I’m all for politeness and things being well-chiselled, but this is a chilling form – impeccable yet indifferent as to whether it delivers sugar or venom.

‘He always spoke in the same deliberate, well-chiselled, polite way, whether his words were sugary or venomous.’

Source: George Eliot, Adam Bede (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985 (1859)), p. 389

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