Berkeley: University of CA Press, 2010
(9) We are by long odds the most ill-mannered nation, cilivized or savage, that exists on the planet to-day, and our President [Theodore Roosevelt] stands for us like a colossal monument visible from all the ends of the earth. He is fearfully hard and coarse where another gentleman would exhibit kindliness and delicacy.
(37) …this reason always comes first in every matter connected to my life - laziness.
…Titles of honor and dignity once acquired in a democracy, even by accident and properly usable for only forty-eight hours are as permanent here as eternity is in heaven.
…We adore titles and heredities in our hearts, and ridicule them with our mouths. This is our democratic privilege.
(42) The most that I get out of the whole matter is that the Fuller life, like all other lives that climb up into old age or thereabouts, is a tragedy. It is a pity to grow old, because you know that the tragedy is always hanging over you, and if you don’t get out of life by some fortunate accident it will fall on you pretty surely.
(52) The fact that Bliss [publisher] told me these things with his own mouth is unassailable evidence that they were not true. Six weeks before the book issued from the press Bliss told the truth once, to see how it would taste, but it overstrained him and he died.
(69) To be a human being of any kind is a hard enough lot, and unpleasant and disreputable in the best of circumstances.
(88) They had completed the human being’s first duty - which is to think about himself until he has exhausted the subject, then he is in a condition to take up minor interests and think of other people.
(115) I am no lazier now than I was forty years ago, but that is because I reached the limit forty years ago. You can’t go beyond possibility.
(127) It is a grotesquerie, but when the human race is not grotesque it is because it is asleep and losing its opportunity.
(129-130) We are told that the two halves of our God are only seemingly disconnected by their separation; that in very fact the two halves remain one, and equally powerful, notwithstanding the separation. This being the case, the earthly half - who mourns over the sufferings of mankind and would like to remove them, and is quite competent to remove them at any moment He may choose - satisfies Himself with restoring sight to a blind person, here and there, instead of restoring it to all the blind; cures a cripple, here and there, instead of curing all the cripples; furnishes to five thousand famishing persons a meal, and lets the rest of the millions that are hungry remain hungry - and all the time He admonishes inefficient man to cure these ills which God Himself inflicted upon him, and which He could extinguish with a word if He chose to do it, and thus do a plain duty which he had neglected from the beginning and always will neglect while time shall last. He raised several dead persons to life. He manifestly regarded this as a kindness. If it was a kindness it was not just to confine it to a half a dozen persons. He should have raised the rest of the dead. I would not do it myself, for I think the dead are the only human beings who are really well off - but I merely mention it, in passing, as one of those curious incongruities with which our Bible history is heavily overcharged.
(153) People ought to start dead, and then they would be honest so much earlier.
(182) WW Jacobs' Dialstone Lane
(236) I am not jesting. I have studied these things a long time and I positively believe that the first crcumstance that ever happened in this world was the parent of every circumstance that has happened in this world since; that God ordered that first circumstance and has never ordered another one from that day to this. Plainly, then, I am not able to conceive of such a thing as the thing which we call an _accident_ - that is to say, an event without a cause. Each event has its own place in the eternal chain of circumstances, and whether it be big or little it will infallibly cause the _next_ event, whether the next event be the breaking of a child’s toy or the destruction of a throne. According to this superstition of mine, the breaking of the toy is fully as important an event as the destruction of the throne, since without the breaking of the toy the destruction of the throne would not have happened.
(239) No accident ever comes late; it always arrives precisely on time.
(269) …which could compel a tear, even if tears and diamonds stood at the same price in the market.
(277) Apparently, broadly speaking, life is just that, simply that - a tragedy; with a dash of comedy distributed through it, here and there.
(288) I believe that our Heavenly Father invented man because he was disappointed in the monkey.
(316) By and by I concluded to word the phrase like this: “civilization is a condition wherein every man is of necessity both a master and a slave.”
(338) One author per lustrum produces a book which can outlive the forty-two-year limit and that is all.
lustrum - a period of five years
NB: Twain advocated copyright in perpetuity
(376) orchestrelle - player organ designed to mimic the sound of an orchestra, manufactured and used from the late 19th century to early 20th
(381) …whenever I have diverged from custom and principle and uttered a truth, the rule has been that the hearer hadn’t the strength of mind enough to believe it.
(383) The last quarter of a century of my life has been pretty constantly and faithfully devoted to the study of the human race - that is to say, the study of myself, for, in my individual person, I am the entire human race compacted together.
(409) The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet.
(409-410) Before Jay Gould’s time there was a fine phrase, a quite elegant phrase, that was on everybody’s lips, and everybody enjoyed repeating it, day and night, and everywhere, and of enjoying the thrill of it: “The press is the palladium of our liberties.” It was a serious saying, and it was a true saying, but it is long ago dead, and has been tucked safely away in the limbo of oblivion. No one would venture to utter it now except as a sarcasm.
(412) …I am the human race compacted and crammed into a single suit of clothes, but quite able to represent its entire massed multitude in all its moods and inspirations.
(622) George H Sutton (1870-1938)… Despite losing both his arms to the elbow in a sawmill accident at the age of eight, he astonished observers with his remarkable skill [as a professional billiards player, he also trained as a doctor].
(647) Thaw’s lawyer argues he suffered from “dementia Americana,” a previously unknown ailment wherein zealousness in defense of female chastity turns into uncontrollable violence.