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On the Decay of the Art of Lying               359
mongers indulge in this dissipation, imagining that if they speak no lie, they lie not at all. In that far country where I once lived, there was a lovely spirit, a lady whose impulses were always high and pure, and whose character answered to them. One day I was there at dinner, and remarked, in a general way, that we are all liars. She was amazed, and said, "Not all f " It was before " Pinafore's " time, so I did not make the response which would naturally follow in our day, but frankly said, "Yes, all—-we are all liars; there are no exceptions." She looked almost offended, and said, " Why, do you include me ? " " Certainly," I said, "I think you even rank as an expert." She said, " 'Sh—■ 'sh ! the children !" So the subject was changed in deference to the children's presence, and we went on talking about other things. But as soon as the young people were out of the way, the lady came warmly back to the matter and said, " I have made it the rule of my life to never tell a lie; and I have never departed from it in a single instance." I said, " I don't mean the least harm or disrespect, but really you have been lying like smoke ever since I've been sitting here. It has caused me a good deal of pain, because I am not used to it." She re­quired of me an instance—-just a single instance. So I said:
"Well, here is the unfilled duplicate of the blank which the Oakland hospital people sent to you by the hand of the sick-nurse when she came here to nurse your little nephew through his dangerous illness. This blank asks all manner of questions as to the conduct of that sick-nurse: 'Did she ever sleep on her watch? Did she ever forget to give the medicine?' and so forth and so on. You are warned to be very careful and ex­plicit in your answers, for the welfare of the service re­quires that the nurses be promptly fined or otherwise