Dont hang a dismal picture on the wall, and do not daub with sables and glooms in your conversation. Dont be a cynic and disconsolate preacher. Dont bewail and bemoan. Omit the negative propositions. Nerve us with incessant affirmatives. Dont waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good. When that is spoken which has a right to be spoken, the chatter and the criticism will stop. Set down nothing that will not help somebody.
Indifference to all the actions and passions of mankind was not supposed to be such a distinguished quality at that time, I think. I have known it very fashionable indeed. I have seen it displayed with such success that I have encountered some fine ladies and gentlemen who might as well have been born caterpillars.
The cynic is one who never sees a quality in a man, and never fails to see a bad one. He is the human owl, vigilant in darkness and blind to light, mousing for vermin, and never seeing noble game. The cynic puts all human actions into two classesopenly bad and secretly bad. All virtue and generosity and disinterestedness are merely the appearance of good; but selfish at the bottom. He holds that no man does a good thing except for profit. The effect of his conversation upon your feelings is to chill and sear them; to send you away sour and morose. His criticisms and hints fall indiscriminately upon every lovely thing, like frost upon flowers.
Nil admirari is the motto which men of the world always affect. They think it vulgar to wonder, or be enthusiastic. They have so much corruption and so much charlatanism that they think the credit of all high qualities must be delusive.