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Handkerchief and Sword

With handkerchief in one hand and sword in the other. Pretending to be sorry at a calamity, but prepared to make capital out of it.

“Abbé George ... mentions in [a letter] that `Maria Theresa stands with the handkerchief in one hand, weeping for the woes of Poland, but with the sword in the other hand, ready to cut Poland in sections, and take her share.' ” —Carlyle: The Diamond Necklace, chap. iv.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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