In Anthony Trollope’s novel, Barchester Towers, Mr. Thorne, the regional squire, and his spinster sister throw their annual lawn party for almost everyone in the neighborhood.
Of course, they have invited and eagerly await the local aristocracy, members of the snotty De Courcy family, who are pissed off that the party begins at 12 noon. Too early for them. So they arrive at 3 pm.
Rather than apologizing, though, they grouse to the Thornes that they had to get up that morning at an ungodly hour (not true) and that the roads were in such bad shape, their carriage barely made it. (Also not true.)
The way Trollope cynically and sarcastically explains this behavior instantly reminded me of House Republicans. (Indeed, Jim Jordan’s face manifested itself on my wall. I scrubbed it off stat.)
See what you think.
Wise people, when they are in the wrong, always put themselves right by finding fault with the people against whom they have sinned. Lady De Courcy was a wise woman; and therefore, having treated Miss Thorne very badly by staying away till three o’clock, she assumed the offensive and attacked Mr Thorne’s roads. Her daughter, not less wise, attacked Miss Thorne’s early hours. The art of doing this is among the most precious of those usually cultivated by persons who know how to live. There is no withstanding it. Who can go systematically to work, and having done battle with the primary accusation and settled that, then bring forward a counter-charge and support that also? Life is not long enough for such labours. A man in the right relies easily on his rectitude and therefore goes about unarmed. His very strength is his weakness. A man in the wrong knows that he must look to his weapons; his very weakness is his strength. The one is never prepared for combat, the other is always ready. There it is that in this world the man that is in the wrong almost invariably conquers the man that is in the right, and invariably despises him.
A man must be an idiot or else an angel, who after the age of forty shall attempt to be just to his neighbours.
The sentences that ring loudly in my ears:
A man in the right relies easily on his rectitude and therefore goes about unarmed. His very strength is his weakness. A man in the wrong knows that he must look to his weapons; his very weakness is his strength. The one is never prepared for combat, the other is always ready.