“To such terrestrial types you must always say to their face only such things as may ‘tickle’ those consequences of the properties of the organ Kundabuffer unfailingly crystallized in them and which I have already enumerated, namely, ‘envy,’ ‘pride,’ ‘self-love,’ ‘vanity,’ ‘lying,’ and so on.
“And the means of tickling which infallibly act on the psyche of these unfortunate favorites of yours are, as I noticed during my stay there, the following:
“Suppose that the face of one of these representatives of art resembles the face of a crocodile, then be sure to tell him that he is the image of a bird of paradise.
“If one of them is as stupid as a cork, say that he has the mind of Pythagoras.
“If his conduct in some business is obviously ‘super-idiotic’ tell him that even the great cunning Lucifer could not have thought out anything better.
“Suppose that on his features you see signs that he has several terrestrial diseases from which he is progressively rotting day by day, then with an expression of astonishment on your face ask him:
“‘Do, please, tell me, what is your secret for always looking so fresh, like “peaches-and-cream,”’ and so on. Only remember one thing . . . never tell the truth.
“Although you have to behave in this manner toward all the beings in general of that planet, it is particularly necessary to do so toward the representatives of all the branches of contemporary art.”
Having said this, Ahoon, with the affectation of a Moscow suburban matchmaker at the marriage of her clients, or of the proprietress of a Parisian fashion workroom in what is called a ‘high-life-cafe,’ began rearranging the folds of his tail.
And Hassein, looking at him with his usual sincerely grateful smile, said: