Biography

Samual Langhorne Clemens went under the name of Mark Twain in his writings. Known for several American classics including The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer



Mark Twain
A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.
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A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.
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Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.
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Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
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An Englishman is a person who does things because they have been done before. An American is a person who does things because they haven't been done before.
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Barring that natural expression of villainy which we all have, the man looked honest enough.
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Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
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By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity -- another man's I mean.
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Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
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Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
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Do something every day that you don't want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.
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Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.
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Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.
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Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge.
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Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.
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Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.
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Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.
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Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.
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Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.
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Honesty is the best policy - when there is money in it.
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Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place.
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I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.
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I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying that I approved of it.
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I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way.
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I have a higher and grander standard of principle than George Washington. He could not lie; I can, but I won't.
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I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.
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I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
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I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting.
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I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.
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I was gratified to be able to answer promptly. I said I don't know.
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If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.
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If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything.
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In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their language.
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In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination.
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In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.
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It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress.
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It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them.
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It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
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It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.
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It is easier to stay out than get out.
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It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
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It was wonderful to find America, but it would have been more wonderful to miss it.
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Just the omission of Jane Austen's books alone would make a fairly good library out of a library that hadn't a book in it.
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Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
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Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.
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Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
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Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.
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My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.
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Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.
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Often it does seem a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat.
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Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.
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Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
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The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.
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The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.
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The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.
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The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.
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The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.
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The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.
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The universal brotherhood of man is our most precious possession.
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The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.
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There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable, drinkable, and smokable which has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry.
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There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
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Time cools, time clarifies; no mood can be maintained quite unaltered through the course of hours.
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Truth is more of a stranger than fiction.
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Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.
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Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody.
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We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world; and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don't know anything and can't read.
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When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not.
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When in doubt, tell the truth.
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When people do not respect us we are sharply offended; yet deep down in his private heart no man much respects himself.
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When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.
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When you cannot get a compliment any other way pay yourself one.
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Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform.
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I cannot call to mind a single instance where I have ever been irreverent, except toward the things which were sacred to other people.
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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 obtain.
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Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it.
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A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.
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Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.
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You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
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The history of our race, and each individual's experience, are sown thick with evidence that a truth is not hard to kill and that a lie told well is immortal.
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A human being has a natural desire to have more of a good thing than he needs.
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It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.
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It takes your enemy and your friend, working together, to hurt you: the one to slander you, and the other to get the news to you.
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Man is the Only Animal that Blushes. Or needs to.
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There are several good protections against temptations, but the surest is cowardice.
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The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.
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All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.
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Sane and intelligent human beings are like all other human beings, and carefully and cautiously and diligently conceal their private real opinions from the world and give out fictitious ones in their stead for general consumption.
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Of all the creatures that were made, man is the most detestable. Of the entire brood he is the only one--the solitary one--that possesses malice. That is the basest of all instincts, passions, vices--the most hateful. He is the only creature that has pain for sport, knowing it to be pain. Also--in all the list he is the only creature that has a nasty mind.
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We are always more anxious to be distinguished for a talent which we do not possess, than to be praised for the fifteen which we do possess.
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When a person cannot deceive himself the chances are against his being able to deceive other people.
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The report of my death was an exaggeration.
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The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them.
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Familiarity breeds contempt - and children.
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Good breeding consists of concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.
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What a good thing Adam had. When he said a good thing he knew nobody had said it before.
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The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.
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Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
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Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.
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Our opinions do not really blossom into fruition until we have expressed them to someone else.
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A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.
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How little a thing can make us happy when we feel that we have earned it.
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Laws are sand, customs are rock. Laws can be evaded and punishment escaped but an openly transgressed custom brings sure punishment.
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[Humanity] has unquestionably one really effective weapon-laughter. Power, money, persuasion, supplication, persecution-these can lift at a colossal humbug-push it a little-weaken it a little, century by century; but only laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
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I am not one of those who in expressing opinions confine themselves to facts.
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The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot.
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A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar.
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A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.
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A man's character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.
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A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read.
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A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.
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A round man cannot be expected to fit in a square hole right away. He must have time to modify his shape.
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Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.
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Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.
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Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
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Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.
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All generalizations are false, including this one.
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Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
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Any emotion, if it is sincere, is involuntary.
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As an example to others, and not that I care for moderation myself, it has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep, and never to refrain from smoking when awake.
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Be careless in your dress if you will, but keep a tidy soul.
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Better a broken promise than none at all.
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But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?
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Buy land, they're not making it anymore.
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Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.
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Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.
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Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.
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Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.
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Drag your thoughts away from your troubles... by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.
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Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned.
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Everything has its limit - iron ore cannot be educated into gold.
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Everything human is pathetic. The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven.
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Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.
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George Washington, as a boy, was ignorant of the commonest accomplishments of youth. He could not even lie.
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Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I've done it thousands of times.
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Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.
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Golf is a good walk spoiled.
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Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.
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Humor is mankind's greatest blessing.
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Humor must not professedly teach and it must not professedly preach, but it must do both if it would live forever.
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I don't like to commit myself about heaven and hell - you see, I have friends in both places.
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I have been complimented many times and they always embarrass me; I always feel that they have not said enough.
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I must have a prodigious quantity of mind; it takes me as much as a week sometimes to make it up.
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I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.
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If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man but deteriorate the cat.
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In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.
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It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.
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It is better to take what does not belong to you than to let it lie around neglected.
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It is just like man's vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions.
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It is not best that we should all think alike; it is a difference of opinion that makes horse races.
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It's good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling.
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It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.
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It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.
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Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
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Laws control the lesser man... Right conduct controls the greater one.
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Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.
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Let us not be too particular; it is better to have old secondhand diamonds than none at all.
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Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.
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Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.
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Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it.
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Man - a creature made at the end of the week's work when God was tired.
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Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied.
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Martyrdom covers a multitude of sins.
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My books are like water; those of the great geniuses are wine. (Fortunately) everybody drinks water.
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Name the greatest of all inventors. Accident.
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Necessity is the mother of taking chances.
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No sinner is ever saved after the first twenty minutes of a sermon.
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Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she laid an asteroid.
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Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits.
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One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.
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Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.
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Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.
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Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.
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Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run.
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Sometimes too much to drink is barely enough.
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Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very"; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
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The educated Southerner has no use for an 'R', except at the beginning of a word.
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The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
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The lack of money is the root of all evil.
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The man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much; if he is an optimist after it, he knows too little.
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The more things are forbidden, the more popular they become.
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The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.
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The more you explain it, the more I don't understand it.
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The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not.
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The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all.
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The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.
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The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.
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There are lies, damned lies and statistics.
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There are people who can do all fine and heroic things but one - keep from telling their happiness to the unhappy.
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There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable.
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There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist.
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Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered - either by themselves or by others.
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Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.
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Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing wrong with this, except that it ain't so.
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Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it.
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Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.
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We Americans... bear the ark of liberties of the world.
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We have the best government that money can buy.
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What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin.
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What would men be without women? Scarce, sir, mighty scarce.
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When a person cannot deceive himself the chances are against his being able to deceive other people.
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When angry, count to four; when very angry, swear.
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When red-haired people are above a certain social grade their hair is auburn.
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When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain.
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When your friends begin to flatter you on how young you look, it's a sure sign you're getting old.
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Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.
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Why shouldn't truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense.
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Words are only painted fire; a look is the fire itself.
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Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.
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Work is a necessary evil to be avoided.
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Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.
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Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt and live like it's heaven on Earth.
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