Kindness Mark Twain Quotes

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Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
Mark Twain
I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.
Mark Twain
She was not quite what you would call refined. She was not quite what you would call unrefined. She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot.
Mark Twain
No matter how old you are now. You are never too young or too old for success or going after what you want. Here’s a short list of people who accomplished great things at different ages 1) Helen Keller, at the age of 19 months, became deaf and blind. But that didn’t stop her. She was the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. 2) Mozart was already competent on keyboard and violin; he composed from the age of 5. 3) Shirley Temple was 6 when she became a movie star on “Bright Eyes.” 4) Anne Frank was 12 when she wrote the diary of Anne Frank. 5) Magnus Carlsen became a chess Grandmaster at the age of 13. 6) Nadia Comăneci was a gymnast from Romania that scored seven perfect 10.0 and won three gold medals at the Olympics at age 14. 7) Tenzin Gyatso was formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama in November 1950, at the age of 15. 8) Pele, a soccer superstar, was 17 years old when he won the world cup in 1958 with Brazil. 9) Elvis was a superstar by age 19. 10) John Lennon was 20 years and Paul Mcartney was 18 when the Beatles had their first concert in 1961. 11) Jesse Owens was 22 when he won 4 gold medals in Berlin 1936. 12) Beethoven was a piano virtuoso by age 23 13) Issac Newton wrote Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica at age 24 14) Roger Bannister was 25 when he broke the 4 minute mile record 15) Albert Einstein was 26 when he wrote the theory of relativity 16) Lance E. Armstrong was 27 when he won the tour de France 17) Michelangelo created two of the greatest sculptures “David” and “Pieta” by age 28 18) Alexander the Great, by age 29, had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world 19) J.K. Rowling was 30 years old when she finished the first manuscript of Harry Potter 20) Amelia Earhart was 31 years old when she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean 21) Oprah was 32 when she started her talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind 22) Edmund Hillary was 33 when he became the first man to reach Mount Everest 23) Martin Luther King Jr. was 34 when he wrote the speech “I Have a Dream." 24) Marie Curie was 35 years old when she got nominated for a Nobel Prize in Physics 25) The Wright brothers, Orville (32) and Wilbur (36) invented and built the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight 26) Vincent Van Gogh was 37 when he died virtually unknown, yet his paintings today are worth millions. 27) Neil Armstrong was 38 when he became the first man to set foot on the moon. 28) Mark Twain was 40 when he wrote "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", and 49 years old when he wrote "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" 29) Christopher Columbus was 41 when he discovered the Americas 30) Rosa Parks was 42 when she refused to obey the bus driver’s order to give up her seat to make room for a white passenger 31) John F. Kennedy was 43 years old when he became President of the United States 32) Henry Ford Was 45 when the Ford T came out. 33) Suzanne Collins was 46 when she wrote "The Hunger Games" 34) Charles Darwin was 50 years old when his book On the Origin of Species came out. 35) Leonardo Da Vinci was 51 years old when he painted the Mona Lisa. 36) Abraham Lincoln was 52 when he became president. 37) Ray Kroc Was 53 when he bought the McDonalds Franchise and took it to unprecedented levels. 38) Dr. Seuss was 54 when he wrote "The Cat in the Hat". 40) Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III was 57 years old when he successfully ditched US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in 2009. All of the 155 passengers aboard the aircraft survived 41) Colonel Harland Sanders was 61 when he started the KFC Franchise 42) J.R.R Tolkien was 62 when the Lord of the Ring books came out 43) Ronald Reagan was 69 when he became President of the US 44) Jack Lalane at age 70 handcuffed, shackled, towed 70 rowboats 45) Nelson Mandela was 76 when he became President
Pablo
The common eye sees only the outside of things, and judges by that, but the seeing eye pierces through and reads the heart and the soul, finding there capacities which the outside didn't indicate or promise, and which the other kind of eye couldn't detect.
Mark Twain (Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc)
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that but the really great make you feel that you too can become great. When you are seeking to bring big plans to fruition it is important with whom you regularly associate. Hang out with friends who are like-minded and who are also designing purpose-filled lives. Similarly be that kind of a friend for your friends.
Mark Twain
It is higher and nobler to be kind.
Mark Twain
My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its officeholders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death.
Mark Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court)
But death was sweet, death was gentle, death was kind; death healed the bruised spirit and the broken heart, and gave them rest and forgetfulness; death was man’s best friend; when man could endure life no longer, death came and set him free.
Mark Twain
What a curious kind of fool a girl is. Never been licked in school. What's a licking?
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer)
Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and calm pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out... and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel.... And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for the universal brotherhood of man with his mouth.
Mark Twain
When even the brightest mind in our world has been trained up from childhood in a superstition of any kind, it will never be possible for that mind, in its maturity, to examine sincerely, dispassionately, and conscientiously any evidence or any circumstance which shall seem to cast a doubt upon the validity of that superstition. I doubt if I could do it myself.
Mark Twain (The Autobiography of Mark Twain)
Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.
Mark Twain
We catched fish, and talked, and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness. It was kind of solemn, drifting down the big still river, laying on our backs looking up at the stars, and we didn’t ever feel like talking loud, and it warn’t often that we laughed, only a kind of low chuckle. We had mighty good weather, as a general thing, and nothing ever happened to us at all, that night, nor the next, nor the next.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
There are two kinds of patriotism -- monarchical patriotism and republican patriotism. In the one case the government and the king may rightfully furnish you their notions of patriotism; in the other, neither the government nor the entire nation is privileged to dictate to any individual what the form of his patriotism shall be. The gospel of the monarchical patriotism is: "The King can do no wrong." We have adopted it with all its servility, with an unimportant change in the wording: "Our country, right or wrong!" We have thrown away the most valuable asset we had:-- the individual's right to oppose both flag and country when he (just he, by himself) believed them to be in the wrong. We have thrown it away; and with it all that was really respectable about that grotesque and laughable word, Patriotism.
Mark Twain
There are more chickens than a man can know in this world, but an unprovoked kindness is the rarest of birds.
Mark Twain (The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine)
You know that kind of quiver that trembles around through you when you are seeing something so strange and enchanting and wonderful that it is just a fearful joy to be alive and look at it; and you know how you gaze, and your lips turn dry and your breath comes short, but you wouldn't be anywhere but there, not for the world.
Mark Twain (The Mysterious Stranger and Other Stories)
My experience of men had long ago taught me that one of the surest ways of begetting an enemy was to do some stranger an act of kindness which should lay upon him the irritating sense of an obligation.
Mark Twain (Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1: The Complete and Authoritative Edition)
Then the old man got to cussing, and cussed everything and everybody he could think of, and then cussed them all over again to make sure he hadn't skipped any, and after that he polished off with a kind of a general cuss all round, including a considerable parcel of people which he didn't know the names of, and so called them what's-his-name, when he got to them, and went right along with his cussing.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
It didn't take me long to make up my mind that these liars warn't no kings nor dukes at all, but just low-down humbugs and frauds. But I never said nothing, never let on; kept it to myself; it's the best way; then you don't have no quarrels, and don't get into no trouble. If they wanted us to call them kings and dukes, I hadn't no objections, 'long as it would keep peace in the family; and it warn't no use to tell Jim, so I didn't tell him. If I never learnt nothing else out of pap, I learnt that the best way to get along with his kind of people is to let them have their own way.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
The world is beautiful and dangerous, and joyful and sad, and ungrateful and giving, and full of so, so many things. The world is new and it is old. It is big and it is small. The world is fierce and it is kind, and we, every one of us, are in it.
Mark Twain
For he did not seem to know any way to do a person a kindness but by killing him.
Mark Twain (The Mysterious Stranger)
It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray, and see if I couldn't try to quit being the kind of a boy I was and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn't come. Why wouldn't they? It warn't no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from ME, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn't come. It was because my heart warn't right; it was because I warn't square; it was because I was playing double. I was letting ON to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my mouth SAY I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and write to that nigger's owner and tell where he was; but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie, and He knowed it. You can't pray a lie--I found that out. So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and didn't know what to do. At last I had an idea; and I says, I'll go and write the letter--and then see if I can pray. Why, it was astonishing, the way I felt as light as a feather right straight off, and my troubles all gone. So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all glad and excited, and set down and wrote: Miss Watson, your runaway nigger Jim is down here two mile below Pikesville, and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up for the reward if you send. HUCK FINN. I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn't do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking--thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn't seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I'd see him standing my watch on top of his'n, 'stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the ONLY one he's got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper. It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: "All right, then, I'll GO to hell"--and tore it up.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
A feud is this way: A man has a quarrel with another man, and kills him; then that other man's brother kills him; then the other brothers, on both sides, goes for one another; then the cousins chip in -- and by and by everybody's killed off, and there ain't no more feud. But it's kind of slow, and takes a long time.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
I reckon the widow or the parson or somebody prayed that this bread would find me, and here it have gone and done it. So there ain't no doubt but there is something in that thing. That is, there's something in it when a body like the widow or the parson prays, but it don't work for me, and I reckon it don't work for only just the right kind.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. Mark Twain
Christie Watson (The Language of Kindness: A Nurse's Story)
It would ’a’ been a miserable business to have any unfriendliness on the raft; for what you want, above all things, on a raft, is for everybody to be satisfied, and feel right and kind towards the others.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made, or only just happened - Jim he allowed they was made, but I allowed they happened; I judged it would have took too long to make so many. Jim said the moon could a laid them; well that looked kind of reasonable, so I didn't say nothing against it, because I've seen a frog lay most as many, so of course It could be done.
Mark Twain
I said, "Don't do nothing of the kind; it's one of the most jackass ideas I ever struck;
Mark Twain (Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
They mourned for his kind of Christianity, and he frankly scoffed at theirs; but both parties went on loving each other just the same.
