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[97] 26. Now, if on the stage, I mean on the platform, where there is the greatest opportunity for deception and disguise, truth yet prevails, provided it is made plain and brought into the light of day, what ought to be the case with friendship which is wholly weighed in the scales of truth? For in friendship, unless, as the saying is, you behold and show an open heart, you can have no loyalty or certainty and not even the satisfaction of loving and of being loved, since you do not know what true love is. And yet this flattery of which I spoke, however deadly it may be, can harm no one except him who receives and delights in it. It follows that the man who lends the readiest ear to flatterers is the one who is most given to self-flattery and is most satisfied with himself.

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