American Writer, Humorist
Mark Twain, pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens
American Writer, Humorist
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.
He was a very inferior farmer when he first begun . . . and he is now fast rising from affluence to poverty.
His hair was short and parted accurately in the middle, and he had all the look of an American person who would be likely to begin his signature with an initial, and spell his middle name out.
How blind and unreasoning and arbitrary are some of the laws of nature - the most of them, in fact!
I admire the serene assurance of those who have religious faith. It is wonderful to observe the calm confidence of a Christian with four aces.
I am not one of those who in expressing opinions confine themselves to facts.
He was endowed with a stupidity which by the least little stretch would go around the globe four times and tie.
His head was an hour-glass; it could stow an idea, but it had to do it a grain at a time, not the whole idea at once.
How can we expect another to keep our secret if we have been unable to keep it ourselves?
I admit that I treed a rheumatic grandfather of mine in the winter of 1850. He was old and inexpert in climbing trees, but with the heartless brutality that is characteristic of me I ran him out of the front door in his night-shirt at the point of a shotgun, and caused him to bowl up a maple tree, where he remained all night, while I emptied shot into his legs. I did this because he snored. I will do it again if I ever have another grandfather.
I am only human, although I regret it.
He was ignorant of the commonest accomplishments of youth. He could not even lie.
His heaven is like himself: strange, interesting, astonishing, grotesque. I give you my word, it has not a single feature in it that he actually values. It consists ? utterly and entirely ? of diversions which he cares next to nothing about, here in the earth, yet is quite sure he will like them in heaven. Isn?t it curious?
How empty is theory in the presence of fact.
I always did hate for anyone to know what my plans or hopes or prospects were?for, if I kept people in ignorance in these matters, no one could be disappointed but myself, if they were not realized.
I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.
He was such a good man that people hated to see him coming.
His ignorance covered the whole earth like a blanket, and there was hardly a hole in it anywhere.
How little a thing can make us happy when we feel that we have earned it.
I always take Scotch whiskey at night as a preventive of toothache. I have never had the toothache; and what is more, I never intend to have it.