Praise for what is not praiseworthy is mere flattery. All the more so, if fair words gain advantage. Praise even of the dead is suspect if it flatters survivors. Persons in authority must be wary of false praise: be mindful that for every man who praises you, ninety-nine hold their peace or mutter imprecations aside. A friend of long standing said to me, "You are the hardest person to praise of anyone I've ever known," by which words he meant to tax me, but which I took as compliment. I offer praise generously when it is merited, but not for ordinary deeds. Of a churlish man, it was justly said at his funeral, that he was a good speller; of a sloven, that his fingernails had never been so clean. Praise need not be effusive and is most sincere if simply couched. I was once most happy to be praised, when a discreet man, looking over a landscape of which I am vain, said to a friend who marveled, "He works on it." Of all virtues, I am most apt to praise diligence, the want of which I deplore in myself. Children are most easy to praise as they know not irony.