American Writer, Humorist
Mark Twain, pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens
American Writer, Humorist
I desire to tamper with the jury law. I wish to alter it as to put a premium on intelligence and character, and close the jury box against idiots, blacklegs, and people who do not read newspapers.
I don't see any use in having a uniform and arbitrary way of spelling words. We might as well make all clothes alike and cook all dishes alike. Sameness is tiresome; variety is pleasing.
I have been on the verge of being an angel all my life, but it's never happened yet.
I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.
I did not steal your paltry goods!
I don't see no p'ints about that frog that's any better'n any other frog.
I have been studying the traits and dispositions of the lower animals (so called) and contrasting them with the traits and dispositions of man. I find the result humiliating to me.
I can always tell which is the front end of a horse, but beyond that, my art is not above the ordinary.
I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying that I approved of it.
I don't think there ever was a lazy man in this world. Every man has some sort of gift, and he prizes that gift beyond all others. He may be a professional billiard-player, or a Paderewski, or a poet--I don't care what it is. But whatever it is, he takes a native delight in exploiting that gift, and you will find it is difficult to beguile him away from it. Well, there are thousands of other interests occupying other men, but those interests don't appeal to the special tastes of the billiard champion or Paderewski. They are set down, therefore, as too lazy to do that or do this--to do, in short what they have no taste or inclination to do. In that sense, then I am phenomenally lazy. But when it comes to writing a book--I am not lazy. My family find it difficult to dig me out of my chair.
I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.
I can call back the solemn twilight and mystery of the deep woods, the earthy smells, the faint odors of the wild flowers, the sheen of rain-washed foliage, the rattling clatter of drops when the wind shook the trees, the far-off hammering of wood-peckers and the muffled drumming of wood-pheasants in the remotenesses of the forest, the snap-shot glimpses of disturbed wild creatures skurrying through the grass, ? I can call it all back and make it as real as it ever was, and as blessed. I can call back the prairie, and its loneliness and peace, and a vast hawk hanging motionless in the sky, with his wings spread wide and the blue of the vault showing through the fringe of their end-feathers.
I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.
I don't want no better book than what your face is.
I have found out that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.
I can help anyone get anything they want out of life. The only problem is that I can't find anyone who knows what they want.
I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.
I felt so lonesome I most wished I was dead. The stars were shining, and the leaves rustled in the woods ever so mournful; and I heard an owl, away off, who-whooing about somebody that was dead, and a whippowill and a dog crying about somebody that was going to die;
I have found solace in profanity unexcelled even by prayer.
I can live for two months on a good compliment.
I do not like an injurious lie, except when it injures somebody else.
I find that principles have no real force except when one is well fed.
I have made it a rule never to smoke more than one cigar at a time. It has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep, and never to refrain when awake.
I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can't find anybody who can tell me what they want.
I do not like work even when someone else does it.