When malice has reason on its side, it looks forth bravely, and displays that reason in all its luster. When austerity and self-denial have not realized true happiness, and the soul returns to the dictates of nature, the reaction is fearfully extravagant.
Malice, in its false witness, promotes its tale with so cunning a confusion; so mingles truths with falsehoods, surmises with certainties, causes of no moment with matters capital, that the accused can absolutely neither grant nor deny, plead innocence nor confess guilt.
But for that blindness which is inseparable from malice, what terrible powers of evil would it possess! Fortunately for the world, its venom, like that of the rattlesnake, when most poisonous, clouds the eye of the reptile, and defeats its aim.
The venom that chills and curdles the warm current of life in man is secreted only in creeping and cold-blooded creatures; and the inveterate malignity that never forgets or forgives is found only in base and ignoble natures, whose aims are selfish, whose means are indirect, cowardly, and treacherous.
There is no small degree of malicious craft in fixing upon a season to give a mark of enmity and ill-will: a worda look, which at one time would make no impression, at another time wounds the heart, and, like a shaft flying with the wind, pierces deep, which, with its own natural force, would scarce have readied the object aimed at.
As the malicious disposition of mankind is too well known, and the cruel pleasure which they take in destroying the reputation of others, the use we are to make of this knowledge is, to afford no handle for reproach; for bad as the world is, it seldom falls on any one who hath not given some slight cause for censure.