MARK TWAIN

On Nov. 30, 1835, the small town of Florida, Mo. witnessed the birth of its most famous son. Samuel Langhorne Clemens was welcomed into the world as the sixth child of John Marshall and Jane Lampton Clemens. Little did John and Jane know, their son Samuel would one day be known as Mark Twain - America's most famous literary icon. Approximately four years after his birth, in 1839, the Clemens family moved 35 miles east to the town of Hannibal. A growing port city that lie along the banks of the Mississippi, Hannibal was a frequent stop for steam boats arriving by both day and night from St. Louis and New Orleans. Samuel's father was a judge, and he built a two-story frame house at 206 Hill Street in 1844. As a youngster, Samuel was kept indoors because of poor health. However, by age nine, he seemed to recover from his ailments and joined the rest of the town's children outside. He then attended a private school in Hannibal. When he was 12, his father died of pneumonia, and at 13, Samuel left school to become a printer's apprentice. After two short years, he joined his brother Orion's newspaper as a printer and editorial assistant. It was here that young Samuel found he enjoyed writing. At 17, he left Hannibal behind for a printer's job in St. Louis. While in St. Louis, Clemens became a river pilot's apprentice. He became a licensed river pilot in 1858. Clemens' pseudonym, Mark Twain, comes from his days as a river pilot. It is a river term which means two fathoms or 12-feet when the depth of water for a boat is being sounded. "Mark twain" means that is safe to navigate. Because the river trade was brought to a stand still by the Civil War in 1861, Clemens began working as a newspaper reporter for several newspapers all over the United States. In 1870, Clemens married Olivia Langdon, and they had four children. Twain began to gain fame when his story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavaras County" appeared in the New York Saturday Press on November 18, 1865. Twain's first book, "The Innocents Abroad," was published in 1869, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" in 1876, and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" in 1885. He wrote 28 books and numerous short stories, letters and sketches. Mark Twain passed away on April 21, 1910, but has a following still today. His childhood home is open to the public as a museum in Hannibal, and Calavaras County in California holds the Calavaras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee every third weekend in May. Walking tours are given in New York City of places Twain visited near his birthday every year. Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. Abhi Sharma Page 121 If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow. Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life. Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Great people are those who make others feel that they, too, can become great. The secret of getting ahead is getting started. Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. To get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with. The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them. In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then He made School Boards. The Bible: It is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies. The man with a new idea is a Crank until the idea succeeds. There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man’s notion that he is less savage than the other savages. Man is the only animal that blushes, or needs to. Abhi Sharma Page 122 One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives. The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn´t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it. Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself. Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it. If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed. If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man. The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up. April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four days. Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in. Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I've done it thousands of times. Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. Abhi Sharma Page 123 A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain. I have a higher and grander standard of principle than George Washington. He could not lie; I can, but I won't. When your friends begin to flatter you on how young you look, it's a sure sign you're getting old. Write without pay until somebody offers to pay you. If nobody offers within three years, sawing wood is what you were intended for. Let us be thankful for the fools. Because of them the rest of us could not succeed. A room without books is like a body without a soul. Plan for the future because that's where you are going to spend the rest of your life. Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. A man's character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation. To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence. When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain. When angry, count to four. When very angry, swear. Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.