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113 Works of Mark Twain

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I was feeling blithe, almost jocund. I put a match to my cigar, and just then the morning’s mail was handed in. The first superscription I glanced at was in a handwriting that sent a thrill of pleasure through and through me. It was aunt Mary’s; and she was the person I loved and honored […]

The Mysterious Stranger

Story type: Literature

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CHAPTER I It was in 1590 – winter. Austria was far away from the world, and asleep; it was still the Middle Ages in Austria, and promised to remain so forever. Some even set it away back centuries upon centuries and said that by the mental and spiritual clock it was still the Age of […]

Every now and then, in these days, the boys used to tell me I ought to get one Jim Blaine to tell me the stirring story of his grandfather’s old ram—but they always added that I must not mention the matter unless Jim was drunk at the time—just comfortably and sociably drunk. They kept this […]

ONCE there was a bad little boy, whose name was Jim—though, if you will notice, you will find that bad little boys are nearly always called James in your Sunday-school books. It was very strange, but still it was true, that this one was called Jim. He didn’t have any sick mother, either—a sick mother […]

Thirty-five years ago I was out prospecting on the Stanislaus, tramping all day long with pick and pan and horn, and washing a hatful of dirt here and there, always expecting to make a rich strike, and never doing it. It was a lovely region, woodsy, balmy, delicious, and had once been populous, long years […]

[written about 1865] IN ENGLISH. THEN IN FRENCH. THEN CLAWED BACK INTO A CIVILIZED LANGUAGE ONCE MORE BY PATIENT, UNREMUNERATED TOIL. Even a criminal is entitled to fair play; and certainly when a man who has done no harm has been unjustly treated, he is privileged to do his best to right himself. My attention […]

All my life, from boyhood up, I have had the habit of reading a certain set of anecdotes, written in the quaint vein of The World’s ingenious Fabulist, for the lesson they taught me and the pleasure they gave me. They lay always convenient to my hand, and whenever I thought meanly of my kind […]

It was well along in the forenoon of a bitter winter’s day. The town of Eastport, in the state of Maine, lay buried under a deep snow that was newly fallen. The customary bustle in the streets was wanting. One could look long distances down them and see nothing but a dead-white emptiness, with silence […]

As I understand it, what you desire is information about ‘my first lie, and how I got out of it.’ I was born in 1835; I am well along, and my memory is not as good as it was. If you had asked about my first truth it would have been easier for me and […]

It was many years ago. Hadleyburg was the most honest and upright town in all the region round about. It had kept that reputation unsmirched during three generations, and was prouder of it than of any other of its possessions. It was so proud of it, and so anxious to insure its perpetuation, that it […]

‘Yes, I will tell you anything about my life that you would like to know, Mr. Twain,’ she said, in her soft voice, and letting her honest eyes rest placidly upon my face, ‘for it is kind and good of you to like me and care to know about me.’ She had been absently scraping […]

‘It is the first time since the dawn-days of Creation that a Voice has gone crashing through space with such placid and complacent confidence and command.’ I This last summer, when I was on my way back to Vienna from the Appetite-Cure in the mountains, I fell over a cliff in the twilight and broke […]

I was spending the month of March 1892 at Mentone, in the Riviera. At this retired spot one has all the advantages, privately, which are to be had publicly at Monte Carlo and Nice, a few miles farther along. That is to say, one has the flooding sunshine, the balmy air and the brilliant blue […]

In those early days I had already published one little thing (‘The Jumping Frog’) in an Eastern paper, but I did not consider that that counted. In my view, a person who published things in a mere newspaper could not properly claim recognition as a Literary Person: he must rise away above that; he must […]

At The Appetite-Cure

Story type: Literature

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This establishment’s name is Hochberghaus. It is in Bohemia, a short day’s journey from Vienna, and being in the Austrian Empire is of course a health resort. The empire is made up of health resorts; it distributes health to the whole world. Its waters are all medicinal. They are bottled and sent throughout the earth; […]

