Posts tagged ‘Mark Twain’



Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views on men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.

Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad (1869)

Note: This quote was submitted by Anna Harris


a reality

When we think of friends, and call their faces out of the shadows and their voices out of the echoes that faint along the corridors of memory, and do it without knowing why, save that we love to do it, we may content ourselves that friendship is a Reality, and not a Fancy—that it is builded upon a rock, and not upon the sands that dissolve away with the ebbing tides and carry their monuments with them.

Mark Twain, letter to Mary Mason Fairbanks (1869)


sweet and steady and loyal and enduring

The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.

Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson (1894)



In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then He made School Boards.

Mark Twain, Following the Equator (1899)


high and delicate art

The humorous story is American, the comic story is English, the witty story is French. The humorous story depends for its effect on the manner of the telling; the comic story and the witty story depend upon the matter. The humorous story may be spun out to great length, and may wander around as much as it please, and arrive nowhere in particular; but the comic and witty stories must be brief and end with a point. The humorous story bubbles gently along, the others burst. The humorous story is strictly a work of art—high and delicate art—and only an artist can tell it…The art of telling a humorous story—understand, I mean by word of mouth, not print—was created in America, and has remained at home.

Mark Twain, “How to Tell a Story” (1897)



Put all your eggs in the one basket and—WATCH THAT BASKET.

Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson (1894)

Note: This sentence, with its punctuation and capitalization, is taken from Mark Twain. However, it should be noted that Andrew Carnegie said the very same thing in a speech in 1885: “Put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket.”



Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens), Merle Johnson’s More Maxims of Mark (1927)

Note: This quote is commonly attributed to Mr. Twain, and Johnson’s reference (above) is the earliest record of this quote; that being said, there is no record of the exact quote in any of Twain’s published writings (via quoteinvestigator).



APRIL 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.

Mark Twain, The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson (1894)



…she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.

Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)



A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.

Mark Twain, “What is Man?” (1906)


a consummate ass

The gentle reader will never, never know what a consummate ass he can become, until he goes abroad.

Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad (1869)



We haven’t all had the good fortune to be ladies; we haven’t all been generals, or poets, or statesmen; but when the toast works down to the babies, we stand on common ground.

Mark Twain, answering a toast, “To the Babies,” at a banquet in honor of General U.S. Grant (1879)


no surer way

I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.

Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894)


partially insane

Let us consider that we are all partially insane. It will explain us to each other; it will unriddle many riddles; it will make clear and simple many things which are involved in haunting and harassing difficulties and obscurities now…All Democrats are insane, but not one of them knows it; none but the Republicans and Mugwumps know it. All the Republicans are insane, but only the Democrats and Mugwumps can perceive it. The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.

Mark Twain,  “Christian Science” (1907)

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