Patrick O'Brian on the modesty of the rich
In O'Brian's Master and Commander, Stephen Maturin casually refers to the wealth of James Dillon, one of his shipmates.
"Surely to God you would never call me rich?" Dillon asks with some asperity.
Maturin: "I have ridden over your land."
Dillon: "It's three-quarters of it mountain, and one quarter bog; and even if they were to pay their rent for the rest it would only be a few hundred a year -- barely a thousand."
Maturin: "My heart bleeds for you. I have never yet known a man admit that he was either rich or asleep: perhaps the poor man and the wakeful man have some great moral advantage."
Thanks to Jeff Jacoby for the reminder.