Quotes from The Autobiography of Mark Twain

Mark Twain ·  508 pages

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“What a wee little part of a person's life are his acts and his words! His real life is lead in his head, and is known to none but himself. All day long, and every day, the mill of his brain is grinding, and his thoughts, (which are but the mute articulation of his feelings,) not those other things are his history. His acts and his words are merely the visible thin crust of his world, with its scattered snow summits and its vacant wastes of water-and they are so trifling a part of his bulk! a mere skin enveloping it. The mass of him is hidden-it and its volcanic fires that toss and boil, and never rest, night nor day. These are his life, and they are not written, and cannot be written.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Autobiography of Mark Twain


“We had a little slave boy whom we had hired from some one, there in Hannibal. He was from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and had been brought away from his family and his friends, half way across the American continent, and sold. He was a cheery spirit, innocent and gentle, and the noisiest creature that ever was, perhaps. All day long he was singing, whistling, yelling, whooping, laughing - it was maddening, devastating, unendurable. At last, one day, I lost all my temper, and went raging to my mother, and said Sandy had been singing for an hour without a single break, and I couldn't stand it, and wouldn't she please shut him up.
The tears came into her eyes, and her lip trembled, and she said something like this - 'Poor thing, when he sings, it shows that he is not remembering, and that comforts me; but when he is still, I am afraid he is thinking, and I cannot bear it. He will never see his mother again; if he can sing, I must not hinder it, but be thankful for it. If you were older, you would understand me; then that friendless child's noise would make you glad.' It was a simple speech, and made up of small words, but it went home, and Sandy's noise was not a trouble to me any more.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Autobiography of Mark Twain


“A myriad of men are born; they labor and sweat and struggle for bread; they squabble and scold and fight; they scramble for little mean advantages over each other. Age creeps upon them; infirmities follow; shames and humiliations bring down their prides and their vanities. Those they love are taken from them and the joy of life is turned to aching grief. The burden of pain, care, misery, grows heavier year by year. At length ambition is dead; pride is dead; vanity is dead; longing for release is in their place. It comes at last - the only unpoisoned gift ever had for them - and they vanish from a world where they were of no consequence; where they achieved nothing; where they were a mistake and a failure and a foolishness; where they have left no sign that have existed - a world which will lament them a day and forget them forever. Then another myriad takes their place and copies all they did and goes along the same profitless road and vanishes as they vanished - to make room for another and another and a million other myriads to follow the same arid path through the same desert and accomplish what the first myriad and all the myriads that came after it accomplished - nothing!”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Autobiography of Mark Twain


“But it seems to be a law of human constitution that those that deserve shall not have and those that do not deserve shall get everything that is worth having.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Autobiography of Mark Twain


“Well, mamma, the Indians believed they knew, but now we know they were wrong. By and by it can turn out that we are wrong. So now I only pray that there might be a God and a heaven – or something better.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Autobiography of Mark Twain



“Mark Twain describes how his friend Ralph Keeler introduced him at the start of a lecture: " 'I don't know anything about this man. At least I know only two things; one is, he hasn't been in the penitentiary, and the other is (after a pause, and almost sadly), I don't know why.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Autobiography of Mark Twain


“I believe our Heavenly Father invented man because he was disappointed in the monkey. I believe that whenever a human being, of even the highest intelligence and culture, delivers an opinion upon a matter apart from his particular and especial line of interest, training and experience, it will always be an opinion of so foolish and so valueless a sort that it can be depended upon to suggest our Heavenly Father that the human being is another disappointment and that he is no considerable improvement upon the monkey.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Autobiography of Mark Twain


“congress - that great, benevolent asylum for the helpless”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Autobiography of Mark Twain


“Covek je stvorenje nacinjeno na kraju radne nedelje kad se Bog umorio. I cemu je trebalo celi ovaj globus stvarati u zurbi, za sest dana. Da se potrosilo malo vise vremena, svet se ne bi trebalo toliko popravljati i poboljsavati. Slicno se desava kad na brzinu sklepas kucu, pa u zurbi zaboravis WC, ili spremiste za metle, i to onda moras naknadno dograditi, bez obzira koliko te to kostalo novaca ili zivaca.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Autobiography of Mark Twain


“My mother had a great deal of trouble with me , but I think she enjoyed it”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Autobiography of Mark Twain



“It is never wrong to do the right thing.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Autobiography of Mark Twain


“I was as hurt by this as if I were engaged in some honest occupation. There is nothing surprising about this. Human beings feel dishonor the most, sometimes, when they most deserve it.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Autobiography of Mark Twain


About the author

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