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to pass that the former opinion, spread abroad, of their good faith and clearness of dealing, made them almost invisible.
There be three degrees of this hiding and veiling of a man's self: the first, closeness, reservation, and secrecy,—when a man leaveth himself without observation, or without hold to be taken, what he is; the second, dissimulation in the negative,—when a man lets fall signs and arguments that he is not that he is; and the third, simulation in the affirmative,—when a man industriously and expressly feigns and pretends to be that' he is not.
For the first of these, secrecy, it is indeed the virtue of a confessor; and assuredly the secret man heareth many confessions, for who will open himself to a blab or a babbler? But if a man be thought secret, it inviteth discovery, as the more close air sucketh in the more open; and as in confessing, the revealing is not for worldly use, but for the ease of a man's heart; so secret men come to the knowledge of many things in that kind, while men rather discharge their minds than impart their minds. In few words, mysteries are due to secrecy. Besides (to say truth) nakedness is uncomely as well in mind as in body; and it addeth no small reverence to men's manners and actions, if they be not altogether open. As for talkers, and futile* persons, they are commonly vain and credulous withal; for he that tolketh what he knoweth, will also talk what he knoweth not; therefore set it down, that a habit of secrecy is both politic and moral; and in this part it is good that a man's face give his tongue leave to speak; for the discovery of a man's self, by the tracts3 of his countenance, is a great weakness and betraying, by how much it is many times more marked and believed than a man's words.
For the second, which is dissimulation, it followeth many times upon secrecy, by a necessity; so that he that will be secret, must be a dissembler in some degree,—for men are too cunning to suffer a man to keep an indifferent4 carriage between both, and to be secret, without swaying the balance on either side. They will so beset a man with questions, and draw him on, and pick it out of him, that, without an absurd silence, he must show an inclination one way; or if he do not, they will gather as much by his silence as by his speech. As for equivocations, or oraculous' speeches, they cannot hold out long; so that no man can be secret, except he give himself a little scope of dissimidation, which is, as it were, but the skirts or train of secrecy.
1 That. What; that which. 'To do always tluti is righteous in thy sight.'— Enqlish Liturgy.
1 Futile. Taliiatice; loquacious. 'The parable (Prov. xxix. 2), it seems, especially corrects not the /utility of vaine persons which easily utter as well what may be spoken as what should be secreted; not garrulity whereby they fill others, even to surfeit; but the government of speech.'—On Learning. By G. Watts.
* Tracts. Traits (traicts); features.
4 Indifferent. Impartial. 'That they may truly and indifferently minister justice.'—Prayer fur the Church Militant.
But for the third degree, which is simulation and false profession, that 1 hold more culpable, and less politic, except it be in great and rare matters; and, therefore, a general custom of simulation (which is this last degree) is a vice rising either of* a natural falseness, or fearfulness, or of a mind that hath some main faults, which, because a man must needs disguise, it maketh him practise simulation in other things, lest his hand should be out of use.
The advantages of simulation and dissimulation are three— first, to lay asleep opposition, and to surprise; for where a man's intentions are published, it is an alarm to call up all that are against them: the second is, to reserve to a man's self a fair retreat; for, if a man engage himself by a manifest declaration, he must go through, or take a fall: the third is, the better to discover the ■ mind of another; for to him that opens himself men will hardly show themselves averse, but will (fair3) let him go on, and turn their freedom of speech to freedom of thought; and therefore it is a good shrewd proverb of the Spaniard, 'Tell a lie and find a troth,' as if there were no way of discovery but by simulation. There be also three disadvantages to set it even: the first, that simulation and dissimulation commonly carry with them a show of fearfulness, which, in any business, doth spoil the feathers of round * flying up to the mark; the second, that it puzzleth and perplexeth the conceits1 of many, that perhaps would otherwise co-operate with him, and makes a man walk almost alone to his own ends; the third, and greatest, is, that it depriveth a man of one of the most principal instruments for action, which is trust and belief. The best composition and temperature* is, to have openness in fame and opinion; secrecy in habit; dissimulation in seasonable use; and a power to feign, if there be no remedy.
1 Oraculous. Oracular.
'He spoke oraculous and sly;
* Of. From. 'Mate to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness.* —Luke xvi. 9.
"Fair (adverb). Complaisantly.
'Thus/air they parted till the morrow's dawn.'—Dryden.
* Bound. Direct.
'Let her be round with him.'—Shakespere.
ANTITHETA ON SIMULATION AND DISSIMULATION.
'Dissimulutio, compendiaria eapien- 'Qnttms artes civilcs supra captura tia. ingenii sunt, iis dissimulatio pro pru
'The art of concealing is a short cut dentia erit. to the most important part of practical 'Those whose minds cannot grasp
wisdom.' political sagacity, substitute dissimula
tion for prudence.' 'Sepes oonsilionim, dissimulatio.
