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.

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