Thursday, December 16, 2010

My dear friend, clear your mind of cant. You may talk as other people do: you may say to a man, "Sir, I am your most humble servant." You are not his must humble servant. You may say, "These are bad times; it is a melancholy thing to be reserved at such times." You don't mind the times. You tell a man, "I am sorry you had such bad weather the last day of your journey, and were so much wet." You don't care six-pence whether he is wet or dry. You may talk in this manner; it is a mode of talking in Society: but don't think foolishly.


I sometimes say more than I mean, in jest; and people are apt to believe me serious: however, I am more candid than I was when I was younger. As I know more of mankind, I expect less of them, and am ready now to call a man a good man, upon easier terms than I was formerly.

Samuel Johnson (1783) in Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson

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