Lean in, says Sheryl Sandberg.¬† Stand up and never give in, says the farmer’s wife Mrs. Poyser, even if your husband sits down to hear the slippery squire try and talk them into something that would do them no good.

Mrs. Poyser, flourishing at the turn of the 19th century, is a strong, prickly, lovable character with a sharp tongue and a good heart, who runs a tight ship in both household and dairy.

Beware the purveyors of smooth-tongued palaver.

‘Poyser might sit down if he liked, she thought: she wasn’t going to sit down, as if she’d give in to any such smooth-tongued palaver.’

Source: George Eliot, Adam Bede (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985 (1859)), p. 390

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