Eve’s Diary

Story type: Literature

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Translated from the Original SATURDAY.–I am almost a whole day old, now. I arrived yesterday. That is as it seems to me. And it must be so, for if there was a day-before-yesterday I was not there when it happened, or I should remember it. It could be, of course, that it did happen, and […]

MONDAY.–This new creature with the long hair is a good deal in the way. It is always hanging around and following me about. I don’t like this; I am not used to company. I wish it would stay with the other animals. . . . Cloudy today, wind in the east; think we shall have […]

Often a quite assified remark becomes sanctified by use and petrified by custom; it is then a permanency, its term of activity a geologic period. The day after the arrival of Prince Henry I met an English friend, and he rubbed his hands and broke out with a remark that was charged to the brim […]

I never can look at those periodical portraits in THE GALAXY magazine without feeling a wild, tempestuous ambition to be an artist. I have seen thousands and thousands of pictures in my time– acres of them here and leagues of them in the galleries of Europe– but never any that moved me as these portraits […]

The man in the ticket-office said: “Have an accident insurance ticket, also?” “No,” I said, after studying the matter over a little. “No, I believe not; I am going to be traveling by rail all day today. However, tomorrow I don’t travel. Give me one for tomorrow.” The man looked puzzled. He said: “But it […]

Post-mortem Poetry

Story type: Literature

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In Philadelphia they have a custom which it would be pleasant to see adopted throughout the land. It is that of appending to published death-notices a little verse or two of comforting poetry. Any one who is in the habit of reading the daily Philadelphia LEDGER must frequently be touched by these plaintive tributes to […]

Good little girls ought not to make mouths at their teachers for every trifling offense. This retaliation should only be resorted to under peculiarly aggravated circumstances. If you have nothing but a rag-doll stuffed with sawdust, while one of your more fortunate little playmates has a costly China one, you should treat her with a […]

In this world of uncertainties, there is, at any rate, one thing which may be pretty confidently set down as a certainty: and that is, that this celebrated little phrase-book will never die while the English language lasts. Its delicious unconscious ridiculousness, and its enchanting na:ivet’e, as are supreme and unapproachable, in their way, as […]

[The following letter, signed by Satan and purporting to come from him, we have reason to believe was not written by him, but by Mark Twain.–Editor.] TO THE EDITOR OF HARPER’S WEEKLY: Dear Sir and Kinsman,–Let us have done with this frivolous talk. The American Board accepts contributions from me every year: then why shouldn’t […]

Monument to Adam

Story type: Literature

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Some one has revealed to the TRIBUNE that I once suggested to Rev. Thomas K. Beecher, of Elmira, New York, that we get up a monument to Adam, and that Mr. Beecher favored the project. There is more to it than that. The matter started as a joke, but it came somewhat near to materializing. […]

Amended Obituaries

Story type: Literature

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AMENDED OBITUARIES TO THE EDITOR: Sir,–I am approaching seventy; it is in sight; it is only three years away. Necessarily, I must go soon. It is but matter-of-course wisdom, then, that I should begin to set my worldly house in order now, so that it may be done calmly and with thoroughness, in place of […]

Riverdale-on-the-Hudson, OCTOBER 15, 1902. THE HON. THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, WASHINGTON, D. C.: Sir,–Prices for the customary kinds of winter fuel having reached an altitude which puts them out of the reach of literary persons in straitened circumstances, I desire to place with you the following order: Forty-five tons best old dry government bonds, […]

An Entertaining Article

Story type: Literature

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I take the following paragraph from an article in the Boston ADVERTISER: AN ENGLISH CRITIC ON MARK TWAIN Perhaps the most successful flights of humor of Mark Twain have been descriptions of the persons who did not appreciate his humor at all. We have become familiar with the Californians who were thrilled with terror by […]

A Biographical Sketch The stirring part of this celebrated colored man’s life properly began with his death–that is to say, the notable features of his biography began with the first time he died. He had been little heard of up to that time, but since then we have never ceased to hear of him; we […]

