When the Cardinal had concluded, they all began praising enthusiastically ideas which they had received with contempt when I suggested them (1.25-26)
Now in a meeting like this one, where so much is at stake, where so many brilliant men are competing to think up schemes of conquest, what if an insignificant fellow like myself were to get up and advise going on another tack entirely?
Either they will seduce you, or, if you remain honest and innocent, you will be made a screen for the [...] folly of others. Influencing policy indeed! You wouldn't have a chance! (1.38)