, L. S. E.
Pierre. (L. C.) My friend, good morrow; How fares the honest partner of my heart? What, melancholy! not a word to spare me!
Jaf. (C.) I'm thinking, Pierre, how that damned starving quality, Called honesty, got footing in the world.
Pierre. Why, powerful villainy first set it up, For its own ease and safety. Honest men Are the-soft easy cushions on which knave's Repose and fatten. Were all mankind villains, They'd starve each other; lawyers would want practice, Cut-throats, reward: each man would kill his brother Himself; none would be paid or hanged for murder. Honesty! 'twas a cheat, invented first To bind the hands of bold deserving rogues, That fools and cowards might sit safe in power, And lord it uncontrolled above their betters.
Jaf. Then honesty is but a notion?
Pierre. Nothing else; Like wit, much talked of, not to be defined: He that pretends to most, too, has least share in't Tis a ragged virtue. Honesty!