All infants appear to have an impertinent and disagreeable fashion nowadays of saying “smart” things on most occasions that offer, and especially on occasions when they ought not to be saying anything at all. Judging by the average published specimens of smart sayings, the rising generation of children are little better than idiots. And the […]

Italian with Grammar

Story type: Literature

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I found that a person of large intelligence could read this beautiful language with considerable facility without a dictionary, but I presently found that to such a parson a grammar could be of use at times. It is because, if he does not know the WERE’S and the WAS’S and the MAYBE’S and the HAS-BEENS’S […]

A Burlesque Biography

Story type: Literature

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Two or three persons having at different times intimated that if I would write an autobiography they would read it when they got leisure, I yield at last to this frenzied public demand and herewith tender my history. Ours is a noble house, and stretches a long way back into antiquity. The earliest ancestor the […]

From My Unpublished Autobiography Some days ago a correspondent sent in an old typewritten sheet, faded by age, containing the following letter over the signature of Mark Twain: “Hartford, March 10, 1875. “Please do not use my name in any way. Please do not even divulge that fact that I own a machine. I have […]

It is almost a fortnight now that I am domiciled in a medieval villa in the country, a mile or two from Florence. I cannot speak the language; I am too old not to learn how, also too busy when I am busy, and too indolent when I am not; wherefore some will imagine that […]

Boons of Life

Story type: Literature

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THE FIVE BOONS OF LIFE Chapter I In the morning of life came a good fairy with her basket, and said: “Here are gifts. Take one, leave the others. And be wary, chose wisely; oh, choose wisely! for only one of them is valuable.” The gifts were five: Fame, Love, Riches, Pleasure, Death. The youth […]

These two were distantly related to each other–seventh cousins, or something of that sort. While still babies they became orphans, and were adopted by the Brants, a childless couple, who quickly grew very fond of them. The Brants were always saying: “Be pure, honest, sober, industrious, and considerate of others, and success in life is […]

A Helpless Situation

Story type: Literature

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Once or twice a year I get a letter of a certain pattern, a pattern that never materially changes, in form and substance, yet I cannot get used to that letter–it always astonishes me. It affects me as the locomotive always affects me: I saw to myself, “I have seen you a thousand times, you […]

Consider that a conversation by telephone–when you are simply siting by and not taking any part in that conversation–is one of the solemnest curiosities of modern life. Yesterday I was writing a deep article on a sublime philosophical subject while such a conversation was going on in the room. I notice that one can always […]

The Pathfinder and The Deerslayer stand at the head of Cooper’s novels as artistic creations. There are others of his works which contain parts as perfect as are to be found in these, and scenes even more thrilling. Not one can be compared with either of them as a finished whole. The defects in both […]

In the early eighties Mark Twain learned to ride one of the old high-wheel bicycles of that period. He wrote an account of his experience, but did not offer it for publication. The form of bicycle he rode long ago became antiquated, but in the humor of his pleasantry is a quality which does not […]

As concerns tobacco, there are many superstitions. And the chiefest is this–that there is a STANDARD governing the matter, whereas there is nothing of the kind. Each man’s own preference is the only standard for him, the only one which he can accept, the only one which can command him. A congress of all the […]

I This line of hieroglyphics was for fourteen years the despair of all the scholars who labored over the mysteries of the Rosetta stone: [Figure 1] After five years of study Champollion translated it thus: Therefore let the worship of Epiphanes be maintained in all the temples, this upon pain of death. That was the […]

(This article, written during the autumn of 1899, was about the last writing done by Mark Twain on any impersonal subject.) I have had a kindly feeling, a friendly feeling, a cousinly feeling toward Simplified Spelling, from the beginning of the movement three years ago, but nothing more inflamed than that. It seemed to me […]

In the appendix to Croker’s Boswell’s Johnson one finds this anecdote: CATO’S SOLILOQUY.–One day Mrs. Gastrel set a little girl to repeat to him [Dr. Samuel Johnson] Cato’s Soliloquy, which she went through very correctly. The Doctor, after a pause, asked the child: “What was to bring Cato to an end?” She said it was […]

