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Dr Brewer had this to say: ‘You must have the necessary materials of
facilities before you can make or do what you are expected to … A sow’s ear
may somewhat resemble a purse, but it cannot be made into a purse.’ By
extension this means that you cannot change a person’s real character. All the
education in the world will not turn a vulgar, low-minded ruffian into a
gentleman, or a slattern into a lady.

##### See also:

* What can you expect from a hog but a grunt?

You cannot expect to get something for nothing. You must be prepared to make
sacrifices in order to gain your ends.

> ‘We shall be much more comfortable in our new house, but I’m afraid it’s not
going to be so cheap to run as this one.’

> ‘You can’t make omelet without breaking eggs.’

Nothing can be made without the necessary materials.

> ‘The trouble is, said the captain of the Cricket Club at a meeting of the
committee, that young chaps today aren’t interested in the game , so there’s
no chance of running a second eleven. You can’t make bricks without straw.’

In Biblical time bricks were made of mud and straw dried in the sun, the straw
holding the mud together. The source of the proverb is to be found in the
fifth chapter of Exodus.

##### See also:

* What is a workman without his tools

You cannot expect young people to be a wise and prudent as their elders.

Figuratively, ‘running with hare and hunting with the hounds’ is the deceitful
behaviour of one who fights of one who fights on one side and gives secret
help to the other side. Terms for these traitors to the cause are ‘double-
dealers’ and ‘double-crossers’. A very old saying, dating back to the
fifteenth century, is: ‘Thou hast a crooked tongue, holding with the hound and
running with the hare.’ Invariably these tricksters are found out; they should
be loyal to one side or the other.

##### See also:

* You cannot burn the candle at both ends
* A door must be either shut or open
* No man can serve two masters
* You cannot have it both ways
* You cannot have your cake and eat it
* You cannot sell the cow and drink the milk
* You cannot serve God and Mammon

You cannot enjoy the milk and have at the same time the advantages of the
money got for the cow. In the other words, you must have one thing or the
other, not both.

##### See also:

* A door must be either shut or open
* No man can serve two masters
* You cannot burn the candle at both ends
* You cannot have it both ways
* You cannot have your cake and eat it
* You cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds
* You cannot serve God and Mammon
*

Dr Brewer explains this as follows: ‘You cannot do two opposite things at one
and the same time; you cannot exhaust your energies in one direction, and yet
reserve them unimpaired for something else. If you go to bed late you cannot
get up early.’

> ‘I’ve got to get this ironing done,’ said Mrs Mills.

> ‘But it’s after midnight,’ protested her husband. ‘Far better come to bed,
and do the ironing in the morning. Burning the candle at both ends isn’t good
for you.’

##### See also:

* A door must be either shut or open
* No man can serve two masters
* You cannot have it both ways
* You cannot have your cake and eat it
* You cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds
* You cannot sell the cow and drink the milk
* You cannot serve God and Mammon

Experienced people are not to be deceived; they are too shrewd. Chaff is the
outer covering of the grain and worthless as food.

This incontestable fact is used figuratively in such contexts as:

> ‘Look, dear,’ said Mr Davidson while his wife was packing for their summer
holidays, ‘ours is a car, not a motor-coach. You can’t get a quart into a pint
pot, so we’ll have to make do with much less luggage.’

Here ‘blood’ means human feeling and a ‘stone’ represents a hard-hearted
person. The proverb refers to avarice; a man can be so full of greed and lust
for wealth that he feels no sympathy at all for others. To ask his help is as
useless as trying to get blood out of a stone.

##### See also:

* You cannot get water out of a stone

The proverb has the meaning of futility of trying to extract money from a
person who either will not pay, or has not the money to pay with. It is an
alternative to: You cannot get blood out of a stone.

A nine day’s wonder is an event that attracts much attention, but is soon
forgotten. Dr Brewer divides the nine days into ‘three days’ amazement, three
days’ discussion of details, and three days’ subsidence ‘ – that is, sinking
down. An Albanian proverb of the same meaning goes: A wonder lasts but three
days.