Rudyard Kipling? Mrs. Mallowe? Mrs. Hauksbee? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: The following quotation embodies an irrepressible optimism:
I always prefer to believe the best of everybody. It saves so much trouble.
The famous author Rudyard Kipling has received credit for this remark, but I haven’t been able to find a citation. Are these really his words? Would you please explore this topic?
Quote Investigator: In 1888 Rudyard Kipling published the collection “Under the Deodars” which included the story “A Second-Rate Woman”. Two characters named Mrs. Mallowe, and Mrs. Hauksbee exchanged comments about their beliefs. Boldface added to excepts by QI: 1890 (1888 Previous Edition), Under the Deodars by Rudyard Kipling, Story: A Second-Rate Woman, Start Page 65, Quote Page 76, United States Book Company, New York. (Google Books Full View) link
“I am prepared to credit any evil of The Dancing Master, because I hate him so. And The Dowd is so disgustingly badly dressed———.”
“That she, too, is capable of every iniquity? I always prefer to believe the best of everybody. It saves so much trouble.”
“Very good. I prefer to believe the worst. It saves useless expenditure of sympathy.”
Thus, Kipling wrote the remark, but it was spoken by a fictional character. Also, another character immediately presented the opposite viewpoint.
Below are selected citations in chronological order.
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