Is it true that the sun of a man’s mentality touches noon at forty and then begins to wane toward setting? Doctor Osler is charged with saying so. Maybe he said it, maybe he didn’t; I don’t know which it is. But if he said it, I can point him to a case which proves […]

Bayreuth, Aug. 2d, 1891 It was at Nuremberg that we struck the inundation of music- mad strangers that was rolling down upon Bayreuth. It had been long since we had seen such multitudes of excited and struggling people. It took a good half-hour to pack them and pair them into the train–and it was the […]

Interlaken, Switzerland, 1891. It is a good many years since I was in Switzerland last. In that remote time there was only one ladder railway in the country. That state of things is all changed. There isn’t a mountain in Switzerland now that hasn’t a ladder railroad or two up its back like suspenders; indeed, […]

Marion City, on the Mississippi River, in the State of Missouri–a village; time, 1845. La Bourboule-les-Bains, France –a village; time, the end of June, 1894. I was in the one village in that early time; I am in the other now. These times and places are sufficiently wide apart, yet today I have the strange […]

Note.–The assassination of the Empress of Austria at Geneva, September 10, 1898, occurred during Mark Twain’s Austrian residence. The news came to him at Kaltenleutgeben, a summer resort a little way out of Vienna. To his friend, the Rev. Jos. H. Twichell, he wrote: “That good and unoffending lady, the Empress, is killed by a […]

1601

Story type: Literature

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Conversation As it was by the Social Fireside in the Time of the Tudors INTRODUCTION “Born irreverent,” scrawled Mark Twain on a scratch pad, “–like all other people I have ever known or heard of–I am hoping to remain so while there are any reverent irreverences left to make fun of.” –[Holograph manuscript of Samuel […]

CHAPTER I Well, when I had been dead about thirty years I begun to get a little anxious. Mind you, had been whizzing through space all that time, like a comet. LIKE a comet! Why, Peters, I laid over the lot of them! Of course there warn’t any of them going my way, as a […]

Concerning The Jews

Story type: Literature

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Some months ago I published a magazine article[1] descriptive of a remarkable scene in the Imperial Parliament in Vienna. Since then I have received from Jews in America several letters of inquiry. They were difficult letters to answer, for they were not very definite. But at last I have received a definite one. It is […]

My Watch

Story type: Literature

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[Written about 1870.] An Instructive Little Tale My beautiful new watch had run eighteen months without losing or gaining, and without breaking any part of its machinery or stopping. I had come to believe it infallible in its judgments about the time of day, and to consider its constitution and its anatomy imperishable. But at […]

Political Economy

Story type: Literature

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Political Economy is the basis of all good government. The wisest men of all ages have brought to bear upon this subject the– [Here I was interrupted and informed that a stranger wished to see me down at the door. I went and confronted him, and asked to know his business, struggling all the time […]

Journalism In Tennessee

Story type: Literature

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[Written about 1871.] The editor of the Memphis Avalanche swoops thus mildly down upon a correspondent who posted him as a Radical:–“While he was writing the first word, the middle, dotting his i’s, crossing his t’s, and punching his period, he knew he was concocting a sentence that was saturated with infamy and reeking with […]

These annual bills! these annual bills! How many a song their discord trills Of “truck” consumed, enjoyed, forgot, Since I was skinned by last year’s lot! Those joyous beans are passed away; Those onions blithe, O where are they? Once loved, lost, mourned–now vexing ILLS Your shades troop back in annual bills! And so ’twill […]

Niagara

Story type: Literature

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Written about 1871. Niagara Falls is a most enjoyable place of resort. The hotels are excellent, and the prices not at all exorbitant. The opportunities for fishing are not surpassed in the country; in fact, they are not even equaled elsewhere. Because, in other localities, certain places in the streams are much better than others; […]

[Written about 1865.] “MORAL STATISTICIAN.”–I don’t want any of your statistics; I took your whole batch and lit my pipe with it. I hate your kind of people. You are always ciphering out how much a man’s health is injured, and how much his intellect is impaired, and how many pitiful dollars and cents he […]

