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

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SHIPS

[Aboard ships]:...the world is far, far away; it has ceased to exist for you--seemed a fading dream, along in the first days; has dissolved to an unreality now; it is gone from your mind with all its businesses and ambitions, its prosperities and disasters, its exultations and despairs, its joys and griefs and cares and worries. They are no concern of yours any more; they have gone out of your life; they are a storm which has passed and left a deep calm behind.
- Following the Equator
Tobacco artwork
Tobacco advertising artwork
from the Dave Thomson collection

On board ship one tires of the aspects in a couple of days and quits looking. The same vast circle of heaving humps is spread around you all the time, with you in the center of it and never gaining an inch on the horizon, as far as you can see one; for a variety, a flight of flying fish, a flock of porpoises throwing summersaults afternoons, a remote whale spouting Sundays, occasional phosphorescent effects nights, every other day a streak of black smoke trailing along under the horizon; on the single red-letter day, the illustrious iceberg. I have seen that iceberg thirty-four times in thirty-seven voyages; it is always that same shape, it is always the same size, it always throws up the same old flash when the sun strikes it; you may set it on any New York doorstep of a June morning and light it up with a mirror flash and I will engage to recognize it. It is artificial, and is provided and anchored out by the steamer companies. I used to like the sea, but I was young then, and could easily get excited over any kind of monotony, and keep it up till the monotonies ran out.
- "A Humorists Confession," The New York Times, 11/26/1905

 

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