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Directory of Mark Twain's maxims, quotations, and various opinions:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


KILLING

If the desire to kill and the opportunity to kill came always together, who would escape hanging?
- Following the Equator, Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar

They all did their best--to kill being the chiefest ambition of the human race and the earliest incident in its history-- but only the Christian civilization has scored a triumph to be proud of. Two or three centuries from now it will be recognized that all the competent killers are Christians; then the pagan world will go to school to the Christian--not to acquire his religion, but his guns.
- The Mysterious Stranger
calendar page
Page from 1917 Mark Twain Calendar
published by Sully and Kleinteich of NY
by arrangement with
Harper & Brothers
from the
Dave Thomson collection

 

The joy of killing! the joy of seeing killing done--these are traits of the human race at large. We white people are merely modified Thugs; Thugs fretting under the restraints of a not very thick skin of civilization; Thugs who long ago enjoyed the slaughter of the Roman arena, and later the burning of doubtful Christians by authentic Christians in the public squares, and who now, with the Thugs of Spain and Nimes, flock to enjoy the blood and misery of the bull-ring. We have no tourists of either sex or any religion who are able to resist the delights of the bull-ring when opportunity offers; and we are gentle Thugs in the hunting-season, and love to chase a tame rabbit and kill it. Still, we have made some progress--microscopic, and in truth scarcely worth mentioning, and certainly nothing to be proud of--still it is progress: we no longer take pleasure in slaughtering or burning helpless men. We have reached a little altitude where we may look down upon the Indian Thugs with a complacent shudder; and we may even hope for a day, many centuries hence, when our posterity will look down upon us in the same way.
- Following the Equator

 

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