Mark Twain
Camomille: Fallible men write books. God writes in sunlight and rivers and planets. Isn't the Universe a good book? I trust it above the printed kind.
Mark Siegel (Sailor Twain: Or: The Mermaid in the Hudson)
To be great, truly great, you have to be the kind of person who makes the others around you great.
Mark Twain
I know your race. It is made up of sheep. It is governed by minorities, seldom or never by majorities. It suppresses its feelings and its beliefs and follows the handful that makes the most noise. Sometimes the noisy handful is right, sometimes wrong; but no matter, the crowd follows it. The vast majority of the race, whether savage or civilized, are secretly kind-hearted and shrink from inflicting pain, but in the presence of the aggressive and pitiless minority they don't dare to assert themselves. Think of it! One kind-hearted creature spies upon another, and sees to it that he loyally helps in iniquities which revolt both of them. Speaking as an expert, I know that ninety- nine out of a hundred of your race were strongly against the killing of witches when that foolishness was first agitated by a handful of pious lunatics in the long ago. And I know that even to-day, after ages of transmitted prejudice and silly teaching, only one person in twenty puts any real heart into the harrying of a witch. And yet apparently everybody hates witches and wants them killed. Some day a handful will rise up on the other side and make the most noise--perhaps even a single daring man with a big voice and a determined front will do it--and in a week all the sheep will wheel and follow him, and witch-hunting will come to a sudden end. Monarchies, aristocracies, and religions are all based upon that large defect in your race--the individual's distrust of his neighbor, and his desire, for safety's or comfort's sake, to stand well in his neighbor's eye. These institutions will always remain, and always flourish, and always oppress you, affront you, and degrade you, because you will always be and remain slaves of minorities. There was never a country where the majority of the people were in their secret hearts loyal to any of these institutions.
Mark Twain (The Mysterious Stranger)
Well, I will tell you, and you must understand if you can. You belong to a singular race. Every man is a suffering-machine and a happiness- machine combined. The two functions work together harmoniously, with a fine and delicate precision, on the give-and-take principle. For every happiness turned out in the one department the other stands ready to modify it with a sorrow or a pain--maybe a dozen. In most cases the man's life is about equally divided between happiness and unhappiness. When this is not the case the unhappiness predominates--always; never the other. Sometimes a man's make and disposition are such that his misery- machine is able to do nearly all the business. Such a man goes through life almost ignorant of what happiness is. Everything he touches, everything he does, brings a misfortune upon him. You have seen such people? To that kind of a person life is not an advantage, is it? It is only a disaster. Sometimes for an hour's happiness a man's machinery makes him pay years of misery. Don't you know that? It happens every now and then.
Mark Twain (The Mysterious Stranger)
Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. Mark Twain
Casey Watson (Just a Boy: An Inspiring and Heartwarming True Story)
If I never learnt nothing else out of pap, I learnt that the best way to get along with his kind of people is to let them have their own way.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
Bring people together, and they'll awaken to their common humanity. A similar thought led Mark Twain to quip, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.
Jamil Zaki (The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World)
Mary Jane she set at the head of the table, with Susan alongside of her, and said how bad the biscuits was, and how mean the preserves was, and how ornery and tough the fried chickens was—and all that kind of rot, the way women always do for to force out compliments; and the people all knowed everything was tiptop, and said so—said 'How do you get biscuits to brown so nice?' and 'Where, for the land's sake, did you get these amaz'n pickles?' and all that kind of humbug talky-talk, just the way people always does at a supper, you know.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
Then pretty soon Sherburn sort of laughed; not the pleasant kind, but the kind that makes you feel like when you are eating bread that's got sand in it.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
In a barrel of odds and ends it is different; things get mixed up, and the juice kind of swaps around, and the things go better.
Mark Twain (Huckleberry Finn)
She was not quite what you would call refined. She was not quite what you would call unrefined. She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot.
Mark Twain
He denounced him openly as a charlatan--a fraud with no valuable knowledge of any kind, or powers beyond those of an ordinary and rather inferior human being.
Mark Twain (The Mysterious Stranger)
I never learnt nothing else out of pap, I learnt that the best way to get along with his kind of people is to let them have their own way.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.
Mark Twain
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. —MARK TWAIN Kindness transcends the boundaries of language, sickness, or disability. It is a universal human gift we all have to give and receive so don’t waste it. Goal: Be kind to a stranger today.
Demi Lovato (Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year)
You see my kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its officeholders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease and death. To be loyal to rags, to shout for rags, to worship rags, to die for rags -- that is loyalty of unreason, it is pure animal.
Mark Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court)
Of all the various kinds of sexual intercourse, this has the least to recommend it. As an amusement, it is too fleeting; as an occupation, it is too wearing; as a public exhibition, there is no money in it. It is unsuited to the drawing room, and in the most cultured society it has long been banished from the social board. It has at last, in our day of progress and improvement, been degraded to brotherhood with flatulence. Among the best bred, these two arts are now indulged in only private--though by consent of the whole company, when only males are present, it is still permissible, in good society, to remove the embargo on the fundamental sigh.
Mark Twain (On Masturbation)
It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray, and see if I couldn't try to quit being the kind of a boy I was and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn't come. Why wouldn't they? It warn't no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from ME, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn't come. It was because my heart warn't right; it was because I warn't square; it was because I was playing double. I was letting ON to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my mouth SAY I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and write to that nigger's owner and tell where he was; but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie, and He knowed it. You can't pray a lie--I found that out.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
My financial views are of the most decided character, but they are not likely, perhaps, to increase my popularity with the advocates of inflation. I do not insist upon the special supremacy of rag money or hard money. The great fundamental principle of my life is to take any kind I can get.
Mark Twain (A Presidential Candidate)
In your country and mine we should have the privilege of making fun of this kind of morality, but it would be unkind to do it here.Many of these people have the reasoning faculty, but no one uses it in religious matters.
Mark Twain
little smoke couldn't be noticed now, so we would take some fish off of the lines and cook up a hot breakfast. And afterwards we would watch the lonesomeness of the river, and kind of lazy along, and by and by lazy off to sleep.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
It was pitiful for a person born in a wholesome free atmosphere to listen to their humble and hearty outpourings of loyalty toward their king and Church and nobility; as if they had any more occasion to love and honor king and Church and noble than a slave has to love and honor the lash, or a dog has to love and honor the stranger that kicks him! Why, dear me, ANY kind of royalty, howsoever modified, ANY kind of aristocracy, howsoever pruned, is rightly an insult; but if you are born and brought up under that sort of arrangement you probably never find it out for yourself, and don't believe it when somebody else tells you. It is enough to make a body ashamed of his race to think of the sort of froth that has always occupied its thrones without shadow of right or reason, and the seventh-rate people that have always figured as its aristocracies -- a company of monarchs and nobles who, as a rule, would have achieved only poverty and obscurity if left, like their betters, to their own exertions... The truth was, the nation as a body was in the world for one object, and one only: to grovel before king and Church and noble; to slave for them, sweat blood for them, starve that they might be fed, work that they might play, drink misery to the dregs that they might be happy, go naked that they might wear silks and jewels, pay taxes that they might be spared from paying them, be familiar all their lives with the degrading language and postures of adulation that they might walk in pride and think themselves the gods of this world. And for all this, the thanks they got were cuffs and contempt; and so poor-spirited were they that they took even this sort of attention as an honor.
Mark Twain
As soon as I had believed that financial security purchased emotional security, I'd lived a dependent, conditional life. Now I realize that rather than mortgage myself for a dream life on a layaway plan, I prefer the rather nice kind of life I've stumbled into. My desire for a double oven has less to do with signaling that I belong to a certain class or have reached a type of perfection and more to do with the fact that I haven't figured out how to make a pot roast and an apple pie at the same time. So I make the pie ahead of time and reheat it. I think it was Mark Twain who said, 'Happiness is wanting what you have, not having what you want.' I tell my kids this, hoping they will learn to balance the act of pursuing with the act of savoring.
Liz Perle (Money, A Memoir: Women, Emotions, and Cash)
When I got there it was all still and Sunday-like, and hot and sunshiny - the hands was gone to the fields; and there was them kind of faint dronings of bugs an flies in the air that makes it seem so lonesome and like everybody's dead and gone; and if a breeze fans along and quivers the leaves, it makes you feel mournful, because you feel like it's spirits whispering - spirits that's been dead ever so many years - and you always think they're talking about you.
Mark Twain
When analytic thought, the knife, is applied to experience, something is always killed in the process. That is fairly well understood, at least in the arts. Mark Twain’s experience comes to mind, in which, after he had mastered the analytic knowledge needed to pilot the Mississippi River, he discovered the river had lost its beauty. Something is always killed. But what is less noticed in the arts—something is always created too. And instead of just dwelling on what is killed it’s important also to see what’s created and to see the process as a kind of death-birth continuity that is neither good nor bad, but just is.
Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)
Mornings before daylight I slipped into cornfields and borrowed a watermelon, or a mushmelon, or a punkin, or some new corn, or things of that kind. Pap always said it warn’t no harm to borrow things if you was meaning to pay them back some time; but the widow said it warn’t anything but a soft name for stealing, and no decent body would do it.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
My, you ought to seen old Henry the Eight when he was in bloom. He was a blossom. He used to marry a new wife every day, and chop off her head next morning. And he would do it just as indifferent as if he was ordering up eggs. 'Fetch up Nell Gwynn,' he says. They fetch her up. Next morning, 'Chop off her head!' And they chop it off. 'Fetch up Jane Shore,' he says; and up she comes, Next morning, 'Chop off her head'—and they chop it off. 'Ring up Fair Rosamun.' Fair Rosamun answers the bell. Next morning, 'Chop off her head.' And he made every one of them tell him a tale every night; and he kept that up till he had hogged a thousand and one tales that way, and then he put them all in a book, and called it Domesday Book—which was a good name and stated the case. You don't know kings, Jim, but I know them; and this old rip of ourn is one of the cleanest I've struck in history. Well, Henry he takes a notion he wants to get up some trouble with this country. How does he go at it—give notice?—give the country a show? No. All of a sudden he heaves all the tea in Boston Harbor overboard, and whacks out a declaration of independence, and dares them to come on. That was his style—he never give anybody a chance. He had suspicions of his father, the Duke of Wellington. Well, what did he do? Ask him to show up? No—drownded him in a butt of mamsey, like a cat. S'pose people left money laying around where he was—what did he do? He collared it. S'pose he contracted to do a thing, and you paid him, and didn't set down there and see that he done it—what did he do? He always done the other thing. S'pose he opened his mouth—what then? If he didn't shut it up powerful quick he'd lose a lie every time. That's the kind of a bug Henry was; and if we'd a had him along 'stead of our kings he'd a fooled that town a heap worse than ourn done. I don't say that ourn is lambs, because they ain't, when you come right down to the cold facts; but they ain't nothing to that old ram, anyway. All I say is, kings is kings, and you got to make allowances. Take them all around, they're a mighty ornery lot. It's the way they're raised.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." ~ Mark Twain
Bliss Addison
That kind of so-called housekeeping where they have six Bibles and no cork-screw.
Mark Twain
A kindly courtesy does at least save one’s feelings, even if it is not professing to stand for a welcome.
Mark Twain (Pudd'nhead Wilson)
The moment I got a chance I slipped aside privately and touched an ancient common looking man on the shoulder and said, in an insinuating, confidential way: "Friend, do me a kindness. Do you belong to the asylum, or are you just on a visit or something like that?" He looked me over stupidly, and said: "Marry, fair sir, me seemeth—" "That will do," I said; "I reckon you are a patient.
Mark Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court)
The idea of you lynching anybody! It's amusing. The idea of you thinking you had pluck enough to lynch a man! Because you're brave enough to tar and feather poor friendless cast-out women that come along here, did that make you think you had grit enough to lay your hands on a man? Why, a man's safe in the hands of ten thousand of your kind - as long as it's day-time and you're not behind him.
Mark Twain
Lovely as he was, Satan could be cruelly offensive when he chose; and he always chose when the human race was brought to his attention. He always turned up his nose at it, and never had a kind word for it.
Mark Twain (The Mysterious Stranger)
Life was not a valuable gift, but death was. Life was a fever-dream made up of joys embittered by sorrows, pleasure poisoned by pain; a dream that was a nightmare-confusion of spasmodic and fleeting delights, ecstasies, exultations, happinesses, interspersed with long-drawn miseries, griefs, perils, horrors, disappointments, defeats,humiliations, and despairs--the heaviest curse devisable by divine ingenuity; but death was sweet, death was gentle, death was kind; death healed the bruised spirit and the broken heart, and gave them rest and forgetfulness; death was man's best friend; when man could endure life no longer, death came and set him free.
Mark Twain (Letters from the Earth: Uncensored Writings)
this dreadful matter brought from these downtrodden people no outburst of rage against these oppressors.  They had been heritors and subjects of cruelty and outrage so long that nothing could have startled them but a kindness.
Mark Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court)
IN the morning we went up to the village and bought a wire rat-trap and fetched it down, and unstopped the best rat-hole, and in about an hour we had fifteen of the bulliest kind of ones; and then we took it and put it in a safe place under Aunt Sally's bed. But while we was gone for spiders little Thomas Franklin Benjamin Jefferson Elexander Phelps found it there, and opened the door of it to see if the rats would come out, and they did; and Aunt Sally she come in, and when we got back she was a- standing on top of the bed raising Cain, and the rats was doing what they could to keep off the dull times for her. So she took and dusted us both with the hickry, and we was as much as two hours catching another fifteen or sixteen, drat that meddlesome cub, and they warn't the likeliest, nuther, because the first haul was the pick of the flock. I never see a likelier lot of rats than what that first haul was.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
The Germans have another kind of parenthesis, which they make by splitting a verb in two and putting half of it at the beginning of an exciting chapter and the other half at the end of it. Can any one conceive of anything more confusing than that? These things are called "separable verbs." The German grammar is blistered all over with separable verbs; and the wider the two portions of one of them are spread apart, the better the author of the crime is pleased with his performance.
Mark Twain
The world is beautiful and dangerous, and joyful and said, and ungrateful and giving, and full of so, so many things. The world is new and it is old. It is big and it is small. The world is fierce and it is kind, and we, every one us, are in it.
Mark Twain
You can see by these things that she was of a rather vain and frivolous character; still, she had virtues, and enough to make up, I think. She had a kind heart and gentle ways, and never harbored resentments for injuries done her, but put them easily out of her mind and forgot them; and she taught her children her kindly way, and from her we learned also to be brave and prompt in time of danger, and not to run away, but face the peril that threatened friend or stranger, and help him the best we could without stopping to think what the cost might be to us. And she taught us not by words only, but by example, and that is the best way and the surest and the most lasting. Why, the brave things she did, the splendid things! she was just a soldier; and so modest about it—well, you couldn't help admiring her, and you couldn't help imitating her; not even a King Charles spaniel could remain entirely despicable in her society. So, as you see, there was more to her than her education.
Mark Twain (A Dog's Tale)
You see my kind of loyalty was loyalty to one’s country, not to its institutions or its officeholders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are
Mark Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court)
It is cheering to find a newspaper of the great influence and circulation of the Journal that tells the facts as they exist, and ignores the suggestions of various kinds that emanate from sources that cannot be described as patriotic or loyal to the flag.
Stephen Kinzer (The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire)
He put his foot on it, and lifted one of the sleeves out with his teeth, and chewed and chewed at it, gradually taking it in, and all the while opening and closing his eyes in a kind of religious ecstasy, as if he had never tasted anything as good as an overcoat before, in his life.
Mark Twain (Roughing It)
One day, riding along, we were talking about Joan's great talents, and he said, 'But, greatest of all her gifts, she has the seeing eye.' I said, like an unthinking fool, 'The seeing eye?—I shouldn't count on that for much—I suppose we all have it.' 'No,' he said; 'very few have it.' Then he explained, and made his meaning clear. He said the common eye sees only the outside of things, and judges by that, but the seeing eye pierces through and reads the heart and the soul, finding there capacities which the outside didn't indicate or promise, and which the other kind of eye couldn't detect.
Mark Twain (Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc - Vol I)
It is most difficult to understand the disposition of the Bible God, it is such a confusion of contradictions; of watery instabilities and iron firmness; of goody-goody abstract morals made out of words, and concreted hell-born ones made out of acts; of fleeting kindness repented of in permanent malignities.
Mark Twain (The Complete Works of Mark Twain: The Novels, Short Stories, Essays and Satires, Travel Writing, Non-Fiction, the Complete Letters, the Complete Speeches, and the Autobiography of Mark Twain)
The Germans have another kind of parenthesis, which they make by splitting a verb in two and putting half of it at the beginning of an exciting chapter and the other half at the end of it. Can any one conceive of anything more confusing than that? These things are called “separable verbs.” The German grammar is blistered all over with separable verbs; and the wider the two portions of one of them are spread apart, the better the author of the crime is pleased with his performance. A favorite one is reiste ab—which means departed. Here is an example which I culled from a novel and reduced to English: “The trunks being now ready, he de- after kissing his mother and sisters, and once more pressing to his bosom his adored Gretchen, who, dressed in simple white muslin, with a single tuberose in the ample folds of her rich brown hair, had tottered feebly down the stairs, still pale from the terror and excitement of the past evening, but longing to lay her poor aching head yet once again upon the breast of him whom she loved more dearly than life itself, parted.” However, it is not well to dwell too much on the separable verbs. One is sure to lose his temper early; and if he sticks to the subject, and will not be warned, it will at last either soften his brain or petrify it. Personal pronouns and adjectives are a fruitful nuisance in this language, and should have been left out. For instance, the same sound, sie, means you, and it means she, and it means her, and it means it, and it means they, and it means them. Think of the ragged poverty of a language which has to make one word do the work of six—and a poor little weak thing of only three letters at that. But mainly, think of the exasperation of never knowing which of these meanings the speaker is trying to convey. This explains why, whenever a person says sie to me, I generally try to kill him, if a stranger.
Mark Twain (A Tramp Abroad)
I should not be able to make any one understand how exciting it all was. You know that kind of quiver that trembles around through you when you are seeing something so strange and enchanting and wonderful that it is just a fearful joy to be alive and look at it; and you know how you gaze, and your lips turn dry and your breath comes short, but you wouldn't be anywhere but there, not for the world.
Mark Twain (The Mysterious Stranger)
I really can't say which of the American classics you should read. In fact, I think about as much of the notion of "classic" as you do, but at least the literary critics who compile those lists have a good sense of humor. How else can you explain them adding Mark Twain's wonderful books to their lists, given his view that "a classic is something everybody wants to have read, but no one wants to read"? Unless it's some kind of disguised jibe, but they surely can't be that petty. Though I don't think that justice is the main argument against classics list. Or rather, in a way it's clearly a question of justice, but not against those who don't make it. No, the books I feel sorry for are the ones they add to these lists. Take Mark Twain again. Once, when Tom was young, he came to me complaining that he had to read Huckleberry Finn for junior high. Huckleberry Finn! Our critics and educators have got a lot to answer for when they manage to make young boys see stories about rebellion and adventure and ballsiness as a chore. Do you understand what I mean? The real crime of these lists isn't that they leave deserving books off them, but that they make people see fantastic literary adventures as obligations.
