An anonymous sermonizer make notes about the “straight way” being the “legitimate” way.
‘About “Going Straight On”‘ in The Oxford Magazine and Church Advocate (Vol. III., October 1863, No. 36, page 340):
I do not believe, either, in what we used to call cutting corners or going short roads to places. The short road I have always found is in the end the longest. There are more gates to open, more stiles to get over, something or other to hinder, and the distance we save we lose in the time we take. Set one man to go to a place four miles off by the road; set another to go a short cut across the fields, and ten to one the man on the road gets there first. And it is natural he should, for the road is the legitimate way, the one that has been tried and found the best, and by going straight on it we shall gain time if not distance.
The business part of the world takes all kinds of short cuts to make a fortune, instead of going straight on, and how seldom the fortune is made. Those that do succeed in this way never seem to keep their money long, or to prosper on it. I am not superstitious, but this is a fact, and it does seem as if they were not allowed to enjoy their gain, because they found it down one of the bye roads that leads away from the high road, and did not make it in an honest way by going straight on.
If you suppose that going straight on is an easy matter, just get rid of the notion at once and for all. It is the hardest matter under the sun. It is this, doubtless, which makes people put off trying it so long, often till they got to an old age and begin to think they are near their departure. But then there is this about it, once begin it and you will not soon leave off ; its results are so pleasant, its ends so lucrative; and then every day makes it easier, every little rut and rough pit got over, so much the nearer are you at the and of the road, every hour sees something done towards smoothing the way and lessening the difficulties.
The dubious moral nature of the short cut is embedded in our language and idiom. See The High Road