BOOK I, CHAPTER XXIII
ing, as it is shriller. Secondly, the ugliness of deceit does not consist in the difference between crowns and pins: it exists in itself. I find it much truer to argue thus: “Why would he not cheat about crowns, since he cheats about pins?” than, as they do: “It is only about pins; he would be careful not to do so about crowns.” We must sedulously teach children to hate vices for their own texture, and must teach them their natural monstrosity, so that they may shun them, not in their actions only, but, above all, in their hearts; that the mere thought of them may be hateful, whatever mask they wear. I know well that, from having been taught in boyhood to follow always my broad, straight road, and from having always had a repugnance to mingle trickery or cunning in my childish games (indeed, it should be noted that the games of children are not games, and must be judged as their most serious acts), there is no pastime so trivial that I do not bring to it inwardly, and by a natural and unstudied propensity, an extreme aversion to deceit. I play cards for doubles, and keep count as carefully as if they were double doubloons, when gaining or losing against my wife and daughter is a matter of indifference to me, as when I am playing in earnest. In every thing and everywhere my eyes are enough to keep me straight; there are no others which watch me so closely or which I more respect.
(a) I have just seen at my house a little man, a native of Nantes, who was born without arms and who has so well trained his feet for the service which hands ought to perform, that they have in truth half forgotten their natural office. Furthermore, he calls them his hands; he carves, loads a pistol and fires it, threads his needle, sews, writes, takes off his cap, combs his hair, plays at cards and with dice, and handles them as dexterously as anybody else could do. The money that I gave him (for he earned his living by exhibiting himself) he carried away in his foot as we
- Plus pure et plus forte qu’elle est plus gresle. Changed in 1596 to: plus pure et plus naifve, qu’elle est plus gresle et plus neuve.
- Pour m’estre duit.
- A small copper coin worth one sixth of a sou.
- This person is mentioned in many journals of this time.
- The clause in parentheses is omitted in the edition of 1595.