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Idling on from yesterday
Idling on from yesterday
Before I could respond, Anthony tried to silence me with the casual wave of his hand.
'One should devote one day's to the sins of business and one's nights to the business of sins.'
Anthony hoped that his reference to sins would be sufficient to arouse my hedonistic tastes.
'Business,' I responded while spilling some wine as I filled my glass, 'is a laborious nothing that leads to lassitude. I'm quoting Byron but I don't expect you to recognise it. Very few people seem to read Byron these days.'
'I would like to read more,' Anthony interjected, 'but I don't have enough spare time.'
'Not enough spare time!'
I looked at Anthony as smugly as one can with a belly full of wine.
'And with that Anthony, I rest my case. The benefits of business have been exposed, "Let us talk in tender horrors of our loathing all kinds of toil." And yes, before you ask Anthony, it was Byron again.'
'Damn Byron. He was bone lazy, got all the women while he died with his boots off and a whisky in his hand.'
Anthony looked morose and sought comfort from another glass.
'There is great seduction in one kind of idleness,' I said in a comforting voice, 'which emerges from that process dignified as the appearance of activity. It allows the idler to imagine that he has something important to do and sheer terror keeps him in perpetually agitated as he hurries from place to place. Consultants are a good example.'
Anthony lit a cigarette and enjoyed the smoke.
'Well, what about you? I don't see you even working in an iron lung.'
'You know me Anthony. I'm not ambitious at all. I don't want any wealth. I'm quite happy to stay exactly where I am. Ambition breeds dissatisfaction along with its flotsam of disenchantment. Even when ambition is fulfilled it produces nothing but unhappiness and despair.'
'Idleness,' said Anthony, 'according to Chesterfield’s old saying, is only the refuge of weak minds, and the holiday of fools.'
'Quotation is the refuge of weak minds,' I replied.
We had run out of Chardonnay and were now drinking the rich red liquid from my precious stocks of old port. I filled his glass with port.
'Then your mind is the weakest in town,' Anthony retorted.
'Of course,' I said casually. 'But don't expect me to take Chesterfield's word for it. He was wrong. His claim is utterly false.'
I stopped speaking for a moment and attempted find the cork for the port bottle.
'The words may be Chesterfields,' replied Anthony, 'but the sentiment is mine.'
Anthony found the cork and passed it to me.