Category: Mark Twain Quotes: The Best Quotations of Mark

A Collection of some of the best and most famous quotes, quips, one liners, stories and writings of Mark Twain.

Mark Twain: autobiography book and writings

THE INNOCENTS ABROAD, by Mark Twain [MT#37][mtinn10.txt]3176

Ancient painters never succeeded in denationalizing themselves
Apocryphal New Testament
Astonishing talent for seeing things that had already passed
Bade our party a kind good-bye, and proceeded to count spoons
Base flattery to call them immoral
Bones of St Denis
But it is an ill-wind that blows nobody good
Buy the man out, goodwill and all
By dividing this statement up among eight
Carry soap with them
Chapel of the Invention of the Cross
Christopher Colombo
Clustered thick with stony, mutilated saints
Commend me to Fennimore Cooper to find beauty in the Indians
Conceived a sort of unwarrantable unfriendliness
Confer the rest of their disastrous patronage on some other firm
Creator made Italy from designs by Michael Angelo!
Cringing spirit of those great men
Diffident young man, mild of moustache, affluent of hair
Felt that it was not right to steal grapes
Fenimore Cooper Indians
Filed away among the archives of Russia–in the stove
For dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince
Free from self-consciousness–which is at breakfast
Fumigation is cheaper than soap
Fun–but of a mild type
Getting rich very deliberately–very deliberately indeed
Have a prodigious quantity of mind
He never bored but he struck water
He ought to be dammed–or leveed
Holy Family always lived in grottoes
How tame a sight his country’s flag is at home
I am going to try to worry along without it
I carried the sash along with me–I did not need the sash
I had a delicacy about going home and getting thrashed
I was not scared, but I was considerably agitated
Is, ah–is he dead?
It is a hopeless, dreary, heart-broken land
It is inferior–for coffee–but it is pretty fair tea
It used to be a good hotel, but that proves nothing
It was warm. It was the warmest place I ever was in
Journals so voluminously begun
Keg of these nails–of the true cross
Lean and mean old age
Man peculiarly and insufferably self-conceited: not seasick
Marks the exact centre of the earth
Nauseous adulation of princely patrons
Never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language
Never left any chance for newspaper controversies
Never uses a one-syllable word when he can think of a longer one
No satisfaction in being a Pope in those days
Not afraid of a million Bedouins
Not bring ourselves to think St John had two sets of ashes
Old Travelers
One is apt to overestimate beauty when it is rare
Only solitary thing one does not smell in Turkey
Oriental splendor!
Original first shoddy contract mentioned in history
Overflowing his banks
People talk so glibly of “feeling,” “expression,” “tone,”
Perdition catch all the guides
Picture which one ought to see once–not oftener
Polite hotel waiter who isn’t an idiot
Relic matter a little overdone?
Room to turn around in, but not to swing a cat
Saviour, who seems to be of little importance any where in Rome
Self-satisfied monarch, the railroad conductor of America
Sentimental praises of the Arab’s idolatry of his horse
She assumes a crushing dignity
Shepherd’s Hotel, which is the worst on earth
Smell about them which is peculiar but not entertaining
Some people can not stand prosperity
Somewhat singular taste in the matter of relics
St Charles Borromeo, Bishop of Milan
St Helena, the mother of Constantine
Starving to death
Stirring times here for a while if the last trump should blow
Tahoe means grasshoppers. It means grasshopper soup
The information the ancients didn’t have was very voluminous
The Last Supper
There was a good deal of sameness about it
They were like nearly all the Frenchwomen I ever saw –homely
They were seasick. And I was glad of it
Those delightful parrots who have “been here before”
To give birth to an idea
Toll the signal for the St Bartholomew’s Massacre
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness
Uncomplaining impoliteness
Under the charitable moon
Used fine tooth combs–successfully
Venitian visiting young ladies
Wandering Jew
Wasn’t enough of it to make a pie
We all like to see people seasick when we are not, ourselves
Well provided with cigars and other necessaries of life
What’s a fair wind for us is a head wind to them
Whichever one they get is the one they want
Who have actually forgotten their mother tongue in three months
Worth while to get tired out, because one so enjoys resting

