The Two Ambassadors part 4


I will tell them of the letter, and how he thinks himself highly honored by their alliance.” “That is well thought,” said the other; “and let us spur along a little, that we may get in time for dinner at the same inn—you know where.” “That is well thought,” echoed the other; and mending their pace at the idea of the Frontignac, they soon dismounted, all in a heat, and without waiting for dinner, called out for some of the same wine. “Good sirs,” replied the waiter, “we have some better than ever;” and the ambassadors kept him pretty sharply employed in drawing the bottles, until the wine began to get low, and their politic heads somewhat too elevated.

Success of the embassy

Grieved to hear this, these patterns of diplomacy were compelled to mount again, and the next stage or two brought them into the presence of their employers, where, finding it easier to recollect their own lies than the truths which had been reposed in them, they mystified the good people in such a manner that they were highly pleased with the success of the embassy. They talked in so bold and lofty a tone of the orations they had delivered, that some of the audience compared them to Tully and Quintilian; and the thanks of the assembly being unanimously voted to them, they were afterwards promoted to other offices of great honor and emolument.

Nor will this appear very extraordinary if we reflect on the sort of people, of a higher rank than our heroes, whom we every day see entrusted with public missions, and who are about as much suited to their business as a common trooper taken from the ranks; and yet they write long letters, assuring the Government that they are busied day and night in the affairs of the nation, and that all the lucky events which fall out are wholly to be imputed to their skill. Did they tell truth, however, they would own that they had as little merit in bringing them about as a cabbage, or any other vegetating substance, though they are richly recompensed and promoted to the highest honors, in consideration of the ingenious lies and forgeries which they pass upon their countrymen.

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