'Concealment is the hedge of our 'Qui dissimulat. pracipuo ad agendesigns.' dum instrument*i ae privat—i.e., fido.
'He who practises concealment de'Qui indissimulantcr omnia agit, aeque prices himself of a most important indecipit; nam plurimi, aut non capiunt, strument of action—namely, confidence.' ant non credunt.
'He who arts in all things openly 'Dissimulatio dissimulationcm invitat.
does not deceive the less; for most 'Dissimulation invites dissimulation.'
persons either do not understand, or do not Mine him.'
'Of Simulation. '
It is a pity that our language has lost the word ' simulation;'
so that we are forced to make 'dissimulation' serve for both
* Id quod abest, siinulat, dissimulat quod adest.'3
'The ablest men have all had an openness and frankness? &c. There is much truth in Bacon's remark in the Antitheta, that those whose whole conduct is open and undisguised deceive people not the leas, because the generality either do not understand them, or do not believe them. And this is particularly the case when those you have to deal with are of a crafty character. They expend great ingenuity in guessing what it is yon mean, or what you design to do, and the only thing that never occurs to them, is, just what you have said.
1 Conceits. Conceptions—as:
'You have a noble and a true conceit Of godlike amity.' —Shakespere. * Temperature. Constitution. 'Memory depends upon the temperature of the brain.'— Watts. 1 'Simulates that which is not; dissimulates that which is.'
It is to be observed, however, that some persons, who are not really frank and open characters, appear such, from their want of delicacy and of refined moral taste. They speak openly of things pertaining to themselves (such as most people would suppress), not from incapacity for disguise, or from meaning to making a confidant of you, but from absence of shame. And such a person may be capable of much artifice when it suits his purpose. It is 'well, therefore, that the inexperienced should be warned against mistaking shamelessness for sincerity of character.
Those who are habitually very reserved, and (as Miss Edgeworth expresses it in one of her tales) 'think that in general it is best not to mention things,' will usually meet with fewer tangible failures than the more communicative, unless these latter possess an unusual share of sagacity; but the latter will (unless excessively imprudent) have a greater amount of success, on the whole, by gaining many advantages which the others will have missed.
'They will so beset a man with questions.'
There is, as Bacon observes, a great difficulty in dealing with such persons; for a true answer to their impertinent questions might do great mischief; and to refuse an answer would be understood as the same thing. 'Pray, do you know the author of that article? Is it yeur friend Mr. So-and-so?' or, 'Is it true that your friend Such-a-one has had heavy losses, and is likely to become insolvent?' or, 'Is he concealed in such-andsuch a place?' &c. It' you reply,'I do not choose to answer,' this will be considered as equivalent to an answer in the affirmative.
It is told of Dean Swift, that when some one he had lampooned came and asked him whether he was the writer of those verses, he replied, that long ago he had consulted an experienced lawyer what was best to be done when some scoundrel who had been shown up in a satire asked him whether he were the author; and that the lawyer advised him always, whether he had written it or not, to deny the authorship,—and, 'accordingly,' said he, 'I now tell you that I am not the author.'
Some similar kind of rebuke is, perhaps, the best answer to gire.
A well-known author once received a letter from a peer with whom he was slightly acquainted, asking him whether he was the author of a certain article in the Edinburgh Review. He replied that he never .made communications of that kind, except to intimate friends, selected by himself for the purpose, when he saw fit . His refusal to answer, however, pointed him out— which, as it happened, he did not care for—as the author. But a case might occur, in which the revelation of the authorship might involve a friend in some serious difficulties. In any such case, he might have answered something in this style: 'I have received a letter purporting to be from your lordship, but the matter of it induces me to suspect that it is a forgery by some mischievous trickster. The writer asks whether I am the author of a certain article. It is a sort of question which no one has a right to ask; and I think, therefore, that every one is bound to discourage such inquiries by answering them— whether one is or is not the author—with a rebuke for asking impertinent questions about private matters. I say 'private,' because, if an article be libellous or seditious, the law is open, and any one may proceed against the publisher, and compel him either to give up the author, or to bear the penalty. If, again, it contains false statements, these, coming from an anonymous pen, may be simply contradicted. And if the arguments be unsound, the obvious course is to refute them. But who wrote it, is a question of idle or of mischievous curiosity, as it relates to the private concerns of an individual.
'If 1 were to ask your lordship,' Do you spend your income? or lay by? or outrun? Do you and your lady ever have an altercation? Was she your first love? or were you attached to some one else before?' If I were to ask such questions, your lordship's answer would probably be, to desire the footman to show me out . Now, the present inquiry I regard as no less unjustifiable, and relating to private concerns: and, therefore, I