Best quotations of Mark Twain

SKETCHES NEW AND OLD, by Mark Twain [MT#50][mtsno10.txt]3189

A wood-fire is not a permanent thing
Accessory before the fact to his own murder
Aggregate to positive unhappiness
Always brought in ‘not guilty’
Apocryphal was no slouch of a word, emanating from the source
Assertion is not proof
Early to bed and early to rise
I am useless and a nuisance, a cumberer of the earth
I never was so scared before and survived it
If I had sprung a leak now I had been lost
Just about cats enough for three apiece all around
Looked a look of vicious happiness
Lucid and unintoxicated intervals
No matter how absurd and unreasonable their demands
No public can withstand magnanimity
Not because I was afraid, but because I wanted to (go out the window)
Permanent reliable enemy
Science only needed a spoonful of supposition to build a mountain
State of mind bordering on impatience
Walking five miles to fish
Was a good deal annoyed when it appeared he was going to die

1601, by Mark Twain [MT#51][mtsxn10.txt]3190

But suppose a literary artist ventured to go into a painstaking and
elaborate description of one of these grisly things–the critics would
skin him alive. Well, let it go, it cannot be helped; Art retains her
privileges, Literature has lost hers. Somebody else may cipher out the
whys and the wherefores and the consistencies of it–I haven’t got time.”

Albert Bigelow Paine, Mark Twain’s biographer, likewise acknowledged its
greatness, when he said, “1601 is a genuine classic, as classics of that
sort go. It is better than the gross obscenities of Rabelais, and
perhaps in some day to come, the taste that justified Gargantua and the
Decameron will give this literary refugee shelter and setting among the
more conventional writing of Mark Twain. Human taste is a curious thing;
delicacy is purely a matter of environment and point of view.”

Suppose Sir Walter [Scott] instead of putting the conversation into the
mouths of his characters, had allowed the characters to speak for
themselves? We should have had talk from Rebecca and Ivanhoe and the
soft lady Rowena which would embarrass a tramp in our day. However, to
the unconsciously indelicate all things are delicate.”

GOLDSMITH’S FRIEND ABROAD AGAIN, by Twain [MT#52][mtgfa10.txt]3191

No experience is set down in the following letters which had to be
invented. Fancy is not needed to give variety to the history of a
Chinaman’s sojourn in America. Plain fact is amply sufficient.

DEAR CHING-FOO: It is all settled, and I am to leave my oppressed and
overburdened native land and cross the sea to that noble realm where all
are free and all equal, and none reviled or abused–America!

But he said, wait a minute–I must be vaccinated to prevent my taking the
small-pox. I smiled and said I had already had the small-pox, as he
could see by the marks, and so I need not wait to be “vaccinated,” as he
called it. But he said it was the law, and I must be vaccinated anyhow.
The doctor would never let me pass, for the law obliged him to vaccinate
all Chinamen and charge them ten dollars apiece for it, and I might be
sure that no doctor who would be the servant of that law would let a fee
slip through his fingers to accommodate any absurd fool who had seen fit
to have the disease in some other country.

And I grew still more uneasy, when I found that any succored and
befriended refugee from Ireland or elsewhere could stand up before that
judge and swear, away the life or liberty or character of a refugee from
China; but that by the law of the land the Chinaman could not testify
against the Irishman.

CURIOUS REPUBLIC OF GONDOUR, by Mark Twain [MT#53][mtcrg10.txt]3192

I found that the nation had at first tried universal suffrage pure and
simple, but had thrown that form aside because the result was not
satisfactory. It had seemed to deliver all power into the hands of the
ignorant and non-tax-paying classes; and of a necessity the responsible
offices were filled from these classes also.

That last–and saddest evidence of intellectual poverty, the Pun.

Mrs. Murphy jumped to the conclusion that it would only cost two or
three dollars to embalm her dead husband, and so she telegraphed “Yes.”
It was at the “wake” that the bill for embalming arrived and was
presented to the widow. She uttered a wild, sad wail, that pierced every
heart, and said: “Sivinty-foive dollars for stoofhn’ Dan, blister their
sowls! Did thim divils suppose I was goin’ to stairt a Museim, that I’d
be dalin’ in such expinsive curiassities!”

I kind of dodged, and the boot-jack broke the looking-glass. I could
have waited to see what became of the other missiles if I had wanted to,
but I took no interest in such things.

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