Katarina Bivald (The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend)
He was a poet with a rough skin: one whose sturdiness was more the result of external circumstances than of intrinsic nature. Too kindly constituted to be very provident, he was yet not imprudent. He had a quiet humorousness of disposition, not out of keeping with a frequent melancholy, the general expression of his countenance being one of abstraction. Like Walt Whitman he felt as his years increased— 'I foresee too much; it means more than I thought.
Mark Twain (50 Mystery and Detective Masterpieces You Have to Read Before You Die, Vol.1)
And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn’t seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I’d see him standing my watch on top of his’n, ’stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the ONLY one he’s got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
They had been heritors and subjects of cruelty and outrage so long that nothing could have startled them but a kindness.  Yes, here was a curious revelation, indeed, of the depth to which this people had been sunk in slavery.  Their entire being was reduced to a monotonous dead level of patience, resignation, dumb uncomplaining acceptance of whatever might befall them in this life.  Their very imagination was dead.  When you can say that of a man, he has struck bottom, I reckon; there is no lower deep for him.
Mark Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court)
Satan!" "Oh, it's true. I know your race. It is made up of sheep. It is governed by minorities, seldom or never by majorities. It suppresses its feelings and its beliefs and follows the handful that makes the most noise. Sometimes the noisy handful is right, sometimes wrong; but no matter, the crowd follows it. The vast majority of the race, whether savage or civilized, are secretly kind-hearted and shrink from inflicting pain, but in the presence of the aggressive and pitiless minority they don't dare to assert themselves.
Mark Twain (The Mysterious Stranger)
All distances in the East are measured by hours, not miles. A good horse will walk three miles an hour over nearly any kind of a road; therefore, an hour, here, always stands for three miles. This method of computation is bothersome and annoying; and until one gets thoroughly accustomed to it, it carries no intelligence to his mind until he has stopped and translated the pagan hours into Christian miles, just as people do with the spoken words of a foreign language they are acquainted with, but not familiarly enough to catch the meaning in a moment. Distances traveled by human feet are also estimated by hours and minutes, though I do not know what the base of the calculation is. In Constantinople you ask, "How far is it to the Consulate?" and they answer, "About ten minutes." "How far is it to the Lloyds' Agency?" "Quarter of an hour." "How far is it to the lower bridge?" "Four minutes." I can not be positive about it, but I think that there, when a man orders a pair of pantaloons, he says he wants them a quarter of a minute in the legs and nine seconds around the waist.
Mark Twain (The Innocents Abroad)
The mere mention of a witch was almost enough to frighten us out of our wits. This was natural enough, because of late years there were more kinds of witches than there used to be; in old times it had been only old women, but of late years they were of all ages—even children of eight and nine; it was getting so that anybody might turn out to be a familiar of the Devil—age and sex hadn't anything to do with it. In our little region we had tried to extirpate the witches, but the more of them we burned the more of the breed rose up in their places.
Mark Twain (The Mysterious Stranger)
In Syria, once, at the head-waters of the Jordan, a camel took charge of my overcoat while the tents were being pitched, and examined it with a critical eye, all over, with as much interest as if he had an idea of getting one made like it; and then, after he was done figuring on it as an article of apparel, he began to contemplate it as an article of diet. He put his foot on it, and lifted one of the sleeves out with his teeth, and chewed and chewed at it, gradually taking it in, and all the while opening and closing his eyes in a kind of religious ecstasy, as if he had never tasted anything as good as
Mark Twain (Roughing It)
To wit, that this dreadful matter brought from these downtrodden people no outburst of rage against these oppressors.  They had been heritors and subjects of cruelty and outrage so long that nothing could have startled them but a kindness.  Yes, here was a curious revelation, indeed, of the depth to which this people had been sunk in slavery.  Their entire being was reduced to a monotonous dead level of patience, resignation, dumb uncomplaining acceptance of whatever might befall them in this life.  Their very imagination was dead.  When you can say that of a man, he has struck bottom, I reckon; there is no lower deep for him.
Mark Twain (Complete Works of Mark Twain)
had gradually come to have a realizing sense of the fact that Slade was a man whose heart and hands and soul were steeped in the blood of offenders against his dignity; a man who awfully avenged all injuries, affront, insults or slights, of whatever kind—on the spot if he could, years afterward if lack of earlier opportunity compelled it; a man whose hate tortured him day and night till vengeance appeased it—and not an ordinary vengeance either, but his enemy’s absolute death—nothing less; a man whose face would light up with a terrible joy when he surprised a foe and had him at a disadvantage. A high and efficient servant of the Overland, an outlaw among
Mark Twain (Roughing It : Premium Edition -Illustrated)
Sometimes we'd have that whole river all to ourselves for the longest time. Yonder was the banks and the islands, across the water; and maybe a spark-- which was a candle in a cabin window... It's lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made or only just happened; Jim he allowed they was made, but I allowed they happened; I judged it would have took too long to make so many. Jim said the moon could 'a' laid them; well, that looked kind of reasonable... because I've seen a frog lay most as many, so of course it could be done. We used to watch the stars that fell, too, and see them streak down. Jim allowed they'd got spoiled and was hove out of the nest. Once or twice of a night we would see a steamboat slipping along in the dark, and now and then she would belch a whole world of sparks up out of her chimbleys, and they would rain down in the river and look awful pretty; then she would turn a corner and her lights would wink out and her powwow shut off and leave the river still again; and by and by her waves would get to us, a long time after she was gone, and joggle the raft a bit, and after that you wouldn't hear nothing for you couldn't tell how long, except maybe frogs or something.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
It made my eyes water a little to remember her crying there all by herself in the night, and them devils laying there right under her own roof, shaming her and robbing her; and when I folded it up and give it to her I see the water come into her eyes, too; and she shook me by the hand, hard, and says: “Good-bye. I’m going to do everything just as you’ve told me; and if I don’t ever see you again, I sha’n’t ever forget you and I’ll think of you a many and a many a time, and I’ll pray for you, too!”—and she was gone. Pray for me! I reckoned if she knowed me she’d take a job that was more nearer her size. But I bet she done it, just the same—she was just that kind. She had the grit to pray for Judus if she took the notion—there warn’t no back-down to her, I judge. You may say what you want to, but in my opinion she had more sand in her than any girl I ever see; in my opinion she was just full of sand. It sounds like flattery, but it ain’t no flattery. And when it comes to beauty—and goodness, too—she lays over them all. I hain’t ever seen her since that time that I see her go out of that door; no, I hain’t ever seen her since, but I reckon I’ve thought of her a many and a many a million times, and of her saying she would pray for me; and if ever I’d a thought it would do any good for me to pray for her, blamed if I wouldn’t a done it or bust.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
things, on a raft, is for everybody to be satisfied, and feel right and kind towards the others. It didn't take me long to make up my mind that these liars warn't no kings nor dukes at all, but just low-down humbugs and frauds. But I never said nothing, never let on; kept it to myself; it's the best way; then you don't have no quarrels, and don't get into no trouble. If they wanted us to call them kings and dukes, I hadn't no objections, 'long as it would keep peace in the family; and it warn't no use to tell Jim, so I didn't tell him. If I never learnt nothing else out of pap, I learnt that the best way to get along with his kind of people is to let them have their own way.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
The best minds will tell you that when a man has begotten a child he is morally bound to tenderly care for it, protect it from hurt, shield it from disease, clothe it, feed it, bear with its waywardness, lay no hand upon it save in kindness and for its own good, and never in any case inflict upon it a wanton cruelty. God's treatment of his earthly children, every day and every night, is the exact opposite of all that, yet those best minds warmly justify these crimes, condone them, excuse them, and indignantly refuse to regard them as crimes at all, when he commits them. Your country and mine is an interesting one, but there is nothing there that is half so interesting as the human mind.
Mark Twain (Letters from the Earth: Uncensored Writings)
The best minds will tell you that when a man has begotten a child he is morally bound to tenderly care for it, protect it from hurt, shield it from disease, clothe it, feed it, bear with its waywardness, lay no hand upon it save in kindness and for its own good, and never in any case inflict upon it a wanton cruelty. God’s treatment of his earthly children, every day and every night, is the exact opposite of all that, yet those best minds warmly justify these crimes, condone them, excuse them, and indignantly refuse to regard them as crimes at all, when he commits them. Your country and mine is an interesting one, but there is nothing there that is half so interesting as the human mind.
Mark Twain (Letters from the Earth: Uncensored Writings (Perennial Classics))
So the king went all through the crowd with his hat swabbing his eyes, and blessing the people and praising them and thanking them for being so good to the poor pirates away off there; and every little while the prettiest kind of girls, with the tears running down their cheeks, would up and ask him would he let them kiss him for to remember him by; and he always done it; and some of them he hugged and kissed as many as five or six times—and he was invited to stay a week; and everybody wanted him to live in their houses, and said they’d think it was an honor; but he said as this was the last day of the camp-meeting he couldn’t do no good, and besides he was in a sweat to get to the Indian Ocean right off and go to work on the pirates. When
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
Hamlet’s soliloquy, you know; the most celebrated thing in Shakespeare. Ah, it’s sublime, sublime! Always fetches the house. I haven’t got it in the book—I’ve only got one volume—but I reckon I can piece it out from memory. I’ll just walk up and down a minute, and see if I can call it back from recollection’s vaults.” So he went to marching up and down, thinking, and frowning horrible every now and then; then he would hoist up his eyebrows; next he would squeeze his hand on his forehead and stagger back and kind of moan; next he would sigh, and next he’d let on to drop a tear. It was beautiful to see him. By and by he got it. He told us to give attention. Then he strikes a most noble attitude, with one leg shoved forwards, and his arms stretched away up, and his head tilted back, looking up at the sky; and then he begins to rip and rave and grit his teeth; and after that, all through his speech, he howled, and spread around, and swelled up his chest, and just knocked the spots out of any acting ever I see before. This is the speech—I learned it, easy enough, while he was learning it to the king: To be, or not to be; that is the bare bodkin That makes calamity of so long life; For who would fardels bear, till Birnam Wood do come to Dunsinane, But that the fear of something after death Murders the innocent sleep, Great nature’s second course, And makes us rather sling the arrows of outrageous fortune Than fly to others that we know not of. There’s the respect must give us pause: Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst; For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely, The law’s delay, and the quietus which his pangs might take, In the dead waste and middle of the night, when churchyards yawn In customary suits of solemn black, But that the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns, Breathes forth contagion on the world, And thus the native hue of resolution, like the poor cat i’ the adage, Is sicklied o’er with care, And all the clouds that lowered o’er our housetops, With this regard their currents turn awry, And lose the name of action. ’Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. But soft you, the fair Ophelia: Ope not thy ponderous and marble jaws, But get thee to a nunnery—go! Well,
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn't do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking--thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn't seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I'd see him standing my watch on top of his'n, 'stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the ONLY one he's got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper. It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: "All right, then, I'll GO to hell"--and tore it up.
