He procured the election of his son Andrew as prince of Pskov, and a powerful minority of the citizens of the republic of Novgorod held the balance in his favour against the Muscovite influence, but his ascendancy in both these commercial centres was at the best precarious.
But the relations between a community of freebooters, mostly composed of fugitive serfs and refugees, and a government of small squires who regarded the Cossacks as a mere rabble were bound to be difficult at the best of times, and political and religious differences presently supervened.
It is the note of every great religious reformer, Moses, Buddha, Paul, Mani, Mahomet, St Francis, Luther, to enlighten and direct it to higher aims, substituting a true personal holiness for a ritual purity or taboo, which at the best was viewed as a kind of physical condition and contagion, inherent as well in things and animals as in man.
Kutuzov merely shrugged his shoulders when one after another they presented projects of maneuvers to be made with those soldiers-- ill-shod, insufficiently clad, and half starved--who within a month and without fighting a battle had dwindled to half their number, and who at the best if the flight continued would have to go a greater distance than they had already traversed, before they reached the frontier.
That tradition goes back to the Prophet's favourite wife Ayesha; but as she was not born at the time when the revelation is said to have been made, it can only contain at the best what Mahomet told her years afterwards, from his own not very clear recollection, with or without fictitious additions, and this woman is little trustworthy.
The Parthians had at the best been beaten, not subdued; the Britons threatened revolt; there were signs that various tribes beyond the Alps intended to break into Italy.
The allegiance of the rulers of Munster to Niall and his descendants can at the best of times only have been nominal.
It is dyed for the cheap trade for boas and muffs, but it is not an attractive fur at the best of times.
It is certain to be met by fictitious devices which at the best will cause needless inconvenience to the contracting parties; restraints will be placed on the natural flow of capital, and industry will suffer.
Hence all attempts to fix accurately the level of perpetual snow in the Alps are fallacious, and can at the best approach only to local accuracy for a particular district.