Most captains have trouble with their ship’s people from time to time – on occasion it is a continual sullen covert war – and unless they make cronies of their first lieutenants, as some do, they have to chew it over alone. I do not wonder that so many of them grow strange or bloody-minded; or run melancholy mad, for that matter.
~Capt. Jack Aubrey, Patrick O’Brian
Falsehood always seeks to imitate the truth.
~Numa Denis Fustel de Coulanges
Political trials are always vain formalities; for the very passions that produce the accusation also lead to the condemnation. Such is the terrible logic of revolutions.
~Alexandre Dumas, Twenty Years After
Very little achievement is required in order to pity another man’s shortcomings.
~George Eliot, Middlemarch
As long as a man is in command, be he the worst of fools, there are people around him committed to the belief that he commands well.
Stupidity is no bar to enterprise; on the contrary, it tends to conceal difficulties which an intelligent man would consider insuperable.
It is terrifying to think how much research is needed to determine the truth of even the most unimportant fact.
It is a great misfortune to be born with the soul of a king if one is not destined to reign.
The best friendships are based on mutual interest and common plans for the future.
There are lists in which the bravest of warriors prove themselves singularly clumsy.
~Maurice Druon, The She Wolf