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29+ quotes from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Quotes from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Mark Twain ·  244 pages

Rating: (632K votes)


“The less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“Ah, if he could only die temporarily!”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“Tom said to himself that it was not such a hollow world, after all. 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 attain. If he had been a great and wise philosopher, like the writer of this book, he would now have comprehended that Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do. And this would help him to understand why constructing artificial flowers or performing on a tread-mill is work, while rolling ten-pins or climbing Mont Blanc is only amusement. There are wealthy gentlemen in England who drive four-horse passenger-coaches twenty or thirty miles on a daily line, in the summer, because the privilege costs them considerable money; but if they were offered wages for the service, that would turn it into work and then they would resign.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“Tom said to himself that it was not such a hollow world, after all. 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 attain.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“Well, everybody does it that way, Huck."
"Tom, I am not everybody.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“Huck was always willing to take a hand in any enterprise that offered entertainment and required no capital, for he had a troublesome super-abundance of that sort of time which is not money.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“What's your name?"
"Becky Thatcher. What's yours? Oh, I know. It's Thomas Sawyer."
"That's the name they lick me by. I'm Tom when I'm good. You call me Tom, will you?"
"Yes”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“Who knows, he may grow up to be President someday, unless they hang him first!"
Aunt Polly about Tom Sawyer”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“A brown spotted lady-bug climbed the dizzy height of a grass blade, and Tom bent down close to it and said, "Lady-bug, lady-bug, fly away home, your house is on fire, your children's alone," and she took wing and went off to see about it -- which did not surprise the boy, for he knew of old that this insect was credulous about conflagrations, and he had practised upon its simplicity more than once.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“he would now have comprehended that work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and that play consists of whaterver a body is not obliged to do. And this would help him to understand why construcing artificial flowers or performing on a tread-mill, is work, whilst rolling nine-pins or climbing Mont Blanc is only amusement. There are wealthy gentlemen in England who drive four-horse passenger-coaches twenty or thirty miles on a daily line, in the summer, because the privilege costs them considerable money; but if they were offered wages for the service that would turn it into work, then they would resign.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“Saturday morning was come, and all the summer world was bright and fresh, and brimming with life. There was a song in every heart; and if the heart was young, the music issued at the lips. 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. Cardiff Hill, beyond the village and above, it was green with vegetation, and it lay just far enough away to seem a Delectable Land, dreamy, reposeful, and inviting.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“Let us draw the curtain of charity over the rest of this scene”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“They said they would rather be outlaws a year in Sherwood Forest than President of the United States forever.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“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.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“What a curious kind of fool a girl is. Never been licked in school. What's a licking?”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“When one writes a novel about grown people, he knows exactly where to stop - that is, with a marriage; but when he writes about juveniles, he must stop where he best can.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“لكنه اكتشف شيئا جديدا وهو أن الوعد بألا تفعل شيئا ما هو أفضل الطرق لجعلك تتوق لأن تفعل ذلك الشئ .”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“In the common walks of life, with what delightful emotions does the youthful mind look forward to some anticipated scene of festivity! Imagination is busy sketching rose-tinted pictures of joy. In fancy, the voluptuous votary of fashion sees herself amid the festive throng, 'the observed of all observers.' Her graceful form, arrayed in snowy robes, is whirling through the mazes of the joyous dance; her eye is brightest, her step is lightest in the gay assembly. "In such delicious fancies time quickly glides by, and the welcome hour arrives for her entrance into the Elysian world, of which she has had such bright dreams. How fairy-like does everything appear to her enchanted vision! Each new scene is more charming than the last. But after a while she finds that beneath this goodly exterior, all is vanity, the flattery which once charmed her soul, now grates harshly upon her ear; the ball-room has lost its charms; and with wasted health and imbittered heart, she turns away with the conviction that earthly pleasures cannot satisfy the longings of the soul!”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“Often, the less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“The choir always tittered and whispered all through service. There was once a church choir that was not ill-bred, but I have forgotten where it was, now. It was a great many years ago, and I can scarcely remember anything about it, but I think it was in some foreign country.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“she makes me wash, they make me comb all to thunder; she won't let me sleep in the woodshed... the widder [widow] eats by a bell; she goes to bed by a bell; she wakes up by a bell-everything's so awful reg'lar a body can't stand it”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“Maybe not, maybe not. Cheer up, Becky, and let's go on trying.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“Then at once they reached and hovered upon the imminent verge of sleep - but an intruder came, now, that would not "down". It was conscience. They began to feel a vague fear that they had been doing wrong to run away; and next they thought of the stolen meat, and then the real torture came [...] 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. Then conscience granted a truce, and these curiously inconsistent pirates fell peacefully to sleep.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“Tom felt that it was time to wake up; this sort of life might be romantic enough, in his blighted condition, but it was getting to have too little sentiment and too much distracting variety about it. So he thought over various plans for relief, and finally hit pon that of professing to be fond of Pain-killer. He asked for it so often that he became a nuisance, and his aunt ended by telling him to help himself and quit bothering her. If it had been Sid, she would have had no misgivings to alloy her delight; but since it was Tom, she watched the bottle clandestinely. She found that the medicine did really diminish, but it did not occur to her that the boy was mending the health of a crack in the sitting-room floor with it.

