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believed he had spoken truth, and that it would be even more grateful to his Majesty for her to deny than own her fault. "Do you wish me to repair it," said she, "by a greater, not only towards God, but towards the king? I cannot lie to him, when he has the generosity to put faith in me, and believe me on my word. The man who has betrayed me is much to blame, but after all, I must not let him pass for a slanderer, which he is not."
She went the next day to Court, and having obtained a private audience of his Majesty, threw herself at his feet, and begged pardon for the indiscreet words which had escaped her, which her brother had not believed her capable of, saying that she would rather avow her fault than be justified at the expense of others. The King pardoned her immediately and ever after treated her with more particular kindness than before.*
TWO YOUNG MEN IN A SHOP.
Two young men went into a cook's shop, under pretence of buying meat; and while the cook's back was turned, one of them snatched up a piece and gave it to his companion, who presently clapt it under his cloak. The cook turning about again, and missing his piece, began to charge them with it; upon which, he that first took it, swore bitterly he had none of it. He that had it swore as heartily, that he had taken up none of his meat. Why look ye, gentlemen, says the cook, I see your equivocation; and though I can't tell which of you has taken my meat, I am sure, between you both, there's a thief, and a couple of rascals.
From Noble Deeds of Women, by Elizabeth Starling.
Moral-Evading the truth is just as blameable as
There are four sins of the speech:
1. Lying, 2. Slander, 3. Abuse, 4. Unprofitable conversation.
-THE ETHICS OF BUDDHISM.
Whoever in any special act is studious to make an outward show, to which no inward substance corresponds, is acting a lie, which may help him out of a difficulty perhaps for the occasion, but, like silvered copper, will be found out in due season.
A lie faces God and shrinks from man.
A liar begins by making a falsehood appear like truth, and ends with making truth itself appear like falsehood.
Take heed that thou be not found a liar; for a lying spirit is hateful both to God and man. A liar is commonly a coward, for he dares not avow truth. A liar is trusted of no man; he can have no credit, either in public or private.
-SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
*From Bewick's Select Fables.
Lying lips are abomination to the Lord; but they that deal truly are his delight.
He that speaketh lies shall perish.
Oh! 'tis a lovely thing for youth
Though they should speak the thing that's true;
And lies to hide it, makes it two.
For little souls on little shifts rely,
And cowards arts of mean expedients try,
A single lie destroys a whole reputation for integrity.*
He who tells a lie is not sensible how great a task he undertakes; for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain one.
Show me a liar, and I will show thee a thief.
Gossiping and lying go hand in hand.
* From Gracian's Art of Worldly Wisdom, translated from the Spanish by Jacobs.
The three essentials to a false story-teller are:
(a) a good memory,
(b) a bold face,
(c) fools for an audience.
The essence of lying is in deception, not in words; a lie may be told by silence, by equivocation, by the accent on a syllable, by a glance of the eye attaching a peculiar significance to a sentence; and all these kinds of lies are worse and baser by many degrees than a lie plainly worded; so that no form of blinded conscience is so far sunk as that which comforts itself for having deceived, because the deception was by gesture or silence instead of utterance; and finally, according to Tennyson's deep and trenchant line, "A lie which is half a truth is ever the worst of lies."
Mal-information is more hopeless than non-information; for error is always more busy than ignorance. Ignorance is a blank sheet on which we may write; but error is a scribbled one on which we must first erase. Ignorance is contented to stand still with her back to the truth; but error is most presumptuous, and proceeds in the same direction. Ignorance has no light, but error follows a false one. The consequence is, that error, when she retraces her footsteps, has farther to go, before she can arrive at the truth, than ignorance.
Concealing faults is but adding to them.
A fault is made worse by endeavouring to conceal it.
Denials make little faults great.
Confession of faults makes half amends. Denying a fault doubles it.
The first step towards amendment is the acknowledgment of a fault.
In vain thou striv'st to cover shame with shame;
An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded.
Where thou findest a Lie, that is oppressing thee, extinguish it. Lies exist there only to be extinguished; they wait and cry earnestly for extinction. Think well, meanwhile, in what spirit thou wilt do it: not with hatred, with headlong selfish violence; but in clearness of heart, with holy zeal, gently, almost with pity. Thou wouldst not replace such extinct Lie by a new Lie. -THOMAS CARLYLE.
Cross the passes so difficult to cross. (Conquer)
wrath with peace; untruth with truth.