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

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RATTLESNAKE

I now perceive why all men are the deadly and uncompromising enemies of the rattlesnake: it is merely because the rattlesnake has not speech. Monarchy has speech, and by it has been able to persuade man that it differs somehow from the rattlesnake, has something valuable about it somewhere, something worth preserving, something even good and high and fine, when properly "modified," something entitling it to protection from the club of the first comer who catches it out of its hole.
- An unpublished letter on the Czar, 1890
Rattlesnake

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"But mother, it is not so unreasonable when he explains it. He says this, to the credit of the rattlesnake: that he never takes advantage of any one, and has none of the instincts of an assassin; that he never strikes without first giving warning, and then does not strike if the enemy will keep his distance and not attack him. Isn't that true of the rattlesnake, papa?"

"Well--yes it is. I had not thought of it before. The truth is, it is better morals than some men have."
- "The Chronicle of Young Satan"

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