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



What a world of trouble those who never marry escape! There are many happy matches, it is true, and sometimes "my dear," and "my love" come from the heart; but what sensible bachelor, rejoicing in his freedom and years of discretion, will run the tremendous risk?
- "Connubial Bliss," Hannibal Journal, 4 November 1852

This 4th of February will be the mightiest day in the history of our lives, the holiest, & the most generous toward us both -- for it makes of two fractional lives a whole; it gives to two purposeless lives a work, & doubles the strength of each whereby to perform it; it gives to two questioning natures a reason for living, & something to live for; it will give a new gladness to the sunshine, a new fragrance to the flowers, a new beauty to the earth, a new mystery to life; & Livy it will give a new revelation to love, a new depth to sorrow, a new impulse to worship. In that day the scales will fall from our eyes & we shall look upon a new world. Speed it!
- letter to Olivia Langdon, 8 September 1869

There isn't time -- so brief is life -- for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. there is only time for loving -- & but an instant, so to speak, for that.
- Letter to Clara Spaulding, 20 August 1886

Both marriage and death ought to be welcome: the one promises happiness, doubtless the other assures it.
- Letter to Will Bowen, 4 November 1888

People talk about beautiful friendships between two persons of the same sex. What is the best of that sort, as compared with the friendship of man and wife, where the best impulses and highest ideals of both are the same. There is no place for comparison between the two friendships; the one is earthly, the other divine.
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.
- Notebook, 1894

Olivia and Sam
Olivia and Samuel Clemens on deck
during the Following the Equator tour.

Sam & Livy
Sam and Olivia Clemens
Separately, foreign marriages and whisky are bad; mixed, they are fatal.
- Letter to Olivia Clemens, 3 June 1895

Men and women -- even man and wife are foreigners. Each has reserves that the other cannot enter into, nor understand. These have the effect of frontiers.
- Notebook, 1904

Marriage -- yes, it is the supreme felicity of life. I concede it. And it is also the supreme tragedy of life. The deeper the love the surer the tragedy. And the more disconsolating when it comes.
- Letter to Father Fitz-Simon, 5 June 1908

If husbands could realize what large returns of profit may be gotten out of a wife by a small word of praise paid over the counter when the market is just right, they would bring matters around the way they wish them much oftener than they usually do. Arguments are unsafe with wives, because they examine them; but they do not examine compliments. One can pass upon a wife a compliment that is three-fourths base metal; she will not even bite it to see if it is good; all she notices is the size of it, not the quality.
- "Hellfire Hotchkiss," reprinted in Satires and Burlesques

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