand embraces.”

¶ In Squillions, the War comes to an end at last, with some very inter-esting correspondence from a man called Ingram Fraser, with whom Coward claimed no more than a “casual acquaintanceship.” Fraser’s letters about the postwar state of Coward’s Paris flat suggest either monumental impertinence or a true meeting of the minds, so to speak.

Now for the immediate future, the next trimestre begins on 15th October, at which time Frs 6,450 are due. On your behalf I promised that would be paid.

A veritable Our Man in Paris, sounds like.