Crambe repetita (34)
His odd grey eyes seemed to contradict his lips; they had a look in them which made the sincerity of his compliments very doubtful. And then he said very cutting things about other people. They were not exactly witty; they were certainly not profound; but they were so skillful, so adroit — they had a twist in them which made them slip into the mind and stay there when more important phrases were forgotten. He had downed the Regent himself with his dexterous ‘Who’s your fat friend?’ and his method was the same with humbler people who snubbed him or bored him. ‘Why, what could I do, my good fellow, but cut the connection? I discovered that Lady Mary actually ate cabbage!’— so he explained to a friend his failure to marry a lady.
—Virginia Woolf (‘Four Figures: Beau Brummell’ from The Second Common Reader)