To Raise Poultry

Story type: Literature

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–[Being a letter written to a Poultry Society that had conferred a complimentary membership upon the author. Written about 1870.] Seriously, from early youth I have taken an especial interest in the subject of poultry-raising, and so this membership touches a ready sympathy in my breast. Even as a schoolboy, poultry-raising was a study with […]

[As related to the author of this book by Mr. McWilliams, a pleasant New York gentleman whom the said author met by chance on a journey.] Well, to go back to where I was before I digressed to explain to you how that frightful and incurable disease, membranous croup,[Diphtheria D.W.] was ravaging the town and […]

I was a very smart child at the age of thirteen–an unusually smart child, I thought at the time. It was then that I did my first newspaper scribbling, and most unexpectedly to me it stirred up a fine sensation in the community. It did, indeed, and I was very proud of it, too. I […]

[Written about 1869.] It is seldom pleasant to tell on oneself, but some times it is a sort of relief to a man to make a confession. I wish to unburden my mind now, and yet I almost believe that I am moved to do it more because I long to bring censure upon another […]

The Office Bore

Story type: Literature

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[Written about 1869] He arrives just as regularly as the clock strikes nine in the morning. And so he even beats the editor sometimes, and the porter must leave his work and climb two or three pairs of stairs to unlock the “Sanctum” door and let him in. He lights one of the office pipes–not […]

Johnny Greer

Story type: Literature

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“The church was densely crowded that lovely summer Sabbath,” said the Sunday-school superintendent, “and all, as their eyes rested upon the small coffin, seemed impressed by the poor black boy’s fate. Above the stillness the pastor’s voice rose, and chained the interest of every ear as he told, with many an envied compliment, how that […]

VIENNA, January 5–I find in this morning’s papers the statement that the Government of the United States has paid to the two members of the Peace Commission entitled to receive money for their services 100,000 dollars each for their six weeks’ work in Paris. I hope that this is true. I will allow myself the […]

Last spring I went out to Chicago to see the Fair, and although I did not see it my trip was not wholly lost–there were compensations. In New York I was introduced to a Major in the regular army who said he was going to the Fair, and we agreed to go together. I had […]

Correspondence of the ‘London Times’ Chicago, April 1, 1904 I resume by cable-telephone where I left off yesterday. For many hours now, this vast city–along with the rest of the globe, of course–has talked of nothing but the extraordinary episode mentioned in my last report. In accordance with your instructions, I will now trace the […]

I I have a project to suggest. But first I will write a chapter of introduction. I have just been witnessing a remarkable play, here at the Burg Theatre in Vienna. I do not know of any play that much resembles it. In fact, it is such a departure from the common laws of the […]

Luck

Story type: Literature

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NOTE. This is not a fancy sketch. I got it from a clergyman who was an instructor at Woolwich forty years ago, and who vouched for its truth. —M.T. It was at a banquet in London in honour of one of the two or three conspicuously illustrious English military names of this generation. For reasons […]

My Boyhood Dreams

Story type: Literature

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The dreams of my boyhood? No, they have not been realised. For all who are old, there is something infinitely pathetic about the subject which you have chosen, for in no greyhead’s case can it suggest any but one thing–disappointment. Disappointment is its own reason for its pain: the quality or dignity of the hope […]

To the Above Old People

Story type: Literature

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Sleep! for the Sun that scores another Day Against the Tale allotted You to stay, Reminding You, is Risen, and now Serves Notice–ah, ignore it while You stay! The chill Wind blew, and those who stood before The Tavern murmured, ‘Having drunk his Score, Why tarries He with empty Cup? Behold, The Wine of Youth […]

DIED AUGUST 18, 1896; AGED 24 In a fair valley–oh, how long ago, how long ago!– Where all the broad expanse was clothed in vines, And fruitful fields and meadows starred with flowers, And clear streams wandered at their idle will; And still lakes slept, their burnished surfaces A dream of painted clouds, and soft […]

