Now, here is a gold-miner's compliment, and this one is forty-two years old.
I remember the circumstances perfectly well. It was the introduction of Mark
Twain, lecturer, to an audience of gold-miners at Red Dog, California, in 1866,
by one of themselves. It was in a log house, a large school-house, and the audience
occupied benches without any back, and there were no ladies present, they did
n't know me then; but all just miners with their breeches tucked into their
boot-tops. And they wanted somebody to introduce me to them, and they pitched
upon this miner, and he objected. He said he had never appeared in public, and
had never done any work of this kind; but they said it did n't matter, and so
he came on the stage with me and introduced me in this way. He said: "I
don't know anything about this man, anyway. I only know two things about him.
One is, he has never been in jail; and the other is, I don't know why."
- Speech, 1908
Mark Twain has described a mine as "a hole in the ground owned
by a liar."
- This quote was attributed to Mark Twain in The Autobiography of John Hays Hammond (Farrar & Rinehart, 1935), p. 97. Although Hammond knew Twain personally, there is no other authentic record that Mark Twain made this statement.
Inscribed portrait of Mark Twain by Everett Shinn to John Hays Hammond
from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
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