Whistler was guest of honour at a dinner to which the leading lights of the London art world had been invited. There were a number of other guests as well, among them a young man of no acknowledged talent, who nevertheless held forth loudly on his own theories of art and at one stage went as far as contradicting Whistler to his face. A shocked silence went round the room while Whistler eyed the young man before asking him:
'And whose son are you?'
He's found that the best way to push himself forward is to pat himself on the back.
While he was President, Abraham Lincoln received many requests for preferential treatment, though few of them were as forthright as the mother who demanded to see him to discuss her son's military career.
'Mr. President you must give me colonel's commission for my son,' she told him bluntly. 'Sir, I demand it, not as a favour, but as a right. Sir. my grandfather fought at Lexington. Sir. my uncle was the only man that did not run away at Bladensburg. Sir. my father fought at New Orleans, and my husband was killed at Monterey.'
'I guess, madam,' Lincoln replied, 'your family has done enough for the country. I think the time has come to give somebody else a chance.'
Don't take any notice. He's just letting off esteem.
When a supporter of the nineteenth-century Liberal
M.P., John Bright, was singing his praises to Benjamin Disraeli, he concluded his hero worship with the justification that Bright was a self-made man.
'I know he is, and you can see that he adores his creator.' Disraeli told him.
When you said that you were a self-made man I wasn't sure if you meant me to congratulate or commiserate.
On the celebrated French statesman, Frangois de Chateaubriand:
'When he does not hear anyone talking about him, he thinks he has gone deaf.' — Talleyrand
If I were him I'd be less concerned with what I'd descended from and more concerned with what I'd descended to.
'My prayer to God is a very short one: "Oh Lord, please make my enemies ridiculous." God has granted my wish.' — Voltaire
It's all very well having your name in Who's Who but it's not much use if it shows up that you don't have a clue what's what.
I agree with you that success turned his head. It's just a pity it didn't finish the job and wring his neck.
An eager young composer persuaded Richard Wagner to hear the first performance of his opera. Afterwards he waited for Wagner to leave his box and then pounced on him to hear what he thought of his work. Wagner beamed at the man and told him:
'I like your opera. One day I think I'll set it to music.'
He's the sort of self-made man that can't resist passing on the recipe.
On a famous, but highly overrated playwright:
'Poor man, he's completely unspoiled by failure.' — Noel Coward
If her nose was turned up anymore, she'd blow off her hat every time she sneezed.
When a fellow politician told Horace Greely that he was a self-made man, Greely answered:
'I'm glad to hear it. That, sir, relieves the Almighty of a great responsibility.'