Abroad with Mark Twain and Eugene Field/Stray Sayings of Mark
STRAY SAYINGS OF MARK
"I hate editors, for they make me abandon a lot of perfectly good English words."—To Campbell-Bannerman at the Metropole Hotel, Vienna.
"There are no common people except in the highest spheres of society."—After attending a court function in Berlin.
"Wit, by itself, is of little account. It becomes of moment only when grounded on wisdom."—Talks at the Berlin Legation.
After paying off his creditors (in January, 1898) Mark Twain got, for a while, very gay and wanted to buy everything in sight. He was actually going around looking for "good things to plant money on." Some friends thought it their duty to warn him, but he shut them up with the remark:
"Don*t alarm your sweet self—no more typesetting and Webster business for me. I never buy anything nowadays that I can't afford to pay spot cash for."
"How much time do you suppose you have gained by writing '&' for 'and', papa?" asked Jean one afternoon at tea.
"Not enough to waste it on answers to foolish questions," replied her father severely.
Then he gave her a dollar, kissed her and sent her away rejoicing.
"That little blackmailer," he said, "was impertinent only to make me mad, knowing full well that later I would chastise myself for being a brute—still with a dollar fine I got off cheap enough."
"He was a King even in his undershirt and drawers."—(A verse in one of Grillparzer's Tragedies—which caused the play to be put on the Index by the censor.) This amused Mark hugely. But he had no sympathy with the author, saying: "He ought to have put pajamas on the cuss."
Mark Twain, when speaking of a king was fond of quoting Shakespeare's: "I have an humour to knock you indifferently well." (Henry V.)
"I have been blowing the heads off frothing pots of porter."—Mark Twain after writing his Czar's Soliloquy.
A Hamburg dealer in curiosities offered to sell Clemens two of Bismarck's hairs for a hundred marks a hair. Mark asked his secretary to write back that, according to the most reliable statistics, Bismarck had rejoiced in the possession of three hairs only and of that trinity enough had been sold already to cover the pates of a whole row full of bald heads on a first night in Broadway, New York.