[Written about 1867.] In as few words as possible I wish to lay before the nation what’s here, howsoever small, I have had in this matter–this matter which has so exercised the public mind, engendered so much ill-feeling, and so filled the newspapers of both continents with distorted statements and extravagant comments. The origin of […]

–[Some years ago, about 1867, when this was first published, few people believed it, but considered it a mere extravaganza. In these latter days it seems hard to realize that there was ever a time when the robbing of our government was a novelty. The very man who showed me where to find the documents […]

In San Francisco, the other day, “A well-dressed boy, on his way to Sunday-school, was arrested and thrown into the city prison for stoning Chinamen.” What a commentary is this upon human justice! What sad prominence it gives to our human disposition to tyrannize over the weak! San Francisco has little right to take credit […]

“I was sitting here,” said the judge, “in this old pulpit, holding court, and we were trying a big, wicked-looking Spanish desperado for killing the husband of a bright, pretty Mexican woman. It was a lazy summer day, and an awfully long one, and the witnesses were tedious. None of us took any interest in […]

Information Wanted

Story type: Literature

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“WASHINGTON, December 10, 1867. “Could you give me any information respecting such islands, if any, as the government is going to purchase?” It is an uncle of mine that wants to know. He is an industrious man and well disposed, and wants to make a living in an honest, humble way, but more especially he […]

In Three Parts PART FIRST HOW THE ANIMALS OF THE WOOD SENT OUT A SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION Once the creatures of the forest held a great convention and appointed a commission consisting of the most illustrious scientists among them to go forth, clear beyond the forest and out into the unknown and unexplored world, to verify […]

[Written about 1867.] I am not a private secretary to a senator any more I now. I held the berth two months in security and in great cheerfulness of spirit, but my bread began to return from over the waters then–that is to say, my works came back and revealed themselves. I judged it best […]

A Fashion Item

Story type: Literature

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[Written about 1867.] At General G—-‘s reception the other night, the most fashionably dressed lady was Mrs. G. C. She wore a pink satin dress, plain in front but with a good deal of rake to it–to the train, I mean; it was said to be two or three yards long. One could see it […]

One of the best men in Washington–or elsewhere–is RILEY, correspondent of one of the great San Francisco dailies. Riley is full of humor, and has an unfailing vein of irony, which makes his conversation to the last degree entertaining (as long as the remarks are about somebody else). But notwithstanding the possession of these qualities, […]

A Fine Old Man

Story type: Literature

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John Wagner, the oldest man in Buffalo–one hundred and four years old –recently walked a mile and a half in two weeks. He is as cheerful and bright as any of these other old men that charge around so persistently and tiresomely in the newspapers, and in every way as remarkable. Last November he walked […]

The Science vs Luck

Story type: Literature

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[Written about 1867.] At that time, in Kentucky (said the Hon. Mr. K—–); the law was very strict against what is termed “games of chance.” About a dozen of the boys were detected playing “seven up” or “old sledge” for money, and the grand jury found a true bill against them. Jim Sturgis was retained […]

[Written about 1870.] [“Never put off till to-morrow what you can do day after to-morrow just as well.”–B. F.] This party was one of those persons whom they call Philosophers. He was twins, being born simultaneously in two different houses in the city of Boston. These houses remain unto this day, and have signs upon […]

Mr. Bloke’s Item

Story type: Literature

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[Written about 1865.] Our esteemed friend, Mr. John William Bloke, of Virginia City, walked into the office where we are sub-editor at a late hour last night, with an expression of profound and heartfelt suffering upon his countenance, and, sighing heavily, laid the following item reverently upon the desk, and walked slowly out again. He […]

A Medieval Romance

Story type: Literature

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CHAPTER I. THE SECRET REVEALED. It was night. Stillness reigned in the grand old feudal castle of Klugenstein. The year 1222 was drawing to a close. Far away up in the tallest of the castle’s towers a single light glimmered. A secret council was being held there. The stern old lord of Klugenstein sat in […]

