Mark Twain · 327 pages
Rating: (1M votes)
“All right, then, I'll go to hell.”
“That is just the way with some people. They get down on a thing when they don’t know nothing about it.”
“Human beings can be awful cruel to one another.”
“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.”
“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.”
“I couldn't bear to think about it; and yet, somehow, I couldn't think about nothing else.”
“I do not wish any reward but to know I have done the right thing.”
“If you tell the truth you do not need a good memory!”
“Hain't we got all the fools in town on our side? And hain't that a big enough majority in any town?”
“It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray, and see if I couldn't try to quit being the kind of a boy I was and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn't come. Why wouldn't they? It warn't no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from ME, neither. I knowed very well why they 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. I was trying to make my mouth SAY I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and write to that nigger's owner and tell where he was; but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie, and He knowed it. You can't pray a lie--I found that out.
So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and didn't know what to do. At last I had an idea; and I says, I'll go and write the letter--and then see if I can pray. Why, it was astonishing, the way I felt as light as a feather right straight off, and my troubles all gone. So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all glad and excited, and set down and wrote:
Miss Watson, your runaway nigger Jim is down here two mile below Pikesville, and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up for the reward if you send.
I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn't do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking--thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn't seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I'd see him standing my watch on top of his'n, 'stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the ONLY one he's got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper.
It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:
"All right, then, I'll GO to hell"--and tore it up.”
“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?”
“Sometimes you gwyne to git hurt, en sometimes you gwyne to git sick; but every time you's gwyne to git well agin.”
“Stars and shadows ain't good to see by.”
“You can't pray a lie -- I found that out.”
“The average man don't like trouble and danger.”
“He was sunshine most always-I mean he made it seem like good weather.”
“I don't want no better book than what your face is.”
“All kings is mostly rapscallions, as fur as I can make out.”
“To be, or not to be; that is the bare bodkin
That makes calamity of so long life;”
“It's not as bad as it sounds.”
“It's lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky, up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made, or only just happened- Jim he allowed they was made, but I allowed they happened; I judged it would have took too long to make so many.”
“We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world and it's efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don't know anything and can't read-”
“The pitifulest thing out is a mob; that's what an army is--a mob; they don't fight with courage that's born in them, but with courage that's borrowed from their mass, and from their officers. But a mob without any MAN at the head of it is BENEATH pitifulness.”
“I felt so lonesome I most wished I was dead. The stars were shining, and the leaves rustled in the woods ever so mournful; and I heard an owl, away off, who-whooing about somebody that was dead, and a whippowill and a dog crying about somebody that was going to die;”
“There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth.”
“If you are with the quality, or at a funeral, or trying to go to sleep when you ain't sleepy - if you are anywheres where it won't do for you to scratch, why you will itch all over in upwards of a thousand places.”
“Having faith is believing in something you just know ain't true.”
“It didn't take me long to make up my mind that these liars warn't no kings nor dukes at all, but just low-down humbugs and frauds. But I never said nothing, never let on; kept it to myself; it's the best way; then you don't have no quarrels, and don't get into no trouble. If they wanted us to call them kings and dukes, I hadn't no objections, 'long as it would keep peace in the family; and it warn't no use to tell Jim, so I didn't tell him. If I never learnt nothing else out of pap, I learnt that the best way to get along with his kind of people is to let them have their own way.”
“We catched fish, and talked, and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness. It was kind of solemn, drifting down the big still river, laying on our backs looking up at the stars, and we didn’t ever feel like talking loud, and it warn’t often that we laughed, only a kind of low chuckle. We had mighty good weather, as a general thing, and nothing ever happened to us at all, that night, nor the next, nor the next.”
“You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but mainly he told the truth”
“Been having a fight with your blankets, Septimus?" A familiar voice echoed down the chimney. "Looks like you lost," the voice continued with a chuckle. "Not wise to take on a pair of blankets, lad. One, maybe, but two blankets always gang up on you. Vicious things, blankets. ”
“What she loved was being admired, being wanted, being pursued—but she did not think she wanted ever to be caught.”
“What did it mean to a prophet to sing in a God´s own voice? Would that make him a shaman, as in the days described in the Tusk? Or would it make him a god?”
“There were times when I was blown away by the virgin beauty of the land. Kind of like that guy who lost his shit on the internet at the full double rainbow across the sky. Remember that guy? He kept asking what it meant, and it is not so difficult a question to answer. It means that we are loved, like all living things that Gaia sustains. There is a poetry in the canapes of forests and in the gentle roll of hills. A song in the wind and a benediction in the kiss of the sun. There are stories in the chuckle of waters in creeks and epics told in the tides of oceans. There are trees, Granuaile, that seem sometimes like they have grown all their lives just to feel the touch of my hand upon their trunks. They are so welcoming to me. You will feel that welcome in your hands some day. You'll feel it in your toes as you walk upon the earth. I cannot wait to see that love bloom in your eyes....' Tears glistened at the edges of her eyes... She knew precisely what I meant. She understood. And she became almost unbearably beautiful to me in that moment.”
“You…you are amazing, Tess.”
“No, I’m not. I just love you, Jace.”
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