The Italians have a proverb, which I hope you have not forgot poor Pierrotti's lessons so far as not to comprehend 'Volto sciolto e pensieri stretti. There is no occasion to let any one see what you exactly think of him; and it is the less prudent, as you will find reason, in all probability, to change your opinion more than once.

What, then, was the reason? An Italian proverb, speaking for nature, gives the true solution of the riddle. 'La Mona non vuol pensieri', and my head was full of thought. My task was done, and bidding good-bye to all my friends, I set out in my post-chaise for Paris, going by another way for the sake of the change.

'Volto sciolto con pensieri stretti', is a most useful maxim in business. It is so necessary at some games, such as 'Berlan Quinze', etc., that a man who had not the command of his temper and countenance, would infallibly be outdone by those who had, even though they played fair. Whereas, in business, you always play with sharpers; to whom, at least, you should give no fair advantages.

He is firm, but gentle; and practices that most excellent maxim, 'suaviter in modo, fortiter in re'. The other is the 'volto sciolto a pensieri stretti'. People unused to the world have babbling countenances; and are unskillful enough to show what they have sense enough not to tell.

They look thoughtful, complain of the weight of business, throw out mysterious hints, and seem big with secrets which they do not know. Do you, on the contrary, never talk of business but to those with whom you are to transact it; and learn to seem vacuus and idle, when you have the most business. Of all things, the 'volte sciollo', and the 'pensieri stretti', are necessary. Adieu.

Great caution is therefore necessary; and if, to great caution, you can join seeming frankness and openness, you will unite what Machiavel reckons very difficult but very necessary to be united; 'volto sciolto e pensieri stretti'. Women are very apt to be mingled in court intrigues; but they deserve attention better than confidence; to hold by them is a very precarious tenure.

Polite manners, a versatility of mind, a complaisance even to enemies, and the 'volto sciolto', with the 'pensieri stretti', are only to be learned at courts, and must be well learned by whoever would either shine or thrive in them. Though they do not change the nature, they smooth and soften the manners of mankind.

The height of abilities is to have 'volto sciolto' and 'pensieri stretti'; that is, a frank, open, and ingenuous exterior, with a prudent interior; to be upon your own guard, and yet, by a seeming natural openness, to put people off theirs.

'Volto sciolto con pensieri stretti', is a most useful maxim in business. It is so necessary at some games, such as 'Berlan Quinze', etc., that a man who had not the command of his temper and countenance, would infallibly be outdone by those who had, even though they played fair. Whereas, in business, you always play with sharpers; to whom, at least, you should give no fair advantages.

The man appeared to be taking exactly that attitude to his wife she had already suggested toward him. "Il volto sciolto ed i pensieri stretti," declared Giuseppe with gloom. "That is to say 'her countenance may be clear, but her thoughts are dark' too dark to tell me her husband." "Perhaps she fears you a little. A woman is always helpless before a man who keeps his own secrets hidden."