What Is Man? and Other Essays

By Mark Twain

Page 0

...WHAT IS MAN? AND OTHER ESSAYS


By Mark Twain

(Samuel Langhorne Clemens, 1835-1910)




CONTENTS:

...

Page 1

...How do you mean?

O.M. It would be personally entitled to the credit of its own
performance?

Y.M....

Page 2

...educated into
gold."

O.M. There are gold men, and tin men, and copper men, and leaden men,
and...

Page 3

...one of these automatic opinions?

O.M. No. You can't yourself, but _exterior influences_ can do it.

Y.M....

Page 4

...create_.

Y.M. Where _was_ his excellence, then?

O.M. In this. He was not a sewing-machine, like you...

Page 5

...he
was before, but _he_ didn't achieve the change--the merit of it is not
his.

Y.M. Whose, then?

O.M....

Page 6

...huzza'd at with tear-choked voices as the war-worn regiment marches
past the worshiping multitude with flags...

Page 7

...his
pocket, but he does not hesitate: he gives it her and trudges home
through the storm....

Page 8

...the basest proceed from that one
source?

O.M. Yes.

Y.M. Will you put that law into words?

O.M. Yes....

Page 9

...religion, his devotion to his family, his kindness of
heart, his high principles, all went for...

Page 10

...is but the one--is the necessity of securing the
contentment of his own spirit. When it...

Page 11

...sacrificing himself merely and solely for some one else,
but he is deceived; his bottom impulse...

Page 12

...do a thing for any _other_ reason. The
thing is impossible.

Y.M. There _must_ be a genuinely...

Page 13

...of morals and conduct, but has to be taught and
trained. Now I think a conscience...

Page 14

...case of _awakened
conscience_. That awakened conscience could never get itself into that
species of trouble again....

Page 15

...his believing faith both of us were happy. Now he is
dead--and lost; and I am...

Page 16

...necessity of securing his own approval, in every
emergency and at all costs. To it we...

Page 17

...suspicions that I was
constantly expecting to find a hidden questionable impulse back of all
this, but...

Page 18

...secret original impulse, the _real_ impulse,
that moved him to so nobly self--sacrifice his family in...

Page 19

...the rule?

Y.M. No--at least, not yet. But take the case of servant--tipping in
Europe. You pay...

Page 20

...really compassion nor
yet duty that moves you to pay the tax, and it isn't the...

Page 21

..._you_ pain--another case of thinking of _yourself_,
protecting yourself, _saving yourself from discomfort_. You never think
of...

Page 22

...myself, and I know I couldn't _do_
it.

O.M. But it would be your _duty_ to do...

Page 23

...training.





IV

Training

Young Man. You keep using that word--training. By it do you particularly
mean--

Old Man. Study, instruction,...

Page 24

...he doesn't attend, except to refute its doctrines with
brickbats. We are always hearing of people...

Page 25

...under religious influences and furnished him
a new ideal. From that accident sprang the Order of...

Page 26

...didn't record a fact, he recorded a falsity. It is windy,
and sounds well, but it...

Page 27

...preparation to save the
girl the humiliation of a rebuke? Did that come from the Master,...

Page 28

...you had obeyed him. He
required a prompt _repentance_; you obeyed again; you_ had _to--there is
never...

Page 29

...I will spare the
girl for _her _sake _primarily_, not mine?

O.M. Why--yes. In heaven.

Y.M. (_After a...

Page 30

...first,
and that you will do nothing at _first hand _but for his sake; then
they turn...

Page 31

...for others' sake?

O.M. Perhaps so. It is the position of the other schemes. They think
humbug...

Page 32

...any one of the _others_, he will
infallibly do that _one _thing, be it good or...

Page 33

...upon the ingots?

Y.M. Work it out yourself. Proceed.

O.M. Suppose I turn upon one of them...

Page 34

...the lane, and Henry said, with
a pathetic smile, "Without intending me a discomfort, that man...

Page 35

...conscious, he will find that it is already at work upon
another subject. Make the experiment...

Page 36

...I could do to stop it, and it
seemed to me that I must surely go...

