Rope of sand

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something of no cohession or fiber; a feeble union or tie; something not to be relied upon.

See also: Rope

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by G. & C. Merriam Co.
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References in classic literature ?
But the wise know that foolish legislation is a rope of sand which perishes in the twisting; that the State must follow and not lead the character and progress of the citizen; the strongest usurper is quickly got rid of; and they only who build on Ideas, build for eternity; and that the form of government which prevails is the expression of what cultivation exists in the population which permits it.
Laband, Rope of Sand (Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball, 1995), 189; Frere to Herbert, 3 November 1878, cited in Worsfold, 84; Frere to Carnarvon, 14 November 1877, cited in Hardinge, vol.
The next year, he appeared in "Rope of Sand," again starring Lancaster and a young French beauty named Corinne Calvet.