American Writer, Humorist
Mark Twain, pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens
American Writer, Humorist
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.
I have never heard enough classical music to be able to enjoy it; and the simple truth is, I detest it. Not mildly, but will all my heart. To me an opera is the very climax and cap-stone of the absurd, the fantastic the unjustifiable. I hate the very name of opera - partly because of the nights of suffering I have endured in its presence, and partly because I want to love it and can't.
He was sunshine most always-I mean he made it seem like good weather.
His money is twice tainted: taint yours and taint mine.
How often we recall with regret that Napoleon once shot at a magazine editor and missed him and killed a publisher. But we remember with charity that his intentions were good.
I am a border-ruffian from the State of Missouri. I am a Connecticut Yankee by adoption. In me, you have Missouri morals, Connecticut culture; this, gentlemen, is the combination which makes the perfect man.
He well knew the futility of trying to contend against witches, so he gave up discouraged. But it occurred to him that he might as well have the marble he had just thrown away, and therefore he went and made a patient search for it. But he could not find it. Now he went back to his treasure-house and carefully placed himself just as he had been standing when he tossed the marble away; then he took another marble from his pocket and tossed it in the same way, saying: Brother, go find your brother! He watched where it stopped, and went there and looked. But it must have fallen short or gone too far; so he tried twice more. The last repetition was successful. The two marbles lay within a foot of each other.
His wife, Electra, was a capable helpmeet, although?like himself? a dreamer of dreams and a private dabbler in romance. The first thing she did, after her marriage?child as she was, aged only nineteen? was to buy an acre of ground on the edge of the town, and pay down the cash for it?twenty-five dollars, all her fortune. Saladin had less, by fifteen. She instituted a vegetable garden there, got it farmed on shares by the nearest neighbor, and made it pay her a hundred per cent. a year. Out of Saladin's first year's wage she put thirty dollars in the savings-bank, sixty out of his second, a hundred out of his third, a hundred and fifty out of his fourth. His wage went to eight hundred a year, then, and meantime two children had arrived and increased the expenses, but she banked two hundred a year from the salary, nevertheless, thenceforth. When she had been married seven years she built and furnished a pretty and comfortable two-thousand-dollar house in the midst of her garden-acre, paid half of the money down and moved her family in. Seven years later she was out of debt and had several hundred dollars out earning its living.
How you can win the population for war: At first, the statesman will invent cheap lying, that impute the guilt of the attacked nation, and each person will be happy over this deceit that calm the conscience. It will study it detailed and refuse to test arguments of the other opinion. So he will convince step for step even there from that the war is just and thank God, that he, after this process of grotesque even deceit, can sleep better.
I am a democrat only on principle, not by instinct - nobody is that. Doubtless some people say they are, but this world is grievously given to lying.
He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.
History is strewn thick with evidence that a truth is not hard to kill, but a lie, well told, is immortal.
Howells applauded, and was full of praises and endorsement, which was wise in him and judicious. If he had manifested a different spirit I would have thrown him out of the window. I like criticism, but it must be my way. [William Dean Howells]
I am a great and sublime fool. But then I am God's fool, and all His works must be contemplated with respect.
He would be a consul no doubt by and by, at some foreign port, of the language of which he was ignorant; though if ignorance of language were a qualification he might have been a consul at home.
History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme a lot.
Huck was always willing to take a hand in any enterprise that offered entertainment and required no capital, for he had a troublesome super-abundance of that sort of time which is not money.
I am admonished in many ways that time is pushing me inexorably along. I am approaching the threshold of age; in 1977 I shall be 142. This is no time to be flitting about the earth. I must cease from the activities proper to youth and begin to take on the dignities and gravities and inertia proper to that season of honorable senility which is on its way.
He would now have comprehended that work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and that play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do. And this would help him to understand why constructing artificial flowers or performing on a tread-mill, is work, whilst rolling nine-pins or climbing Mont Blanc is only amusement. There are wealthy gentlemen in England who drive four-horse passenger-coaches twenty or thirty miles on a daily line, in the summer, because the privilege costs them considerable money; but if they were offered wages for the service that would turn it into work, than they would resign.
History teaches us that whenever a weak and ignorant people possess a thing which a strong and enlightened people want, it must be yielded up peaceably.
Human beings can be awful cruel to one another.