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Dishonesty

  • There's a strong aroma of sawn lady about this.

  • It's been my observation, after years in the [insurance] business, that a certain percent of the population simply can't resist the urge to cheat.

  • Nothing he did was ever illegal — but as soon as he'd got on to it, you had to have a law about it, if you know what I mean.

  • ... it is better in the long run to be cheated than to cheat. I have learned that there is no middle way.

  • A man does not steal from one victim only, but from everyone who comes near to the theft.

  • He was so crooked, you could have used his spine for a safety-pin.

  • ... who seeketh two strings to one bow, they may shoot strong, but never straight ...

    • Elizabeth I,
    • letter to James VI, King of Scotland (1585), in G.B. Harrison, The Letters of Queen Elizabeth I ()
  • His was the triumphant mien of the military commander who has taken no active part in the dust and heat of the battle, yet marches very actively indeed at the head of his troops when they return victoriously home.

  • ... they who are not fastidious as to the means, seldom fail of securing the result they aim at.

  • Counting both times I cheated this week / I won at solitaire twice.

  • But she could carry off anything; and some people said that she did.

  • Where he knew he had much to conceal, he thought it necessary to profess much.

  • Another expedient, towards the making of my fortune, was letting three several rooms to as many different persons, but in principle were all alike, and conjunctive in the perpetration of my destruction. ... they had taken violent fancies to my very candlesticks and sauce-pans, my pewter terribly shrunk, and my coals daily diminished, from the same opportunity they had in conveying off my beer; and, as I kept an eating-house also, there was very often a hue and cry after an imaginary dog, that had run away with three parts of a joint of meat.

  • Do you know that the tendrils of graft and corruption have become mighty interlacing roots so that even men who would like to be honest are tripped and trapped by them?

  • We all know the eleventh commandment, 'Thou shalt not be found out' ...

  • Alas, we are all caught in the same mill. We are vain and we are dishonest because it is necessary to triumph over other vain and dishonest persons.

  • One evening on reading aloud his daily pages he said, 'I steal from you, don't I?' He laughed and continued reading. ... I asked, 'When you quote me in The Treasure of the Humble why have you put each time, "an old philosopher said ..." or else "an old friend said ..." or "I do not know what sage has said ..." or merely quotation marks?' Astonished, he lifted his head. 'But don't you see it would be ridiculous to mention you. You're on the stage, a singer, nobody would believe me. It would be ridiculous.'

    • Georgette Leblanc,
    • 1898, on Maurice Maeterlinck, in Janet Flanner, trans., Souvenirs: My Life With Maeterlinck ()
  • As a distinguished politician once said, when you plan to drain a marsh, you don't tell the frogs.