Mark Twain
Pray for me! I reckoned if she knowed me she’d take a job that was more nearer her size. But I bet she done it, just the same—she was just that kind. She had the grit to pray for Judus if she took the notion—there warn’t no back-down to her, I judge. You may say what you want to, but in my opinion she had more sand in her than any girl I ever see; in my opinion she was just full of sand. It sounds like flattery, but it ain’t no flattery. And when it comes to beauty—and goodness, too—she lays over them all. I hain’t ever seen her since that time that I see her go out of that door; no, I hain’t ever seen her since, but I reckon I’ve thought of her a many and a many a million times, and of her saying she would pray for me; and if ever I’d a thought it would do any good for me to pray for HER, blamed if I wouldn’t a done it or bust.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
There was no response. Soon afterward, a skiff flying the Spanish flag approached the Charleston. Two Spanish officers came aboard and apologized for not having returned the American “salute” because they had no gunpowder left in their arsenal. It turned out that they had not been resupplied for months and did not know the United States and Spain were at war. The next morning an American lieutenant went ashore. At 10:15 he handed the Spanish commandant a message demanding surrender of the island within thirty minutes. The commandant retired to his quarters. Twenty-nine minutes later he emerged with a reply. “Being without defenses of any kind and without any means for meeting the present situation,” he had written, “I am under the sad necessity of being unable to resist such superior forces and regretfully accede to your demands.
Stephen Kinzer (The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire)
If I were to construct a God I would furnish Him with some way and qualities and characteristics which the Present lacks. He would not stoop to ask for any man's compliments, praises, flatteries; and He would be far above exacting them. I would have Him as self-respecting as the better sort of man in these regards. He would not be a merchant, a trader. He would not buy these things. He would not sell, or offer to sell, temporary benefits of the joys of eternity for the product called worship. I would have Him as dignified as the better sort of man in this regard. He would value no love but the love born of kindnesses conferred; not that born of benevolences contracted for. Repentance in a man's heart for a wrong done would cancel and annul that sin; and no verbal prayers for forgiveness be required or desired or expected of that man. In His Bible there would be no Unforgiveable Sin. He would recognize in Himself the Author and Inventor of Sin and Author and Inventor of the Vehicle and Appliances for its commission; and would place the whole responsibility where it would of right belong: upon Himself, the only Sinner. He would not be a jealous God--a trait so small that even men despise it in each other. He would not boast. He would keep private Hs admirations of Himself; He would regard self-praise as unbecoming the dignity of his position. He would not have the spirit of vengeance in His heart. Then it would not issue from His lips. There would not be any hell--except the one we live in from the cradle to the grave. There would not be any heaven--the kind described in the world's Bibles. He would spend some of His eternities in trying to forgive Himself for making man unhappy when he could have made him happy with the same effort and he would spend the rest of them in studying astronomy.
Mark Twain
The old one is tamer than it was, and can laugh and talk like the parrot, having learned this, no doubt, from being with the parrot so much, and having the imitative faculty in a highly developed degree. I shall be astonished if it turns out to be a new kind of parrot, and yet I ought not to be astonished, for it has already been everything else it could think of, since those first days when it was a fish. The new one is as ugly now as the old one was at first; has the same sulphur-and-raw-meat complexion and the same singular head without any fur on it. She calls it Abel. Ten Years Later They are boys; we found it out long ago. It was their coming in that small, immature shape that puzzled us; we were not used to it. There are some girls now. Abel is a good boy, but if Cain had stayed a bear it would have improved him. After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside it without her.
Mark Twain (Mark Twain: Collection of 51 Classic Works with analysis and historical background (Annotated and Illustrated) (Annotated Classics))
Before about 1900, there is little discernible trace in American cultural conversations of the phrase ‘American dream’ being used to describe a collective, generalisable national ideal of any kind, let alone an economic one. The phrase does not appear in any of the foundational documents in American history–it’s nowhere in the complete writings of Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton or James Madison. It’s not in Hector St. John Crèvecoeur or Alexis de Tocqueville, those two great French observers of early American life. It’s not found in the works of any of America’s major nineteenth-century novelists: Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville or Mark Twain. It’s not in the supposedly more sentimental novels of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Louisa May Alcott, or even Horatio Alger, whose ‘rags to riches’ stories are so often held to exemplify it. Nor does it crop up visibly in political discourse, or newspapers, or anywhere noticeable in the public record.
Sarah Churchwell (Behold, America: The Entangled History of "America First" and "the American Dream")
The idea of you lynching anybody! It’s amusing. The idea of you thinking you had pluck enough to lynch a man! Because you’re brave enough to tar and feather poor friendless cast-out women that come along here, did that make you think you had grit enough to lay your hands on a man? Why, a man’s safe in the hands of ten thousand of your kind—as long as it’s day-time and you’re not behind him. “Do I know you? I know you clear through. I was born and raised in the South, and I’ve lived in the North; so I know the average all around. The average man’s a coward. In the North he lets anybody walk over him that wants to, and goes home and prays for a humble spirit to bear it. In the South one man, all by himself, has stopped a stage full of men, in the day-time, and robbed the lot. Your newspapers call you a brave people so much that you think you are braver than any other people—whereas you’re just as brave, and no braver. Why don’t your juries hang murderers? Because they’re afraid the man’s friends will shoot them in the back, in the dark—and it’s just what they would do. “So they always acquit; and then a man goes in the night, with a hundred masked cowards at his back, and lynches the rascal. Your mistake is, that you didn’t bring a man with you; that’s one mistake, and the other is that you didn’t come in the dark, and fetch your masks. You brought part of a man—Buck Harkness, there—and if you hadn’t had him to start you, you’d a taken it out in blowing. “You didn’t want to come. The average man don’t like trouble and danger. You don’t like trouble and danger. But if only half a man—like Buck Harkness, there—shouts ‘Lynch him, lynch him!’ you’re afraid to back down—afraid you’ll be found out to be what you are—cowards—and so you raise a yell, and hang yourselves onto that half-a-man’s coat tail, and come raging up here, swearing what big things you’re going to do. The pitifulest thing out is a mob; that’s what an army is—a mob; they don’t fight with courage that’s born in them, but with courage that’s borrowed from their mass, and from their officers. But a mob without any man at the head of it, is beneath pitifulness. Now the thing for you to do, is to droop your tails and go home and crawl in a hole. If any real lynching’s going to be done, it will be done in the dark, Southern fashion; and when they come they’ll bring their masks, and fetch a man along. Now leave—and take your half-a-man with you...
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
it’s one of the great sunrises in all literature. Mark Twain: from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn . . . then we set down on the sandy bottom where the water was about knee deep, and watched the daylight come. Not a sound anywheres—perfectly still—just like the whole world was asleep, only sometimes the bull-frogs a-cluttering, maybe. The first thing to see, looking away over the water, was a kind of dull line—that was the woods on t’other side—you couldn’t make nothing else out; then a pale place in the sky; then more paleness, spreading around; then the river softened up, away off, and warn’t black any more, but gray; you could see little dark spots drifting along, ever so far away—trading scows, and such things; and long black streaks—rafts; sometimes you could hear a sweep screaking; or jumbled-up voices, it was so still, and sounds come so far; and by-and-by you could see a streak on the water which you know by the look of the streak that there’s a snag there in a swift current which breaks on it and makes that streak look that way; and you see the mist curl up off of the water, and the east reddens up, and the river, and you make out a log cabin in the edge of the woods, away on the bank on t’other side of the river, being a woodyard, likely, and piled by them cheats so you can throw a dog through it anywheres; then the nice breeze springs up, and comes fanning you from over there, so cool and fresh, and sweet to smell, on account of the woods and the flowers; but sometimes not that way, because they’ve left dead fish laying around, gars, and such, and they do get pretty rank; and next you’ve got the full day, and everything smiling in the sun, and the song-birds just going it!
Ursula K. Le Guin (Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story)
Life was not a valuable gift, but death was. Life was a fever-dream made up of joys embittered by sorrows, pleasure poisoned by pain; a dream that was a nightmare-confusion of spasmodic and fleeting delights, ecstasies, exultations, happinesses, interspersed with long-drawn miseries, griefs, perils, horrors, disappointments, defeats, humiliations, and despairs--the heaviest curse devisable by divine ingenuity; but death was sweet, death was gentle, death was kind; death healed the bruised spirit and the broken heart, and gave them rest and forgetfulness; death was man's best friend; when man could endure life no longer, death came and set him free. In time, the Deity perceived that death was a mistake; a mistake, in that it was insufficient; insufficient, for the reason that while it was an admirable agent for the inflicting of misery upon the survivor, it allowed the dead person himself to escape from all further persecution in the blessed refuge of the grave. This was not satisfactory. A way must be conceived to pursue the dead beyond the tomb. The Deity pondered this matter during four thousand years unsuccessfully, but as soon as he came down to earth and became a Christian his mind cleared and he knew what to do. He invented hell, and proclaimed it.