ROUGHING IT, by Mark Twain [MT#38][mtrit10.txt]3177

Aim and object of the law and lawyers was to defeat justice
American saddle
Cayote is a living, breathing allegory of Want
Children were clothed in nothing but sunshine
Contempt of Court on the part of a horse
Feared a great deal more than the almighty
Fertile in invention and elastic in conscience
Give one’s watch a good long undisturbed spell
He was nearly lightnin’ on superintending
He was one of the deadest men that ever lived
Hotel clerk who was crusty and disobliging
I had never seen lightning go like that horse
Juries composed of fools and rascals
List of things which we had seen and some other people had not
Man was not a liar he only missed it by the skin of his teeth
Most impossible reminiscences sound plausible
Native canoe is an irresponsible looking contrivance
Never knew there was a hell!
Nothing that glitters is gold
Profound respect for chastity–in other people
Scenery in California requires distance
Slept, if one might call such a condition by so strong a name
Useful information and entertaining nonsense
Virtuous to the verge of eccentricity

The Best of Mark Twain

THE GILDED AGE, by Twain and Warner [MT#39][mtgld10.txt]3178

Accidental murder resulting from justifiable insanity
Always trying to build a house by beginning at the top
Beautiful credit! The foundation of modern society
Believed it; because she desired to believe it
Best intentions and the frailest resolution
Big babies with beards
Cheap sentiment and high and mighty dialogue
Conscious superiority
Does your doctor know any thing
Enjoy icebergs–as scenery but not as company
Erie RR: causeway of cracked rails and cows, to the West
Fever of speculation
Final resort of the disappointed of her sex, the lecture platform
Geographical habits
Get away and find a place where he could despise himself
Gossips were soon at work
Grand old benevolent National Asylum for the Helpless
Grief that is too deep to find help in moan or groan or outcry
Haughty humility
Having no factitious weight of dignity to carry
Imagination to help his memory
Invariably advised to settle–no matter how, but settle
Invariably allowed a half for shrinkage in his statements
Is this your first visit?
It had cost something to upholster these women
Large amount of money necessary to make a small hole
Later years brought their disenchanting wisdom
Let me take your grief and help you carry it
Life a vanity and a burden, and the future but a way to death
Mail train which has never run over a cow
Meant no harm they only wanted to know
Money is most difficult to get when people need it most
Never sewed when she could avoid it. Bless her!
Nursed his woe and exalted it
Predominance of the imagination over the judgment
Question was asked and answered–in their eyes
Riches enough to be able to gratify reasonable desires
Road, which did not seem to know its own mind exactly
Sarcasms of fate
Sleep that heals all heart-aches and ends all sorrows
Small gossip stood a very poor chance
Sun bothers along over the Atlantic
Think a Congress of ours could convict the devil of anything
Titles never die in America
Too much grace and too little wine
Understood the virtues of “addition, division and silence”
Unlimited reliance upon human promises
Very pleasant man if you were not in his way
Wasn’t worth a cent two years ago, and now I owe two millions
“We must create, a public opinion,” said Senator Dilworthy
We’ll make you think you never was at home before
We’ve all got to come to it at last, anyway!
Widened, and deepened, and straightened–(Public river Project)
Wished that she could see his sufferings now
Your absence when you are present

THE AMERICAN CLAIMANT, by Mark Twain [MT#40][mtacl10.txt]3179

He’s a kind of an aristocrat, his father being a doctor, and you know
what style that is–in England, I mean, because in this country a doctor
ain’t so very much, even if he’s that.

Hasn’t any culture but the artificial culture of books, which adorns but
doesn’t really educate.

A discriminating irreverence is the creator and protector of human

The exercise of an extraordinary gift is the supremest pleasure in life.

Oh, just to work–that is life! No matter what the work is–that’s of no
consequence. Just work itself is bliss when a man’s been starving for

What right has Goethe, what right has Arnold, what right has any
dictionary, to define the word Irreverence for me? What their ideals are
is nothing to me. So long as I reverence my own ideals my whole duty is
done, and I commit no profanation if I laugh at theirs. I may scoff at
other people’s ideals as much as I want to. It is my right and my
privilege. No man has any right to deny it.

No throne was ever set up by the unhampered vote of a majority of any
nation; and that hence no throne exists that has a right to exist, and no
symbol of it, flying from any flagstaff, is righteously entitled to wear
any device but the skull and crossbones of that kindred industry which
differs from royalty only business-wise–merely as retail differs from

Mark Twain: selected quotes

DOUBLE BARRELLED DETECTIVE, by Mark Twain [MT#41][mtdbd10.txt]3180

“We ought never to do wrong when people are looking.”

