Honesty a Vice, Hypocrisy a Virtue


Have you ever seen a man when some neighbors who are unpopular drop in for an evening call? After they are gone, his wife says:

“I do wish you wouldn’t bite the Andersons when they come in, Joe!”

“Bite them! I was civil, wasn’t I?”

“Well, you can call it that.”

He is ready to examine the window locks, but he turns and surveys her, and he is honestly puzzled.

“What I can’t make out,” he says, “is how you can fall all over yourself to those people, when you know you detest them. Thank heavens, I’m no hypocrite.”

Then he locks the windows and stalks up-stairs, and the hypocrite of the family smiles a little to herself. Because she knows that without her there would be no society and no neighborhood calls, and that honesty can be a vice, and hypocrisy a virtue.

——Mary Roberts Rinehart, Isn’t That Just Like a Man