Mark Twain (Letters from the Earth)
The best minds will tell you that when a man has begotten a child he is morally bound to tenderly care for it, protect it from hurt, shield it from disease, clothe it, feed it, bear with its waywardness, lay no hand upon it save in kindness and for its own good, and never in any case inflict upon it a wanton cruelty. God's treatment of his earthly children, every day and every night, is the exact opposite of all that, yet those best minds warmly justify these crimes, condone them, excuse them, and indignantly refuse to regard them as crimes at all, when he commits them.
Mark Twain (Letters from the Earth)
The expression ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics’ was popularised by Mark Twain and attributed by him, in his autobiography, to the nineteenth-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.
David Darling (Weirdest Maths: At the Frontiers of Reason)
That image—last night’s dream—made me think of the quote I had taped to the top of my screen, Professor Madison paraphrasing Mark Twain. There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and prophecy.
Marie Brennan (Lies and Prophecy (Wilders, #1))
For two months my sole occupation was avoiding acquaintances; for during that time I did not earn a penny, or buy an article of any kind, or pay my board. I became a very adept at "slinking." I slunk from back street to back street, I slunk away from approaching faces that looked familiar, I slunk to my meals, ate them humbly and with a mute apology for every mouthful I robbed my generous landlady of, and at midnight, after wanderings that were but slinkings away from cheerfulness and light, I slunk to my bed. I felt meaner, and lowlier and more despicable than the worms. During all this time I had but one piece of money—a silver ten cent piece—and I held to it and would not spend it on any account, lest the consciousness coming strong upon me that I was entirely penniless, might suggest suicide. I had pawned every thing but the clothes I had on; so I clung to my dime desperately, till it was smooth with handling.
Mark Twain (Roughing It)
... we felt mighty good over it, because it would a been a miserable business to have any unfriendliness on the raft; for what you want, above all things, on a raft, is for everybody to be satisfied, and feel right and kind towards the others.
Mark Twain
Then her conscience reproached her, and she yearned to say something kind and loving; but she judged that this would be construed into a confession that she had been in the wrong, and discipline forbade that. So she kept silence, and went about her affairs with a troubled heart.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer)
So we poked along back home, and I warn’t feeling so brash as I was before, but kind of ornery, and humble, and to blame, somehow—though I hadn’t done nothing. But that’s always the way; it don’t make no difference whether you do right or wrong, a person’s conscience ain’t got no sense, and just goes for him anyway.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
My plan is this,” I says. “We can easy find out if it’s Jim in there. Then get up my canoe to-morrow night, and fetch my raft over from the island. Then the first dark night that comes, steal the key out of the old man’s britches, after he goes to bed, and shove off down the river on the raft, with Jim, hiding daytimes and running nights, the way me and Jim used to do before. Wouldn’t that plan work?” “Work? Why cert‘nly, it would work, like rats a fighting. But it’s too blame’ simple; there ain’t nothing to it. What’s the good of a plan that ain’t no more trouble than that? It’s as mild as goose-milk. Why, Huck, it wouldn’t make no more talk than breaking into a soap factory.” I never said nothing, because I warn’t expecting nothing different; but I knowed mighty well that whenever he got his plan ready it wouldn’t have none of them objections to it. And it didn’t. He told me what it was, and I see in a minute it was worth fifteen of mine, for style, and would make Jim just as free a man as mine would, and maybe get us all killed besides. So I was satisfied, and said we would waltz in on it. I needn’t tell what it was, here, because I knowed it wouldn’t stay the way it was. I knowed he would be changing it around, every which way, as we went along, and heaving in new bullinesses wherever he got a chance. And that is what he done. Well, one thing was dead sure; and that was, that Tom Sawyer was in earnest and was actuly going to help steal that nigger out of slavery. That was the thing that was too many for me. Here was a boy that was respectable, and well brung up; and had a character to lose; and folks at home that had characters; and he was bright and not leather-headed; and knowing and not ignorant; and not mean, but kind; and yet here he was, without any more pride, or rightness, or feeling, than to stoop to this business, and make himself a shame, and his family a shame, before everybody. I couldn’t understand it, no way at all. It was outrageous, and I knowed I ought to just up and tell him so; and so be his true friend, and let him quit the thing right where he was, and save himself. And I did start to tell him; but he shut me up, and says: “Don’t you reckon I know what I’m about? Don’t I generly know what I’m about?” “Yes.” “Didn’t I say I was going to help steal the nigger?” “Yes.” “Well then.” That’s all he said, and that’s all I said. It warn’t no use to say any more; because when he said he’d do a thing, he always done it.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
Well, Miss Mary Jane she told me to tell you she’s gone over there in a dreadful hurry—one of them’s sick.” “Which one?” “I don’t know; leastways I kinder forget; but I think it‘s——” “Sakes alive, I hope it ain’t Hanner?” “I’m sorry to say it,” I says, “but Hanner’s the very one.” “My goodness—and she so well only last week! Is she took bad?” “It ain’t no name for it. They set up with her all night, Miss Mary Jane said, and they don’t think she’ll last many hours.” “Only think of that, now! What’s the matter with her!” I couldn’t think of anything reasonable, right off that way, so I says: “Mumps.” “Mumps your granny! They don’t set up with people that’s got the mumps.” “They don‘t, don’t they? You better bet they do with these mumps. These mumps is different. It’s a new kind, Miss Mary Jane said.” “How’s it a new kind?” “Because it’s mixed up with other things.” “What other things?” “Well, measles, and whooping-cough, and erysiplas, and consumption, and yaller janders, and brain fever, and I don’t know what all.” “My land! And they call it the mumps?” “That’s what Miss Mary Jane said.” “Well, what in the nation do they call it the mumps for?” “Why, because it is the mumps. That’s what it starts with.” “Well, ther’ ain’t no sense in it. A body might stump his toe, and take pison, and fall down the well, and break his neck, and bust his brains out, and somebody come along and ask what killed him, and some numskull up and say, 'Why, he stumped his toe.' Would ther’ be any sense in that? No. And ther’ ain’t no sense in this, nuther.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
Among the items in the envelope is a much-worn paper on which Roebling had copied in pencil an epitaph Mark Twain inscribed on the grave of his daughter: Warm Summer Sun shine kindly here Warm Summer Wind blow softly here Green Sod above, lie light, lie light Good night, Dear heart, good night, good night.
David McCullough (The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge)
There are several kinds of stories, but only one difficult kind—the humorous. I will talk mainly about that one. The humorous story is American, the comic story is English, the witty story is French. The humorous story depends for its effect upon the manner of the telling; the comic story and the witty story upon the matter.
Mark Twain (How to Tell a Story and Other Essays)
Thirty-eight of the seventy-three households in Mashai reported that they brewed and sold beer at least six times in the last year. Many brewed far more often than that, and some brewed once a week or even more. Brewing can bring in a significant amount of money. Most often about forty liters were brewed at a time, which could be sold for between M4 and M10 depending on the quality of the beer. The ingredients, which included a washbasin full of sorghum and a small bowl of maize meal for each forty liter batch, usually cost less than M1, so it was possible for a diligent brewer to net as much as M5, M10, or even more per week from beer. For many households which lacked wage labor, beer brewing was the main source of income (see Gay 1980a for an account of the economics and sociology of brewing in a lowland village). Beer brewing, like many other economic activities through which women support themselves, must be understood not simply as a productive activity, but as a mechanism of redistribution. Beer is sold only to local villagers, predominantly men, and brewing is first of all a way of obtaining access to the cash earnings of employed men. Production of beer is directly stimulated by the presence within the village of men with money to buy it, and it is best understood as one of a number of possible ways for women to get a piece of that money. Brewing is thus very much a dependent or derived form of production; without migrant labor, the villagers of Mashai could no more support themselves through beer brewing than Mark Twain’s famous townsmen could support themselves by taking in each other’s laundry. Understood in this way, it is easy to see why brewing is as much a social skill as a technical one, and why one’s ability to make money by brewing is not a simple matter of the amount of beer one produces. Beer drinking is the main social event in the village for men, and it goes on in small or large groups every day. To sell a lot of beer a woman must be a cheerful and congenial hostess, and have a strong social position in the village. Making money on beer requires the same kinds of skills and social assets as throwing a successful party. It is thus a form of economic activity which is deeply embedded in the social relations of the village. I shall return to this point later.
James Ferguson (Anti-Politics Machine: Development, Depoliticization, and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho)
I wasn’t feeling so brash as I was before, but kind of ornery, and humble, and to blame, somehow—though I hadn’t done nothing. But that’s always the way; it don’t make no difference whether you do right or wrong, a person’s conscience ain’t got no sense, and just goes for him anyway.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
I know your race. It is made up of sheep. It is governed by minorities, seldom or never by majorities. It suppresses its feelings and its beliefs and follows the handful that makes the most noise. Sometimes the noisy handful is right, sometimes wrong; but no matter, the crowd follows it. The vast majority of the race, whether savage or civilized, are secretly kind-hearted and shrink from inflicting pain, but in the presence of the aggressive and pitiless minority they don't dare to assert themselves. Think of it!
