A Rule Of Life

Ivan Turgenev

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'If you want to annoy an opponent thoroughly, and even to harm him,' said a
crafty old knave to me, 'you reproach him with the very defect or vice you
are conscious of in yourself. Be indignant ... and reproach him!

'To begin with, it will set others thinking you have not that vice.

'In the second place, your indignation may well be sincere.... You can turn
to account the pricks of your own conscience.

If you, for instance, are a turncoat, reproach your opponent with having no

'If you are yourself slavish at heart, tell him reproachfully that he is
slavish ... the slave of civilisation, of Europe, of Socialism!'

'One might even say, the slave of anti-slavishness,' I suggested.

'You might even do that,' assented the cunning knave.

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