TO THE HONORABLE THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED: Whereas, The Constitution guarantees equal rights to all, backed by the Declaration of Independence; and Whereas, Under our laws, the right of property in real estate is perpetual; and Whereas, Under our laws, the right of property in the literary result of a […]

After-Dinner Speech

Story type: Literature

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[AT A FOURTH OF JULY GATHERING, IN LONDON, OF AMERICANS] MR. CHAIRMAN AND LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: I thank you for the compliment which has just been tendered me, and to show my appreciation of it I will not afflict you with many words. It is pleasant to celebrate in this peaceful way, upon this old […]

Lionizing Murderers

Story type: Literature

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I had heard so much about the celebrated fortune-teller Madame—–, that I went to see her yesterday. She has a dark complexion naturally, and this effect is heightened by artificial aids which cost her nothing. She wears curls–very black ones, and I had an impression that she gave their native attractiveness a lift with rancid […]

A New Crime

Story type: Literature

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LEGISLATION NEEDED This country, during the last thirty or forty years, has produced some of the most remarkable cases of insanity of which there is any mention in history. For instance, there was the Baldwin case, in Ohio, twenty-two years ago. Baldwin, from his boyhood up, had been of a vindictive, malignant, quarrelsome nature. He […]

The Curious Dream

Story type: Literature

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CONTAINING A MORAL Night before last I had a singular dream. I seemed to be sitting on a doorstep (in no particular city perhaps) ruminating, and the time of night appeared to be about twelve or one o’clock. The weather was balmy and delicious. There was no human sound in the air, not even a […]

The Siamese Twins

Story type: Literature

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[Written about 1868.] I do not wish to write of the personal habits of these strange creatures solely, but also of certain curious details of various kinds concerning them, which, belonging only to their private life, have never crept into print. Knowing the Twins intimately, I feel that I am peculiarly well qualified for the […]

–[Written about 1872.] On the anniversary festival of the Scottish Corporation of London on Monday evening, in response to the toast of “The Ladies,” MARK TWAIN replied. The following is his speech as reported in the London Observer: I am proud, indeed, of the distinction of being chosen to respond to this especial toast, to […]

The Capitoline Venus

Story type: Literature

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CHAPTER I [Scene-An Artist’s Studio in Rome.] “Oh, George, I do love you!” “Bless your dear heart, Mary, I know that–why is your father so obdurate?” “George, he means well, but art is folly to him–he only understands groceries. He thinks you would starve me.” “Confound his wisdom–it savors of inspiration. Why am I not […]

DELIVERED IN HARTFORD, AT A DINNER TO CORNELIUS WALFORD, OF LONDON GENTLEMEN: I am glad, indeed, to assist in welcoming the distinguished guest of this occasion to a city whose fame as an insurance center has extended to all lands, and given us the name of being a quadruple band of brothers working sweetly hand […]

As I passed along by one of those monster American tea stores in New York, I found a Chinaman sitting before it acting in the capacity of a sign. Everybody that passed by gave him a steady stare as long as their heads would twist over their shoulders without dislocating their necks, and a group […]

I did not take temporary editorship of an agricultural paper without misgivings. Neither would a landsman take command of a ship without misgivings. But I was in circumstances that made the salary an object. The regular editor of the paper was going off for a holiday, and I accepted the terms he offered, and took […]

The Petrified Man

Story type: Literature

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Now, to show how really hard it is to foist a moral or a truth upon an unsuspecting public through a burlesque without entirely and absurdly missing one’s mark, I will here set down two experiences of my own in this thing. In the fall of 1862, in Nevada and California, the people got to […]

My Bloody Massacre

Story type: Literature

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The other burlesque I have referred to was my fine satire upon the financial expedients of “cooking dividends,” a thing which became shamefully frequent on the Pacific coast for a while. Once more, in my self-complacent simplicity I felt that the time had arrived for me to rise up and be a reformer. I put […]

