His library of 70,000 volumes was one of his forms of ostentation, and so was his gallery of pictures.
At the most important crisis of his life in 1783, he almost made an ostentation of disorder and of indifference not only to appearances, but even to decency.
" I am not conscious," says he, " of having ever bought a book from a motive of ostentation; every volume, before it was deposited on the shelf, was either read or sufficiently examined "; he also mentions that he soon adopted the tolerating maxim of the elder Pliny, that no book is ever so bad as to be absolutely good for nothing.
But he had that quality which Aristotle places high among the virtues - the noble mean of Magnificence, standing midway between the two extremes of vulgar ostentation and narrow pettiness.
" I find that even those that have sought knowledge for itself, and not for benefit or ostentation, or any practical enablement in the course of their life, have nevertheless propounded to themselves a wrong mark, namely, satisfaction (which men call Truth) and not operation."
Of all the mixed motives that went to the evolution of church architecture in the middle ages, this rivalry in ostentation was probably the most fertile in the creation of new forms. A volume might be written on the economic effects of this locking up of vast capital in unproductive buildings.
4 The same overmastering feeling which constrained Tacitus (Agric. 2, 3), when the time of long endurance and silence was over, to recall the " memory of the 3 Pliny's remarks on the vulgarity as well as the ostentation of his host imply that he regarded such behaviour as exceptional, at least in the circle in which he himself lived (Ep. ii.
When at length he found his memory failing and his mental powers declining, he gave up, without ostentation or complaint, whatever parts of his work he could no longer carry on according to his own standard of efficiency.
This prelate was related to the English king, Edward II., and after a life spent in strife and ostentation, he died on the 24th of September 1333.
Against these may be set the vices of pride, ostentation, love of bloodshed, contempt of inferiors, and loose manners.