|We are always more anxious to be distinguished
for a talent which we do not possess, than to be praised for the fifteen
which we do possess.
- Mark Twain's Autobiography; More Maxims of Mark, Johnson, 1927
"The young pilot could play the chords, and sing in his own fashion."
Illustration of Clemens at the piano from
St. Nicholas, Feb. 1916
I have had an aversion to good spelling for sixty years and more, merely for
the reason that when I was a boy there was not a thing I could do creditably
except spell according to the book. It was a poor and mean distinction and I
early learned to disenjoy it. I suppose that this is because the ability to
spell correctly is a talent, not an acquirement. There is some dignity about
an acquirement, because it is a product of your own labor. It is wages earned,
whereas to be able to do a thing merely by the grace of God and not by your
own effort transfers the distinction to our heavenly home-where possibly it
is a matter of pride and satisfaction but it leaves you naked and bankrupt.
- Mark Twain's Autobiography
But not many would think of that. They would think of it next day, but that
is the difference between talent and the imitation of it. Talent thinks of it
at the time.
- "Three Thousand Years among the Microbes"
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