The Choice of Companion
By William Makepeace Thackray
A good companion is better than a fortune, for a fortune cannot purchase those elements of character which make companionship a blessing. The best companion is one who is wiser and better than ourselves, for we are inspired by his wisdom and virtue to nobler deeds.
“Keep good company, and you shall be one of the number,” said George Herbert. “A man is known by the companion he keeps. ” Character makes character in the associations of life faster than anything else. Purity begets purity, like begets like; and this fact makes the choice of companion in early life more important even than that of teachers and guardians.
It is true that we cannot always choose all of our friends, some are thrust upon us by business or the social relations of life, we do not choose them, we do not enjoy them; and yet, we have to associate with them more or less. The experience is not altogether without compensation, if there be principle enough in us to bear the strain. Still, in the main, choice of companions can be made, and must be made. It is not best or necessary for a young person to associate with “Tom, Dick, and Harry” without forethought or purpose. Some fixed rules about the company he or she keeps must be observed. The subject should be uttermost in the thoughts, and canvassed often.
Companionship is education, good or not; it develops manhood or womanhood, high or low; it lifts the soul upward or drags it downward; it ministers to virtue or vice. Sow virtue, and the harvest will be virtue. Sow vice, and the harvest will be vice. Good companionships help us to sow virtue;evil companionships help us to sow vice.