American Writer, Humorist
Mark Twain, pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens
American Writer, Humorist
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.
I am always reading immoral books on the sly, and then selfishly trying to prevent other people from having the same wicked good time.
Health is a habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.
Homely truth is unpalatable.
Human nature appears to be just the same, all over the world.
I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.
Heaven for climate, Hell for society.
Homer, in the second book of the Iliad says with fine enthusiasm, Give me masturbation or give me death. Caesar, in his Commentaries, says, ?To the lonely it is company; to the forsaken it is a friend; to the aged and to the impotent it is a benefactor. They that are penniless are yet rich, in that they still have this majestic diversion.? In another place this experienced observer has said, ?There are times when I prefer it to sodomy.? Robinson Crusoe says, ?I cannot describe what I owe to this gentle art.? Queen Elizabeth said, ?It is the bulwark of virginity.? Cetewayo, the Zulu hero, remarked, ?A jerk in the hand is worth two in the bush.? The immortal Franklin has said, ?Masturbation is the best policy.? Michelangelo and all of the other old masters--old masters, I will remark, is an abbreviation, a contraction--have used similar language. Michelangelo said to Pope Julius II, ?Self-negation is noble, self-culture beneficent, self-possession is manly, but to the truly great and inspiring soul they are poor and tame compared with self-abuse.? Mr. Brown, here, in one of his latest and most graceful poems, refers to it in an eloquent line which is destined to live to the end of time??None knows it but to love it; none name it but to praise.?
Human nature is all alike.
I am as prompt as a clock, if I only know the day a thing is wanted?otherwise I am a natural procrastinaturalist.
He listened some more; then he come tiptoeing down and stood right between us; we could a touched him, nearly. Well, likely it was minutes and minutes that there warn't a sound, and we all there so close together. There was a place on my ankle that got to itching, but I dasn't scratch it; and then my ear begun to itch; and next my back, right between my shoulders. Seemed like I'd die if I couldn't scratch. Well, I've noticed that thing plenty times since. If you are with the quality, or at a funeral, or trying to go to sleep when you ain't sleepy?if you are anywheres where it won't do for you to scratch, why you will itch all over in upwards of a thousand places. Pretty soon Jim says: