- After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside it without her.
- notice: Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot. by order of the author.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)
- There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) ch. 1
- All kings is mostly rapscallions.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) ch. 23
- Hain't we got all the fools in town on our side? and ain't that a big enough majority in any town?
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) ch. 26
- You can't pray a lie.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) ch. 31
- To promise not to do a thing is the surest way in the world to make a body want to go and do that very thing.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) ch. 22
- My mother had a good deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.
- Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run.
A Curious Dream (1872) ‘Facts concerning the Recent Resignation’
- I find that principles have no real force except when one is well fed.
Extracts from Adam's Diary (1893)
- Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it.
Following the Equator
(1897) ch. 7; see Armstrong
- The secret source of humour itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humour in Heaven.
Following the Equator (1897) ch. 10
- It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practise either of them.
Following the Equator (1897) ch. 20
- Nothing has been left undone, either by man or Nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds.
Following the Equator (1897) ch. 21
- ‘Classic’. A book which people praise and don't read.
Following the Equator (1897) ch. 25
- Man is the Only Animal that Blushes. Or needs to.
Following the Equator (1897) ch. 27
- There are several good protections against temptations, but the surest is cowardice.
Following the Equator (1897) ch. 36
- 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.
Following the Equator (1897) ch. 39
- By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity. Another man's, I mean.
Following the Equator (1897) ch. 39
- India has 2,000,000 gods, and worships them all. In religion all other countries are paupers; India is the only millionaire.
Following the Equator (1897) ch. 43
- It takes your enemy and your friend, working together, to hurt you to the heart: the one to slander you and the other to get the news to you.
Following the Equator (1897) ch. 45
- Laws are sand, customs are rock. Laws can be evaded and punishment escaped, but an openly transgressed custom brings sure punishment.
The Gorky Incident (1906)
- I can stand any society. All that I care to know is that a man is a human being—that is enough for me; he can't be any worse.
How To Tell a Story and other essays (1900) ‘Concerning the Jews’
- The innocents abroad.
title of book (1869)
- I must have a prodigious quantity of mind; it takes me as much as a week, sometimes, to make it up.
The Innocents Abroad (1869) ch. 7
- Lump the whole thing! say that the Creator made Italy from designs by Michael Angelo!
The Innocents Abroad (1869) ch. 27
- Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
The Innocents Abroad (1869) ‘Conclusion’
- There are laws to protect the freedom of the press's speech, but none that are worth anything to protect the people from the press.
‘License of the Press’ (1873)
- There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
Life on the Mississippi (1883)
- The more things are forbidden, the more popular they become.
Mark Twain's Notebook (1895)
- Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
The Mysterious Stranger (1916)
- What a good thing Adam had. When he said a good thing he knew nobody had said it before.
- Familiarity breeds contempt—and children.
- Good breeding consists in concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.
- Name the greatest of all the inventors. Accident.
- Adam was but human—this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple's sake; he wanted it only because it was forbidden.
Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894) ch. 2
- Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.
Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894) ch. 5
- One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.
Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894) ch. 7
- All say, ‘How hard it is to die’—a strange complaint to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894) ch. 10
- When angry, count four; when very angry, swear.
(1894) ch. 10; see Jefferson
- As to the Adjective: when in doubt, strike it out.
Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894) ch. 11
- Put all your eggs in the one basket, and—watch that basket.
Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894) ch. 15
- It were not best that we should all think alike; it is difference of opinion that makes horse-races.
Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894) ch. 19
- Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894) ch. 19
- April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.
Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894) ch. 21 ‘Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar’
- There's plenty of boys that will come hankering and grovelling around you when you've got an apple, and beg the core off of you; but when they've got one, and you beg for the core and remind them how you give them a core one time, they say thank you 'most to death, but there ain't-a-going to be no core.
Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894)
- The cross of the Legion of Honour has been conferred on me. However, few escape that distinction.
A Tramp Abroad (1880)
- Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.
in Territorial Enterprise [Virginia City] 1 January 1863
- A baby is an inestimable blessing and bother.
letter to Annie Webster, 1 September 1876
- There is a sumptuous variety about the New England weather that compels the stranger's admiration—and regret. The weather is always doing something there; always attending strictly to business; always getting up new designs and trying them on the people to see how they will go.
speech to New England Society, 22 December 1876, in Speeches (1910)
- All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.
letter to Mrs Foote, 2 December 1887, in B. DeCasseres When Huck Finn Went Highbrow (1934)
- 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.
George Bainton The Art of Authorship (1890)
- The report of my death was an exaggeration.
usually quoted as ‘Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated’
in New York Journal 2 June 1897
- The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's.
letter to W. D. Howells, 2 April 1899
- Get your facts first, and then you can distort 'em as much as you please.
Rudyard Kipling From Sea to Sea (1899) letter 37
- Heaven for climate, and hell for society.
- Better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.
attributed, perhaps apocryphal
- Golf is a good walk spoiled.
- When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.
attributed in Reader's Digest September 1939, but not traced in his works