One day Tom was in the act of dosing the crack when his aunt's yellow cat came along, purring, eying the teaspoon avariciously, and begging for a taste. Tom said:

"Don't ask for it unless you want it, Peter."

But Peter signified that he did want it.

"You better make sure."

Peter was sure.

"Now you've asked for it, and I'll give it to you, because there ain't anything mean about me; but if you find you don't like it, you mustn't blame anybody but your own self."

Peter was agreeable. So Tom pried his mouth open and poured down the Pain-killer. Peter sprang a couple of yards in the air, and then delivered a war-whoop and set off round and round the room, banging against furniture, upsetting flower-pots, and making general havoc. Next he rose on his hind feet and pranced around, in a frenzy of enjoyment, with his head over his shoulder and his voice proclaiming his unappeasable happiness. Then he went tearing around the house again spreading chaos and destruction in his path. Aunt Polly entered in time to see him throw a few double summersets, deliver a final mighty hurrah, and sail through the open window, carrying the rest of the flower-pots with him. The old lady stood petrified with astonishment, peering over her glasses; Tom lay on the floor expiring with laughter.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“It was the cool gray dawn, and there was a delicious sense of repose and peace in the deep pervading calm and silence of the woods. Not a leaf stirred; not a sound obtruded upon great Nature's meditation [...] Gradually the cool dim gray of the morning whitened, and as gradually sounds multiplied and life manifested itself. The marvel of Nature shaking off sleep and going to work unfolded itself to the musing boy [...] All Nature was wide awake and stirring, now; long lances of sunlight pierced down through the dense foliage far and near, and a few butterflies came fluttering upon the scene.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“So endeth this chronicle. It being strictly a history of a boy, it must stop here; the story could not go much further without becoming the history of a man.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“Hang the boy, can't I never learn anything? Ain't he played tricks on me enough like that for me to be looking out for him by this time? But old fools is the biggest fools there is. Can;t learn an old dog new tricks, as the saying is. But my goodness, he never plays them alike, two days, and how is a body to know what's coming? He 'pears to know just how long he can torment me before I get my dander up and he knows if he can make out to put me off for a minute or make me laugh, it's all down again and I can't hit him a lick. 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 the both of us, 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 almost breaks. Well-a-well, man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble, as the Scripture says, and I reckon it's so. He'll play hooky this evening, and I'll just be obleeged to make him work tomorrow, to punish him. It's mighty hard to make him work Saturdays, when all the boys is having holiday, but he hates work more than he hates anything else, and I've got to do some of my duty by him, or I'll be the ruination of the child.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“The old lady pulled her spectacles down and looked over them about the room; then she put them up and looked out under them. She seldom or never looked through them for so small a thing as a boy; they were her state pair, the pride of her heart, and were built for "style," not service — she could have seen through a pair of stove-lids just as well. She looked perplexed for a moment, and then said, not fiercely, but still loud enough for the furniture to hear:”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


“Well, I lay if I get hold of you I'll —”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer


About the author

Mark Twain
Born place: in Florida, Missouri, The United States
Born date November 30, 1835
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