The only difference between Timmins's dinner and his neighbour's was, that he had hired, as we have said, the greater part of the plate, and that his cowardly conscience magnified faults and disasters of which no one else probably took heed.
...guilty consciences, I say, made them fancy that everyone was spying out their domestic deficiencies: whereas, it is probable that nobody present thought of their failings at all. People never do: they never see holes in their neighbours' coats—they are too indolent, simple, and charitable.
William Thackeray – A Little Dinner at Timmin’s
I suspect many of us have what Thackeray calls a cowardly conscience – imagining that other people pay more attention to us than they ever do.
Yet many people in public life appear to have no such thing, or rather they understand what Thackeray might have called the simple, indolent charity of their audience. They are well aware that their inadequacies may be obscured behind the crudest dishonesty, misdirection and sheer chutzpah so essential for serious political aspirants.