American Writer, Humorist
Mark Twain, pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens
American Writer, Humorist
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.
I find that the further I go back, the better things were, whether they happened or not.
I have my values, and if you don't like them, well I've got some others.
I cannot keep from talking, even at the risk of being instructive.
I do not take any credit to my better-balanced head because I never went crazy on Presbyterianism. We go too slow for that. You never see us ranting and shouting and tearing up the ground, You never heard of a Presbyterian going crazy on religion. Notice us, and you will see how we do. We get up of a Sunday morning and put on the best harness we have got and trip cheerfully down town; we subside into solemnity and enter the church; we stand up and duck our heads and bear down on a hymn book propped on the pew in front when the minister prays; we stand up again while our hired choir are singing, and look in the hymn book and check off the verses to see that they don't shirk any of the stanzas; we sit silent and grave while the minister is preaching, and count the waterfalls and bonnets furtively, and catch flies; we grab our hats and bonnets when the benediction is begun; when it is finished, we shove, so to speak. No frenzy, no fanaticism --no skirmishing; everything perfectly serene. You never see any of us Presbyterians getting in a sweat about religion and trying to massacre the neighbors. Let us all be content with the tried and safe old regular religions, and take no chances on wildcat.
I find that, as a rule, when a thing is a wonder to us it is not because of what we see in it, but because of what others have seen in it. We get almost all our wonders at second hand.