Mark Twain
Did you want to kill him, Buck?” “Well, I bet I did.” “What did he do to you?” “Him? He never done nothing to me.” “Well, then, what did you want to kill him for?” “Why nothing—only it’s on account of the feud.” “What’s a feud?” “Why, where was you raised? Don’t you know what a feud is?” “Never heard of it before—tell me about it.” “Well,” says Buck, “a feud is this way. A man has a quarrel with another man, and kills him; then that other man’s brother kills him; then the other brothers, on both sides, goes for one another; then the cousins chip in—and by-and-by everybody’s killed off, and there ain’t no more feud. But it’s kind of slow, and takes a long time.” “Has this one been going on long, Buck?” “Well I should reckon! it started thirty year ago, or som‘ers along there. There was trouble ’bout something and then a lawsuit to settle it; and the suit went agin one of the men, and so he up and shot the man that won the suit—which he would naturally do, of course. Anybody would.” “What was the trouble about, Buck?—land?” “I reckon maybe—I don’t know.” “Well, who done the shooting?—was it a Grangerford or a Shepherdson?” “Laws, how do I know? it was so long ago.” “Don’t anybody know?” “Oh, yes, pa knows, I reckon, and some of the other old folks; but they don’t know, now, what the row was about in the first place.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
There was still room enough left for a visitor - maybe two, but not without straining the walls. But the walls could stand it- at least the partitions could, for they consisted simply of one thickness of white "cotton domestic" stretched from corner to corner of the room. This was the rule in Carson - any other kind of partition the rare exception. And if you stood in a dark room and your neighbors in the next had lights, the shadows on your canvas told queer secrets sometimes.
Mark Twain (On the Wild West)
Writers of all kinds are manacled servants of the public. We write frankly and fearlessly, but then we 'modify' before we print.
Mark Twain (Life on the Mississippi)
Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising. Mark twain
Brigitta Moon
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. - Mark Twain
Venu Bhagavan Villa (FIRE WITHIN: FIND THE WORK YOU LOVE)
Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War.  He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and calm pulse to exterminate his kind.  He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out... and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel.... And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for “the universal brotherhood of man” - with his mouth.   Mark Twain
Doug Dandridge (Exodus: Empires at War #1 (Exodus: Empires at War #1))
Two weeks before coming to the hearing he had remarked privately, “All Congresses and Parliaments have a kindly feeling for idiots, and a compassion for them, on account of personal experience and heredity.
Michael Shelden (Mark Twain: Man in White: The Grand Adventure of His Final Years)
Few people would realise that it is much harder to write one of Owen Seaman's "funny" poems in Punch than to write one of the Archbishop of Canterbury's sermons. Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn is a greater work than Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, and Charles Dickens's creation of Mr. Pickwick did more for the elevation of the human race—I say it in all seriousness—than Cardinal Newman's Lead, Kindly Light, Amid the Encircling Gloom. Newman only cried out for light in the gloom of a sad world. Dickens gave it.
Stephen Leacock (STEPHEN LEACOCK PREMIUM 12 BOOK HUMOUR COLLECTION + Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. (Timeless Wisdom Collection 2588))
A Doorway Opens October 13 AT ITS HEART, I think, religion is mystical. Moses with his flocks in Midian, Buddha under the Bo tree, Jesus up to his knees in the waters of Jordan: each of them responds to something for which words like shalom, oneness, God even, are only pallid, alphabetic souvenirs. “I have seen things,” Aquinas told a friend, “that make all my writings seem like straw.” Religion as institution, as ethics, as dogma, as social action—all of this comes later and in the long run maybe counts for less. Religions start, as Frost said poems do, with a lump in the throat, to put it mildly, or with the bush going up in flames, the rain of flowers, the dove coming down out of the sky. As for the man in the street, any street, wherever his own religion is a matter of more than custom, it is likely to be because, however dimly, a doorway opened in the air once to him too, a word was spoken, and, however shakily, he responded. The debris of his life continues to accumulate, the Vesuvius of the years scatters its ashes deep and much gets buried alive, but even under many layers the tell-tale heart can go on beating still. Where it beats strong, there starts pulsing out from it a kind of life that is marked by, above all things perhaps, compassion: that sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside another’s skin and for knowing that there can never really be peace and joy for any until there is peace and joy finally for all. Where it stops beating altogether, little is left religiously speaking but a good man, not perhaps in Mark Twain’s “the worst sense of the word” but surely in the grayest and saddest: the good man whose goodness has become cheerless and finicky, a technique for working off his own guilts, a gift with no love in it which neither deceives nor benefits any for long.
Frederick Buechner (Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechne)
I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand, lead him to a quiet place, and kill him. – Mark Twain
Lawrence A. Kane (The 87-Fold Path to Being the Best Martial Artist: 87 Social and Psychological Tips for Living beyond the Physical)
to make a pledge of any kind is to declare war against nature; for a pledge is a chain that is always clanking and reminding the wearer of it that he is not a free man.
Mark Twain (Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World)
There are two kinds of speakers. Those who are nervous and those who are liars.
Mark Twain
All Congresses and Parliaments have a kindly feeling for idiots, and a compassion for them, on account of personal experience and heredity.” For
Michael Shelden (Mark Twain: Man in White: The Grand Adventure of His Final Years)
schedule. “I need to get back to work. You settling up today? I’ll get tomorrow?” he suggested. “Sure, buddy. Have a good one.” “Until tomorrow,” he said as he put on his hat then walked away toward the door. “Same bat-time. Same bat-channel,” he added as he made his exit behind my back. I shook my head, smiled, and chuckled at his foolishness. I then swiveled my position to look around the restaurant once again. At one table, I noticed a man and a woman that I assumed had entered while we were facing the brick wall behind the bar. I watched them sign to one another with such vigor and beauty. It was something that amazed me every time I witnessed it, always wishing that I had taken that American Sign Language class in college. They sat there, completely silent, but communicating with their hands more effectively than most hearing people could with their voices. No sound passed from one to the next, no sound passed between anyone in the restaurant. It was very quiet. My mind moved toward the metaphorical silence is deafening. I guiltily chuckled to myself when I realized how completely inappropriate that unintentional pun would have been had it been said aloud, or signed. My thoughts then brought me to the words of Mark Twain. “Kindness is
Courtland O.K. Smith (The One Behind the Psychologist)
kind. It was the most singular, and almost the most touching and melancholy exile that fancy can imagine.—One of
Mark Twain (Roughing It)
Let us be thankful for the fools,' Mark Twain wrote with typically dark humor in 1897. 'But for them the rest of us could not succeed.' Of all the paradoxes of failure in America, surely this is the darkest. Long ago, we saw through old fables of rags to riches; it is still fun to dream, but we know that we are partaking of a cultural myth. But if we do not quite believe in that kind of success, our faith in the myths of failure is unshaken. We are merrily cynical about whether the average tycoon really tugged on those bootstraps, but we still believe with deadly seriousness that the reasons for failure are usually individual-- "in the man." Failure is not the dark side of the American Dream; it is the foundation of it. The American Dream gives each of us the chance to be a born loser.
Scott A. Sandage
So, let’s reorient from exterior to interior. “Distraction” then becomes boredom; “impulsiveness” becomes self-generated explorative behavior based on what captures interest; “abnormal activity level” is thus high-energy levels generating multiple task interests; “disorganization” is failure to follow rigid organizational regimens set by others; “anxiety”—well, we all know that one: what the hell kind of world did I get born into?; “emotional lability” is, in fact, a wide range of emotions that are accessed when adults or the exterior culture don’t want them to be. In other words, should you have ever read Mark Twain, what is being described is “Tom Sawyer syndrome,” a once common state of being in many if not most children. The more widely open the sensory gating channels are, the more the child’s behavior alters from what is currently held to be the cultural norm in the West. On average, some
Stephen Harrod Buhner (Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm: Beyond the Doors of Perception into the Dreaming of Earth)
Then away out in the woods I heard that kind of a sound that a ghost makes when it wants to tell about something that’s on its mind and can’t make itself understood, and so can’t rest easy in its grave, and has to go about that way every night grieving.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
You see my kind of loyalty was loyalty to one’s country, not to its institutions or its office-holders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to;
Mark Twain (Mark Twain: The Complete Novels)
went off, without waiting for serving men, and unsaddled my horse, and washed such portions of his ribs and his spine as projected through his hide, and when I came back, behold five stately circus tents were up—tents that were brilliant, within, with blue, and gold, and crimson, and all manner of splendid adornment! I was speechless. Then they brought eight little iron bedsteads, and set them up in the tents; they put a soft mattress and pillows and good blankets and two snow-white sheets on each bed. Next, they rigged a table about the centre-pole, and on it placed pewter pitchers, basins, soap, and the whitest of towels—one set for each man; they pointed to pockets in the tent, and said we could put our small trifles in them for convenience, and if we needed pins or such things, they were sticking every where. Then came the finishing touch—they spread carpets on the floor! I simply said, "If you call this camping out, all right—but it isn't the style I am used to; my little baggage that I brought along is at a discount." It grew dark, and they put candles on the tables—candles set in bright, new, brazen candlesticks. And soon the bell—a genuine, simon-pure bell—rang, and we were invited to "the saloon." I had thought before that we had a tent or so too many, but now here was one, at least, provided for; it was to be used for nothing but an eating-saloon. Like the others, it was high enough for a family of giraffes to live in, and was very handsome and clean and bright-colored within. It was a gem of a place. A table for eight, and eight canvas chairs; a table-cloth and napkins whose whiteness and whose fineness laughed to scorn the things we were used to in the great excursion steamer; knives and forks, soup-plates, dinner-plates—every thing, in the handsomest kind of style. It was wonderful! And they call this camping out. Those stately fellows in baggy trowsers and turbaned fezzes brought in a dinner which consisted of roast mutton, roast chicken, roast goose, potatoes, bread, tea, pudding, apples, and delicious grapes; the viands were better cooked than any we had eaten for weeks, and the table made a finer appearance, with its large German silver candlesticks and other finery, than any table we had sat down to for a good while, and yet that polite dragoman, Abraham, came bowing in and apologizing for the whole affair, on account of the unavoidable confusion of getting under way for a very long trip, and promising to do a great deal better in future! It is midnight, now, and we break camp at six in the morning. They call this camping out. At this rate it is a glorious privilege to be a pilgrim to the Holy Land.
