Quotes from The Innocents Abroad

Mark Twain ·  560 pages

Rating: (9.6K votes)


“In Paris they just simply opened their eyes and stared when we spoke to them in French! We never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“One must travel, to learn. Every day, now, old Scriptural phrases that never possessed any significance for me before, take to themselves a meaning.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“The gentle reader will never, never know what a consummate ass he can become until he goes abroad. I speak now, of course, in the supposition that the gentle reader has not been abroad, and therefore is not already a consummate ass. If the case be otherwise, I beg his pardon and extend to him the cordial hand of fellowship and call him brother. I shall always delight to meet an ass after my own heart when I have finished my travels.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“She kept up her compliments, and I kept up my determination to deserve them or die.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad



“Memories which someday will become all beautiful when the last annoyance that encumbers them shall have faded out of our minds.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“We wish to learn all the curious, outlandish ways of all the different countries, so that we can "show off" and astonish people when we get home. We wish to excite the envy of our untraveled friends with our strange foreign fashions which we can't shake off.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“Schoolboy days are no happier than the days of afterlife, but we look back upon them regretfully because we have forgotten our punishments at school and how we grieved when our marbles were lost and our kites destroyed – because we have forgotten all the sorrows and privations of the canonized ethic and remember only its orchard robberies, its wooden-sword pageants, and its fishing holidays.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“As far as I can see, Italy, for fifteen hundred years, has turned all her energies, all her finances, and all her industry to the building up of a vast array of wonderful church edifices, and starving half her citizens to accomplish it. She is today one vast museum of magnificence and misery. All the churches in an ordinary American city put together could hardly buy the jeweled frippery in one of her hundred cathedrals. And for every beggar in America, Italy can show a hundred - and rags and vermin to match. It is the wretchedest, princeliest land on earth.
Look at the grande Doumo of Florence - a vast pile that has been sapping the purses of her citizens for five hundred years, and is not nearly finished yet. Like all other men,
I fell down and worshiped it, but when the filthy beggars swarmed around me the contrast was too striking, too suggestive, and I said. "Oh, sons of classic Italy, is the spirit of enterprise, of self-reliance, of noble endeavor, utterly dead within ye? Curse your indolent worthlessness, why don't you rob your church?”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“Human nature appears to be just the same, all over the world”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad



“The nomadic instinct is a human instinct;”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“I never felt so fervently thankful, so soothed, so tranquil, so filled with a blessed peace, as I did yesterday when I learned that Michael Angelo was dead.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“Mosques are plenty, churches are plenty, graveyards are plenty, but morals and whiskey are scarce. The Koran does not permit Mohammedans to drink. Their natural instincts do not permit them to be moral. They say the Sultan has eight hundred wives. This almost amounts to bigamy. It makes our cheeks burn with shame to see such a thing permitted here in Turkey. We do not mind it so much in Salt Lake, however.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“Why will people be so stupid as to suppose themselves the only foreigners among a crowd of ten thousand persons?”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad



“The word Palestine always brought to my mind a vague suggestion of a country as large as the United States. I do not know why, but such was the case. I suppose it was because I could not conceive of a small country having so large a history.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“The guide showed us a coffee-colored piece of sculpture which he said was considered to have come from the hand of Phidias, since it was not possible that any other artist, of any epoch, could have copied nature with such faultless accuracy. The figure was that of a man without a skin; with every vein, artery, muscle, every fibre and tendon and tissue of the human frame, represented in detail. It looked natural, because somehow it looked as if it were in pain. A skinned man would be likely to look that way, unless his attention were occupied with some other matter. It was a hideous thing, and yet there was a fascination about it some where. I am sorry I saw it, because I shall always see it, now. I shall dream of it, sometimes. I shall dream that it is resting its corded arms on the bed's head and looking down on me with its dead eyes; I shall dream that it is stretched between the sheets with me and touching me with its exposed muscles and its stringy cold legs.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“In this same library we saw some drawings by Michael Angelo (these Italians call him Mickel Angelo,) and Leonardo da Vinci. (They spell it Vinci and pronounce it Vinchy; foreigners always spell better than they pronounce.)”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“It is hard to make railroading pleasant in any country. It is too tedious.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“Occasionally, merely for the pleasure of being cruel, we put unoffending Frenchmen on the rack with questions framed in the incomprehensible jargon of their native language, and while they writhed, we impaled them, we peppered them, we scarified them, with their own vile verbs and participles.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad



“The nomadic instinct is a human instinct; it was born with Adam and transmitted through the patriarchs, and after thirty centuries of steady effort, civilization has not educated it entirely out of us yet. It”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“I do not mind Bedouins,—I am not afraid of them; because neither Bedouins nor ordinary Arabs have shown any disposition to harm us, but I do feel afraid of my own comrades.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“In the afternoon the ship's company assembled aft, on deck, under the awnings; the flute, the asthmatic meodeon, and the consumptive clarinet crippled the Star Spangled Banner, the choir chased it to cover, and George came in with a peculiarly lacerating screech on the final note and slaughtered it. Nobody mourned. We carried out the corpse on three cheers (that joke was not intentional and I do not endorse it).”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“The gentle reader will never, never know what a consummate ass he can become, until he goes abroad.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“We shall remember ...... Damascus, the "Pearl of the East", the pride of Syria, the fabled garden of Eden, the home of princes and genii of the Arabian Nights,the oldest metropolis on Earth, the one city in all the world that has kept its name and held its place and looked serenely on while the Kingdoms and Empires of four thousand years have risen to life, enjoyed their little season of pride and pomp, and then vanished and been forgotten”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad



“It surprises me sometimes to think how much we do know and how intelligent we are.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“These coins are not very valuable. Jack went out to get a napoleon changed, so as to have money suited to the general cheapness of things, and came back and said he had "swamped the bank, had bought eleven quarts of coin, and the head of the firm had gone on the street to negotiate for the balance of the change." I bought nearly half a pint of their money for a shilling myself. I am not proud on account of having so much money, though. I care nothing for wealth.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“But we love the Old Travelers. We love to hear them prate and drivel and lie. We can tell them the moment we see them. They always throw out a few feelers; they never cast themselves adrift till they have sounded every individual and know that he has not traveled. Then they open their throttle valves, and how they do brag, and sneer, and swell, and soar, and blaspheme the sacred name of Truth! Their central idea, their grand aim, is to subjugate you, keep you down, make you feel insignificant and humble in the blaze of their cosmopolitan glory! They will not let you know anything. They sneer at your most inoffensive suggestions; they laugh unfeelingly at your treasured dreams of foreign lands; they brand the statements of your traveled aunts and uncles as the stupidest absurdities; they deride your most trusted authors and demolish the fair images they have set up for your willing worship with the pitiless ferocity of the fanatic iconoclast! But still I love the Old Travelers. I love them for their witless platitudes, for their supernatural ability to bore, for their delightful asinine vanity, for their luxuriant fertility of imagination, for their startling, their brilliant, their overwhelming mendacity!”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“Oh, go to bed!" Dan said that, and went away.
"Oh, yes, it's all very well to say go to bed when a man makes an argument which another man can't answer.”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad


“Damascus, is simply an oasis, that is what it is. For four thousand years its waters have not gone dry or its fertility failed. Now we can understand why the city has existed so long. It could not die. So long as its waters remain to it away out there in the midst of that howling desert, so long will Damascus live to bless the sight of the tired and thirsty wayfarer.
"Though old as history itself, thou art fresh as the breath of spring, blooming as thine own orange flower, O Damascus, the pearl of the East!".”
― Mark Twain, quote from The Innocents Abroad



About the author

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