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Mark Twain Quotes

60 of the best book quotes from Mark Twain
  1. #1
    “You ought never to “sass” old people—unless they “sass” you first.”
  2. #2
    “All kings is mostly rapscallions, as fur as I can make out.”
  3. #3
    “All right then, I’ll go to hell”
  4. #4
    Tom told me what his plan 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.
  5. #5
    “Oh come, now, you don’t mean to let on that you like it?”
    The brush continued to move.
    “Like it? Well I don’t see why I oughtn’t to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?”
    That put the thing in a new light. Ben stopped nibbling his apple. Tom swept his brush daintily back and forth—stepped back to note the effect—added a touch here and there—criticized the effect again—Ben watching every move and getting more and more interested, more and more absorbed. Presently he said:
    “Say, Tom, let me whitewash a little.”
  6. #6
    “Ah, if he could only die temporarily!”
  7. #7
    “I could forgive the boy, now, if he’d committed a million sins!”
  8. #8
    “Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And hain’t that a big enough majority in any town?”
  1. #9
    “What’s the use you learning to do right when it’s troublesome to do right and ain’t no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?”
  2. #10
    “Oh, they just have a bully time - take ships, and burn them, and get the money and bury it in awful places in their island where there’s ghosts and things to watch, it, and kill everybody in the ships - make ‘em walk a plank. they don’t kill the women - they’re too noble. And the women’s always beautiful, too.”
  3. #11
    “They said they would rather be outlaws a year in Sherwood Forest than President of the United States forever.”
  4. #12
    “Human beings can be awful cruel to one another.”
  5. #13
    “You only just tell a boy you won’t ever have anybody but him, ever ever ever, and then you kiss and that’s all. Anybody can do it.”
  6. #14
    “Huckleberry was cordially hated and dreaded by all the mothers of the town because he was idle, and lawless, and vulgar, and bad - and because all their children admired him so, and delighted in his forbidden society, and wished they dared to be like him.”
  7. #15
    “Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and a body ain’t got no business doing wrong when he ain’t ignorant and knows better.”
  8. #16
    “Often, the less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it.”
  1. #17
    “Tom was a glittering hero once more-the pet of the old, the envy of the young. His name even went into immortal print, for the village paper magnified him. There were some that believed he would be President, yet, if he escaped hanging.”
  2. #18
    “Sometimes you gwyne to git hurt, en sometimes you gwyne to git sick; but every time you’s gwyne to git well agin.”
  3. #19
    “He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it — namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain.”
  4. #20
    “Stars and shadows ain’t good to see by.”
  5. #21
    “I couldn’t bear to think about it; and yet, somehow, I couldn’t think about nothing else.”
  6. #22
    “I ain’t doing my duty by that boy, and that’s the Lord’s truth, goodness knows. Spare the rod and spile the child, as the Good Book says. I’m a-laying up sin and suffering for us both, I know. He’s full of the Old Scratch, but laws-a-me! he’s my own dead sister’s boy, poor thing, and I ain’t got the heart to lash him, somehow. Every time I let him off, my conscience does hurt me so, and every time I hit him my old heart most breaks.”
  7. #23
    “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.”
  8. #24
    “You can’t pray a lie – I found that out.”
  1. #25
    “The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d druther not.”
  2. #26
    “I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.”
  3. #27
    “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
  4. #28
    “Be respectful to your superiors, if you have any.”
  5. #29
    “The average man don’t like trouble and danger.”
  6. #30
    “I knowed very well why [the words] 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.”
  7. #31
    “He was sunshine most always-I mean he made it seem like good weather.”
  8. #32
    “I was mighty down-hearted; so I made up my mind I wouldn’t ever go anear that house again, because I reckoned I was to blame, somehow.”
  1. #33
    “I do not wish any reward but to know I have done the right thing.”
  2. #34
    “But the elastic heart of youth cannot be compressed into one constrained shape long at a time. Tom presently began to drift insensibly back into the concerns of his life again. What if he turned his back, now, and disappeared mysteriously? . . . [H]e would join the Indians . . . He would be a pirate! That was it! Now his future lay plain before him, and glowing with unimaginable splendor.”
