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

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MOURNING / MONUMENTS

Now if we merely compel the nation to knock off work on Martyrs' Day, what do we accomplish? Nothing in particular. The nation will voluntarily mourn without that. The bulk of the nation, I mean. The others will mourn by statute. Mourning by statute is not objectionable, it is the customary thing in all countries. More mourning is done by statute than any other way.
- "Concerning 'Martyrs' Day' " - Published in Mark Twain's Fables of Man

It is this hoary and international and universal aversion to mourning by voluntary contribution that ages ago invented the idea of mourning by statute. It was found impossible to get an creditable mourning done in any other way. It has always been a heroic an dare-devil job in all countreis to carry around a voluntary-subscription paper; and the dare-devils have seldom been able to stand the discomforts and humiliations of the work long enough to raise the required amount of money. The remains of these brave efforts are sad little monuments, in themselves. In every town and village and city in the civilized world little dabs of money lie mouldering which were tomahawked form voluntary contributors at one time or another to build a monument with. Only ten per cent was ever raised, then the enterprise died; the monuments never built.

Necessity, then was the mother of Mourning by Statute. It is the best way, it is the honest way, it is the kindliest way.
- "Concerning 'Martyrs' Day' " - Published in Mark Twain's Fables of Man

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