Mark Twain (The Innocents Abroad - Mark Twain [Modern library classics] (Annotated))
You could have knocked the Paladin down with a feather. He seemed to actually turn pale. He worked his lips a moment without getting anything out; then it came: 'I didn’t know that, nor the half of it; how could I? I’ve been an idiot. I see it now—I’ve been an idiot. I met them this morning, and sung out hello to them just as I would to anybody. I didn’t mean to be ill-mannered, but I didn’t know the half of this that you’ve been telling. I’ve been an ass. Yes, that is all there is to it—I’ve been an ass.' Noel Rainguesson said, in a kind of weary way: 'Yes, that is likely enough; but I don’t see why you should seem surprised at it.' 'You don’t, don’t you? Well, why don’t you?' 'Because I don’t see any novelty about it. With some people it is a condition which is present all the time. Now you take a condition which is present all the time, and the results of that condition will be uniform; this uniformity of result will in time become monotonous; monotonousness, by the law of its being, is fatiguing. If you had manifested fatigue upon noticing that you had been an ass, that would have been logical, that would have been rational; whereas it seems to me that to manifest surprise was to be again an ass, because the condition of intellect that can enable a person to be surprised and stirred by inert monotonousness is a—
Mark Twain (Joan of Arc)
When white writers put words into the mouths of black characters it is known in the literary sphere as ‘crackerblack’. We’re all familiar with the concept. Some of the more cringeworthy examples of cracker-black can be found in the films of Quentin Tarantino or the more offensive novels of Mark Twain. Most famous of all is the play Othello, in which our supposed ‘great bard’ tried his hand at a kind of Moorish patois. ‘I kissed thee ere I killed thee: no way but this, killing myself, to die upon a kiss.’ Find me one black man who speaks like that.
Titania McGrath (Woke: A Guide to Social Justice)
Make the best of things the way you find 'em, says I-- that's my motto. This ain't no bad thing that we've struck here-- plenty grub and an easy life-- come, give us your hand, duke, and le's all be friends." The duke done it, and Jim and me was pretty glad to see it. It took away all the uncomfortableness and we felt mighty good over it, because it would 'a' been a miserable business to have any unfriendliness on the raft; for what you want, above all things, on a raft, is for everybody to be satisfied, and feel right and kind towards the others.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
What has become of the Golden Rule? It exists, it continues to sparkle, and is well taken care of. It is Exhibit A in the Church’s assets, and we pull it out every Sunday and give it an airing...It is strictly religious furniture, like an acolyte, or a contribution-plate, or any of those things. It is never intruded into business.” Mark Twain “Noah and a few like him perceived that the continent was indeed finite, and that venal office-holders, legislators in particular, could be persuaded to toss great hunks of it up for grabs, and to toss them in such a way as to have them land where Noah and his kind were standing. “Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling in America. Thus was the savage and stupid and entirely inappropriate and unnecessary and humorless American class system created. Honest, industrious, peaceful citizens were classed as bloodsuckers if they asked to be paid a living wage. And they saw that praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised ways of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no law had been passed. Thus the American dream turned belly up, turned green, bobbed to the scummy surface of cupidity unlimited, filled with gas, and went bang in the noonday sun.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr. from God Bless You Mr. Rosewater
Twain, Vonnegut
Mark Twain wrote that “a Southerner talks music.” This is Huck Finn describing life on the river: It’s lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss whether they was made or only just happened — Jim he allowed they was made, but I allowed they happened: I judged it would have took too long to make so many. Jim said the moon could a laid them; well that looked kind of reasonable, so I didn’t say nothing against it because I’ve seen a frog lay most as many, so of course it could be done. We used to watch the stars that fell, too, and see them streak down. Jim allowed they’d got spoiled and was hove out of the nest.
Melvyn Bragg (The Adventure of English: The Biography of a Language)
They had been heritors and subjects of cruelty and outrage so long that nothing could have startled them but a kindness.
Mark Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court)
It comes down to what is language? Up to now, until this age of mass literacy, language has been something spoken. In utterance there’s a minimum of slowness. In trying to treat words as chisel strokes, you run the risk of losing the quality of utterance, the rhythm of utterance, the happiness. A phrase out of Mark Twain—he describes a raft hitting a bridge and says that it “went all to smash and scatteration like a box of matches struck by lightning.” The beauty of “scatteration” could only have occurred to a talkative man, a man who had been brought up among people who were talking and who loved to talk himself. I’m aware myself of a certain dryness of this reservoir, this backlog of spoken talk. A Romanian once said to me that Americans are always telling stories. I’m not sure this is as true as it once was. Where we once used to spin yarns, now we sit in front of the tv and receive pictures. I’m not sure the younger generation even knows how to gossip. But, as for a writer, if he has something to tell, he should perhaps type it almost as fast as he could talk it. We must look to the organic world, not the inorganic world, for metaphors; and just as the organic world has periods of repose and periods of great speed and exercise, so I think the writer’s process should be organically varied. But there’s a kind of tautness that you should feel within yourself no matter how slow or fast you’re spinning out the reel.
John Updike
The question as to whether there is such a thing as divine right of kings is not settled in this book. It was found too difficult. That the executive head of a nation should be a person of lofty character and extraordinary ability, was manifest and indisputable; that none but the Deity could select that head unerringly, was also manifest and indisputable; that the Deity ought to make that selection, then, was likewise manifest and indisputable; consequently, that He does make it, as claimed, was an unavoidable deduction. I mean, until the author of this book encountered the Pompadour, and Lady Castlemaine, and some other executive heads of that kind; these were found so difficult to work into the scheme, that it was judged better to take the other tack in this book (which must be issued this fall), and then go into training and settle the question in another book. It is, of course, a thing which ought to be settled, and I am not going to have anything particular to do next winter anyway.
Mark Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court 3)
And went on thinking.  And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time:  in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing.  But somehow I couldn’t seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind.  I’d see him standing my watch on top of his’n, ‘stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the only one he’s got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper.
Mark Twain (Complete Works of Mark Twain)
Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising. MARK TWAIN
John Lloyd (QI: Advanced Banter)
What a curious kind of a fool a girl is!
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer)
In his magnum opus, The Nature of Prejudice, Allport reasoned that bigotry often boils down to a lack of acquaintance. Its antidote was just as simple: Bring people together, and they’ll awaken to their common humanity. A similar thought led Mark Twain to quip, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.” In psychology, this idea came to be known as “contact theory,” and it caught fire. Allport’s book, published in 1954, became a bestseller; he delighted in spotting it at airports and malls alongside beach novels. Thanks to him, optimists everywhere came to believe that hatred was a misunderstanding and that contact could fix it.
Jamil Zaki (The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World)
Mary Jane she set at the head of the table, with Susan alongside of her, and said how bad the biscuits was, and how mean the preserves was, and how ornery and tough the fried chickens was—and all that kind of rot, the way women always do for to force out compliments;
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
She was troubled, and said that these honors were not meet for one of her lowly birth and station, and by their kind grace she would remain simple Joan of Arc, nothing more -- and so be called. Nothing more! As if there could be anything more, anything higher, anything greater. My Lady Du Lis -- why, it was tinsel, petty, perishable. But, JOAN OF ARC! The mere sound of it sets one's pulses leaping.
Mark Twain (Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc)
Douglass was the most photographed American of the nineteenth century, explained in this book and especially by the intrepid research of three other scholars I rely upon.2 Although it can never really be measured, he may also have been, along with Mark Twain, the most widely traveled American public figure of his century. By the 1890s, in sheer miles and countless numbers of speeches, he had few rivals as a lecturer in the golden age of oratory. It is likely that more Americans heard Douglass speak than any other public figure of his times. Indeed, to see or hear Douglass became a kind of wonder of the American world. He struggled as well, with the pleasures and perils of fame as much as anyone else in his century, with the possible exceptions of General Ulysses S. Grant or P. T. Barnum. Douglass’s dilemma with fame was a matter of decades, not merely of moments, and fraught with racism.
David W. Blight (Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom)
In my life and work, I’ve seen the darkest parts of the human soul. (At least I hope they are the darkest.) That has helped me see more clearly the brightness of the human spirit. Feeling the sting of violence myself has helped me feel more keenly the hand of human kindness. Given the frenzy and the power of the various violence industries, the fact that most Americans live without being violent is a sign of something wonderful in us. In resisting both the darker sides of our species and the darker sides of our heritage, it is everyday Americans, not the icons of big-screen vengeance, who are the real heroes. Abraham Lincoln referred to the “Better angels of our nature,” and they must surely exist, for most of us make it through every day with decency and cooperation. Having spent years preparing for the worst, I have finally arrived at this wisdom: Though the world is a dangerous place, it is also a safe place. You and I have survived some extraordinary risks, particularly given that every day we move in, around, and through powerful machines that could kill us without missing a cylinder: jet airplanes, subways, busses, escalators, elevators, motorcycles, cars—conveyances that carry a few of us to injury but most of us to the destinations we have in mind. We are surrounded by toxic chemicals, and our homes are hooked up to explosive gasses and lethal currents of electricity. Most frightening of all, we live among armed and often angry countrymen. Taken together, these things make every day a high-stakes obstacle course our ancestors would shudder at, but the fact is we are usually delivered through it. Still, rather than be amazed at the wonder of it all, millions of people are actually looking for things to worry about. Near the end of his life, Mark Twain wisely said, “I have had a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.
Gavin de Becker (The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence)
Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
~Mark Twain