  3. #35
    “There was not even a zephyr stirring; the dead noonday heat had even stilled the songs of the birds; nature lay in a trance that was broken by no sound but the occasional far-off hammering of a woodpecker, and this seemed to render the pervading silence and sense of loneliness the more profound. The boy’s soul was steeped in melancholy; his feelings were in happy accord with his surroundings.”
  4. #36
    “Saturday morning was come, and all the summer world was bright and fresh, and brimming with life. There was a song in every heart . . . There was cheer in every face and a spring in every step. The locust trees were in bloom and the fragrance of the blossoms filled the air.”
  5. #37
    “I don’t want no better book than what your face is.”
  6. #38
    “′Classic′ - a book which people praise and don’t read.”
  7. #39
    “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.”
  8. #40
    “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”
  1. #41
    “The elastic heart of youth cannot be compressed into one constrained shape long at a time.”
  2. #42
    “The minister gave out his text and droned along monotonously through an argument that was so prosy that many a head by and by began to nod — and yet it was an argument that dealt in limitless fire and brimstone and thinned the predestined elect down to a company so small as to be hardly worth the saving.”
  3. #43
    “He was not the Model Boy of the village. He knew the model boy very well though--and loathed him.”
  4. #44
    “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.”
  5. #45
    “Jim said that bees won’t sting idiots, but I didn’t believe that, because I tried them lots of times myself and they wouldn’t sting me.”
  6. #46
    “When in doubt, tell the truth.”
  7. #47
    “It’s the little things that smooths people’s roads the most.”
  8. #48
    “There was no getting around the stubborn fact that taking sweetmeats was only “hooking,” while taking bacon and hams and such valuables was plain simple stealing — and there was a command against that in the Bible. So they inwardly resolved that so long as they remained in the business, their piracies should not again be sullied with the crime of stealing.”
  1. #49
    “Here was a gorgeous triumph; they were missed; they were mourned; hearts were breaking on their account; tears were being shed; accusing memories of unkindnesses to these poor lost lads were rising up, and unavailing regrets and remorse were being indulged: and best of all, the departed were the talk of the whole town, and the envy of all the boys, as far as this dazzling notoriety was concerned. This was fine. It was worth being a pirate, after all.”
  2. #50
    “Look here, if you’re telling the truth you needn’t be afraid--nobody’ll hurt you.”
  3. #51
    “Now we’ll start this band of robbers and call it Tom Sawyer’s gang. Everybody that wants to join has got to take an oath, and write his name in blood.”
  4. #52
    “There warn’t anybody at the church, except maybe a hog or two, for there warn’t any lock on the door, and hogs likes a puncheon floor in summer-time because it’s cool. If you notice, most folks don’t go to church only when they’ve got to: but a hog is different.”
  5. #53
    “Tom appeared on the sidewalk with a bucket of whitewash and a long-handled brush. He surveyed the fence, and all gladness left him and a deep melancholy settled down upon his spirit. Thirty yards of board fence nine feet high. Life to him seemed hollow, and existence but a burden.”
  6. #54
    “A person’s conscience ain’t got no sense, and just goes for him anyway.”
  7. #55
    “When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction.”
  8. #56
    “Tom was a glittering hero once more—the pet of the old, the envy of the young. His name even went into immortal print, for the village paper magnified him. There were some that believed he would be President, yet, if he escaped hanging.”
  9. #57
    “Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.”
  10. #58
    “That’s just the way: a person does a low-down thing, and then he don’t want to take no consequences of it. Thinks as long as he can hide it, it ain’t no disgrace. That was my fix exactly.”
  11. #59
    “That is just the way with some people. They get down on a thing when they don’t know nothing about it.”
  12. #60
    “Say, Becky, was you ever engaged?”
    “What’s that?”
    “Why, engaged to be married.”
    “No.”
    “Would you like to?”
    “I reckon so. I don’t know. What is it like?”
    “Like? Why it ain’t like anything. You only just tell a boy you won’t ever have anybody but him, ever ever ever, and then you kiss and that’s all. Anybody can do it.”
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