“The regularest man that ever was,” said Jake Parker, the blacksmith:
“you can tell when it’s twelve just by him leaving, without looking at
your Waterbury.”

The sheriff that lets a mob take a prisoner away from him is the lowest-
down coward there is. By the statistics there was a hundred and eighty-
two of them drawing sneak pay in America last year. By the way it’s
going, pretty soon there ‘ll be a new disease in the doctor-books–
sheriff complaint.” That idea pleased him–any one could see it.
“People will say, ‘Sheriff sick again?’ ‘Yes; got the same old thing.’
And next there ‘ll be a new title. People won’t say, ‘He’s running for
sheriff of Rapaho County,’ for instance; they’ll say, ‘He’s running for
Coward of Rapaho.’ Lord, the idea of a grown-up person being afraid of a
lynch mob!”

THE STOLEN WHITE ELEPHANT, by Mark Twain [MT#42][mtswe10.txt]3181

Left out of A Tramp Abroad, because it was feared that some of the
particulars had been exaggerated, and that others were not true. Before
these suspicions had been proven groundless, the book had gone to press.
–M. T.]

“Well, as to what he eats–he will eat anything. He will eat a man, he
will eat a Bible–he will eat anything between a man and a Bible.”–“Good
very good, indeed, but too general. Details are necessary–details are
the only valuable things in our trade. Very well–as to men. At one
meal–or, if you prefer, during one day–how man men will he eat, if
fresh?”–“He would not care whether they were fresh or not; at a single
meal he would eat five ordinary men.

Elephant arrived here from the south and passed through toward the forest
at 11.50, dispersing a funeral on the way, and diminishing the mourners
by two.

RAMBLING IDLE EXCURSION, by Mark Twain [MT#43][mtrid10.txt]3182

Straight roads reveal everything at a glance and kill interest.

All the journeyings I had ever done had been purely in the way of
business. The pleasant May weather suggested a novelty namely, a trip
for pure recreation, the bread-and-butter element left out. The Reverend
said he would go, too; a good man, one of the best of men, although a

We went ashore and found a novelty of a pleasant nature: there were no
hackmen, hacks, or omnibuses on the pier or about it anywhere, and nobody
offered his services to us, or molested us in any way. I said it was
like being in heaven. The Reverend rebukingly and rather pointedly
advised me to make the most of it, then.

There’s cats around here with names that would surprise you. “Maria” (to
his wife), “what was that cat’s name that eat a keg of ratsbane by
mistake over at Hooper’s, and started home and got struck by lightning
and took the blind staggers and fell in the well and was ‘most drowned
before they could fish him out?”–“That was that colored Deacon Jackson’s
cat. I only remember the last end of its name, which was Hold-The-Fort-
For-I-Am-Coming Jackson.”

CARNIVAL OF CRIME IN CT., by Mark Twain [MT#44][mtccc10.txt]3183

Yes, but you did; you lied to him.”–I felt a guilty pang–in truth, I
had felt it forty times before that tramp had traveled a block from my
door–but still I resolved to make a show of feeling slandered; so I
said: “This is a baseless impertinence. I said to the tramp–“–
“There–wait. You were about to lie again. I know what you said to him.
You said the cook was gone down-town and there was nothing left from
breakfast. Two lies. You knew the cook was behind the door, and plenty
of provisions behind her.”

I never did a thing in all my life, virtuous or otherwise, that I didn’t
repent of in twenty-four hours.

In conclusion, I wish to state, by way of advertisement, that medical
colleges desiring assorted tramps for scientific purposes, either by the
gross, by cord measurement, or per ton, will do well to examine the lot
in my cellar before purchasing elsewhere, as these were all selected and
prepared by myself, and can be had at a low rate; because I wish to
clear, out my stock and get ready for the spring trade.

ALONZO FITZ AND OTHERS, by Mark Twain [MT#45][mtlaf10.txt]3184

It was well along in the forenoon of a bitter winter’s day. The town of
Eastport, in the state of Maine, lay buried under a deep snow that was
newly fallen. The customary bustle in the streets was wanting. One
could look long distances down them and see nothing but a dead-white
emptiness, with silence to match. Of course I do not mean that you could
see the silence–no, you could only hear it.

“That clock’s wrong again. That clock hardly ever knows what time it is;
and when it does know, it lies about it–which amounts to the same thing.