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Decay of the Art of Lying
Mark Twain

Page 1 of 10

 

On the Decay of the Art of Lying 

by Mark Twain [Sameul Clemens] 

ESSAY, FOR DISCUSSION, READ AT A MEETING OF THE HISTORICAL
AND ANTIQUARIAN CLUB OF HARTFORD, AND OFFERED FOR THE
THIRTY-DOLLAR PRIZE.[*] 

[*] Did not take the prize. 

Observe, I do not mean to suggest that the _custom_ of lying has
suffered any decay or interruption--no, for the Lie, as a Virtue, A Principle,
is eternal; the Lie, as a recreation, a solace, a refuge in time of need, the
fourth Grace, the tenth Muse, man's best and surest friend, is immortal, and
cannot perish from the earth while this club remains.  My complaint simply
concerns the decay of the _art_ of lying.  No high-minded man, no man of right
feeling, can contemplate the lumbering and slovenly lying of the present day
without grieving to see a noble art so prostituted.  In this veteran presence I

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