"Enter, my friend, enter. How goes your trade?" "In all candor, not too well," said Cugel. "I am both perplexed and disappointed, for my talismans are not obviously useless."
“Is this the conduct of a ‘sly and unpredictable villain’?” “Decidedly so, if the villain, for the purposes of his joke, thinks to simulate the altruist.” “Then how will you know villain from altruist?” Cugel shrugged. “It is not an important distinction.”jack vance
"Here you see the pattern from which my great work is derived. It expresses the symbolic significance of NULLITY to which TOTALITY must necessarily attach itself, by Kratinjae's Second Law of Cryptorrhoid Affinities, with which you are possibly familiar." "Not in every aspect," said Cugel.jack vance
“I was trained in the old tradition! We found our strength in the basic verities, to which you, as a patrician, must surely subscribe. Am I right in this?” “Absolutely, and in all respects!” declared Cugel. “Recognizing, of course, that these fundamental verities vary from region to region, and even from person to person.”jack vance
"The folk are peculiar in many ways," said Erwig. "They preen themselves upon the gentility of their habits, yet they refuse to whitewash their hair, and they are slack in their religious observances. For instance, they make obeisance to Divine Wiulio with the right hand, not on the buttock, but on the abdomen, which we here consider a slipshod practice. What are your own views?" "The rite should be conducted as you describe," said Cugel. "No other method carries weight." Erwig refilled Cugel's glass. "I consider this an important endorsement of our views!"jack vance