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obliged to mix continually with other men ; since I have had an opportunity of observing their designs, their conduct, their conversation, I. am become more easy, and more satisfied with myself. As we naturally compare ourselves with every thing we meet, our happiness or misery depends on the objects which are brought into comparison with us, and in this respect nothing is more dangerous than solitude. There our imagination, which is ever disposed to rise, takes a new fight on the wings of fancy, and forms a chain of beings, of which we are the last and most inferior. All things ap
pear greater than they really are, and all seem superior to us; and this operation of the mind is natural. We are continually feeling our own imperfections; we think we have observed in others qualities which we have not, and conclude they also poffefs all we have ourselves; and thus we have made a perfect, a happy man:-but such a man exists only in our imaginations.
But when, in spite of weakness and disappointment, we direct our endeavours to one end, and steadily persevere in the pursuit of it, we often find that we have made more way though continually tacking,
than others with all the affistance of wind and tide ; and yet that is a true judgment which we form of ourselves from our situation with others, whether we are on a line with them, or before them.
10th November. Begin to think my situation more
tolerable: I am much occupied; and the number of actors, and the different parts they play, make a very amusing variety in the scene. I have made an acquaintance with the Count of C, and I esteem him B 3
more and more every day. He is a man of strong understanding and great discernment : but though he fees farther than other people, he is not therefore cold in his temper and manner ; his sensibility furpasses all his other qualities. One morning that I went to speak to him upon
business, he expressed a friendship for me; by the first word he perceived that we understood each other, and that he might talk to me in a style different from that he made use of with most of the others.
I cannot express the satisfaction I receive from the openness of his conduct with regard to me. It is
the greatest of pleasures when a delicate mind thus lays itself open
L E T T E R XL.
December 24 Foresaw it; the minister occasions
me a number of vexations. 'Tis the most punctilicus blockhead under heaven ; he goes on step by step, with the trifling minuteness of an old woman. But how can a man be pleased with other people who is never satisfied with himself? I like to go on with business regularly and B 4