And as a general rule, which may make all creditors who are inclined to be severe, pretty comfortable in their minds, no men embarrassed are altogether honest, very likely. They conceal something; they exaggerate chances of good-luck; hide away the real state of affairs; say that things are flourishing when they are hopeless; keep a smiling face (a dreary smile it is) upon the verge of bankruptcy -- are ready to lay hold of any pretext for delay, or of any money, so as to stave off the inevitable a few days longer.

William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair, Chapter 18

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