American Writer, Humorist
Mark Twain, pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens
American Writer, Humorist
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.
I am persuaded that in Russia, Austria, and Germany nine-tenths of the hostility to the Jew comes from the average Christian's inability to compete successfully with the average Jew in business--in either straight business or the questionable sort.
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.