The Undertaker’s Chat

Story type: Literature

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“Now that corpse,” said the undertaker, patting the folded hands of deceased approvingly, was a brick-every way you took him he was a brick. He was so real accommodating, and so modest-like and simple in his last moments. Friends wanted metallic burial-case–nothing else would do. I couldn’t get it. There warn’t going to be time–anybody […]

Concerning Chambermaids

Story type: Literature

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Against all chambermaids, of whatsoever age or nationality, I launch the curse of bachelordom! Because: They always put the pillows at the opposite end of the bed from the gas- burner, so that while you read and smoke before sleeping (as is the ancient and honored custom of bachelors), you have to hold your book […]

The facts in the following case came to me by letter from a young lady who lives in the beautiful city of San Jose; she is perfectly unknown to me, and simply signs herself “Aurelia Maria,” which may possibly be a fictitious name. But no matter, the poor girl is almost heartbroken by the misfortunes […]

"After" Jenkins

Story type: Literature

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A grand affair of a ball–the Pioneers’–came off at the Occidental some time ago. The following notes of the costumes worn by the belles of the occasion may not be uninteresting to the general reader, and Jerkins may get an idea therefrom: Mrs. W. M. was attired in an elegant ‘pate de foie gras,’ made […]

These chapters are for children, and I shall try to make the words large enough to command respect. In the hope that you are listening, and that you have confidence in me, I will proceed. Dates are difficult things to acquire; and after they are acquired it is difficult to keep them in the head. […]

A Fable

Story type: Essay

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Once upon a time an artist who had painted a small and very beautiful picture placed it so that he could see it in the mirror. He said, “This doubles the distance and softens it, and it is twice as lovely as it was before.” The animals out in the woods heard of this through […]

The conversation drifted smoothly and pleasantly along from weather to crops, from crops to literature, from literature to scandal, from scandal to religion; then took a random jump, and landed on the subject of burglar alarms. And now for the first time Mr. McWilliams showed feeling. Whenever I perceive this sign on this man’s dial, […]

When I was a boy my uncle and his big boys hunted with the rifle, the youngest boy Fred and I with a shotgun–a small single-barrelled shotgun which was properly suited to our size and strength; it was not much heavier than a broom. We carried it turn about, half an hour at a time. […]

Rogers

Story type: Literature

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This Man Rogers happened upon me and introduced himself at the town of —–, in the South of England, where I stayed awhile. His stepfather had married a distant relative of mine who was afterward hanged; and so he seemed to think a blood relationship existed between us. He came in every day and sat […]

–[Being part of a chapter which was crowded out of “A Tramp Abroad.”– M.T.] There was as Englishman in our compartment, and he complimented me on– on what? But you would never guess. He complimented me on my English. He said Americans in general did not speak the English language as correctly as I did. […]

Speech On The Weather

Story type: Literature

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AT THE NEW ENGLAND SOCIETY’S SEVENTY-FIRST ANNUAL DINNER, NEW YORK CITY The next toast was: “The Oldest Inhabitant–The Weather of New England.” Who can lose it and forget it?Who can have it and regret it? Be interposes ‘twixt us Twain.Merchant of Venice. To this Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) replied as follows:– I reverently believe […]

Speech On The Babies

Story type: Literature

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AT THE BANQUET, IN CHICAGO, GIVEN BY THE ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE TO THEIR FIRST COMMANDER, GENERAL U. S. GRANT, NOVEMBER, 1879 The fifteenth regular toast was “The Babies–as they comfort us in our sorrows, let us not forget them in our festivities.” I like that. We have not all had the good fortune to […]

–[Left out of “A Tramp Abroad” because its authenticity seemed doubtful, and could not at that time be proved.–M. T.] More than a thousand years ago this small district was a kingdom –a little bit of a kingdom, a sort of dainty little toy kingdom, as one might say. It was far removed from the […]

Paris Notes

Story type: Literature

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–[Crowded out of “A Tramp Abroad” to make room for more vital statistics.–M. T.] The Parisian travels but little, he knows no language but his own, reads no literature but his own, and consequently he is pretty narrow and pretty self-sufficient. However, let us not be too sweeping; there are Frenchmen who know languages not […]