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Men have various subjects in which they may excel, or at least would be thought to excel, and though they love to hear justice done to them where they know they excel, yet they are most and best flattered upon those points where they wish to excel and yet are doubtful whether they do or not.
Although a skillful flatterer is a most delightful companion if you have him all to yourself, his taste becomes very doubtful when he takes to complimenting other people.
Flattery is refined deception–it is the froth of language–it is the alcohol of social intercourse–it is the prescription of the subtle–and the nectar of fools.
Flattery is never so agreeable as to our blind side; commend a fool for his wit, or a knave for his honesty, and they will receive you into their bosoms.
The voice of flattery affects us after it has ceased, just as after a concert men find some agreeable air ringing in their ears to the exclusion of all serious business.
What signifies protesting so against flattery (would he cry)! when a person speaks well of one, it must either be true or false, you know; if true, let us rejoice in his good opinion; if he lies, it is a proof at least that he loves more to please me, than to sit silent when he need say nothing.
He who says he hates every kind of flattery, and says it in earnest, certainly does not yet know every kind of flattery.
Nothing flatters a man as much as the happiness of his wife; he is always proud of himself as the source of it.
The coin that is most current among mankind is flattery: the only benefit of which is that by hearing what we are not, we may be instructed on what to become.
A gentleman attacked Garrick for being vain. Johnson: “No wonder, Sir, that he is vain; a man who is perpetually flattered in every mode that can be conceived. So many bellows have blown the fire, that one wonders he is not by this time become a cinder.