Page 37

...mind in both cases, and never needs your help. I think the
mind is purely a...

Page 38

...I was shaving. I had slept well, and my mind was very
lively, even gay and...

Page 39

...is coming.

Y.M. For instance?

O.M. Well, take a "flash of wit"--repartee. Flash is the right word.
It...

Page 40

...have done machine work, they have
originated nothing, they have no right to be vain; the...

Page 41

...me to seek further. The rest of my days will
be spent in patching and painting...

Page 42

...do it. It
is an inherited habit which was originally thought--that is to say,
observation of an...

Page 43

...that; he had observed--then thought it out
for himself. His process did not differ from Edison's;...

Page 44

...path, too, instead of flying the near way
across lots. The distance covered was four hundred...

Page 45

...to seriously say
there is no such frontier.

O.M. I do say it seriously. The instances of...

Page 46

...the last vestige of an intellectual frontier between
man and the Unrevealed.

O.M. That is what she...

Page 47

...I have to concede it. It was not a result of habit; it has all
the...

Page 48

...and
reasonings, reflects upon them, adds to them, recombines, and so
proceeds, stage by stage, to far...

Page 49

...fact that man knows right from
wrong proves his _intellectual _superiority to the other creatures; but
the...

Page 50

...the right one of the two?

O.M. It will do as it pleases in the matter....

Page 51

...choice. But
neither the Davids nor the cowards possess Free Will--will that may do
the right or...

Page 52

...him desolate. His
money's value was gone. He realized that his joy in it came not...

Page 53

...the body is drunk?

Y.M. Well--no.

O.M. There _is _a physical effect present, then?

Y.M. It looks like...

Page 54

...speech, the Conscience? Explain
it.

O.M. It is that mysterious autocrat, lodged in a man, which compels...

Page 55

...cash, and all that?

Y.M. I think I must concede it.

O.M. I believe you must. There...

Page 56

...not inspiring,
enthusing, uplifting. It takes the glory out of man, it takes the pride
out of...

Page 57

...an elaborate piece of music, without error, while the man is
thinking about something else, or...

Page 58

...which one is the happiest?
Isn't it Burgess?

Y.M. Easily.

O.M. And which one is the unhappiest? Henry...

Page 59

...it will prefer them
and will fiercely fight for them. As instances, you have all history:
the...

Page 60

...that dear one? Would a book contain
them? Would two books contain them? I think not....

Page 61

...the reporters failed to perceive this. Day
before yesterday, letters and telegrams began to arrive from...

Page 62

...tomorrow, and
bear her to Elmira, New York, where lie those of us that have been
released,...

Page 63

...are forever idle that would have
labeled them today. Jean's mother always worked herself down with...

Page 64

...is another journey than that.

Night is closing down; the rim of the sun barely shows...

Page 65

...hear them romp again with George--that peerless black ex-slave and
children's idol who came one day--a...

Page 66

...courtesy of an answer. Her mother brought her up in that
kindly error.

She could write a...

Page 67

...must
be sought, if only for the employment the useless seeking gives, I came
upon Jean's dog...

Page 68

...in her
coffin, dressed in exactly the same clothes she wore when she stood at
the other...

Page 69

...little time.

FIVE O'CLOCK.--It is all over.

When Clara went away two weeks ago to live in...

Page 70

...little bridge, nothing is left for us
but to fight it out in arms."

This was a...

Page 71

...another; the settlement of certain of them in Missouri, which
resulted in ME. For I was...

Page 72

...My soul was steeped in this awful
dreariness--and in fear. At some time or other every...

Page 73

...wonders,
a romantic land where all the birds and flowers and animals were of
the museum varieties,...

Page 74

...money, but not that. It might have made him advertise the note--and
WAIT. We can't tell....

Page 75

...help him in his office. I accepted.

In Nevada, Circumstance furnished me the silver fever and...

Page 76

...was young, and got him out of books, and did not
know him personally. When I...

Page 77

...this planet. And it was the only
command Adam would NEVER be able to disobey. It...

Page 78

...nearly anything
stick--particularly IF YOU MAKE THE PICTURES YOURSELF. Indeed, that
is the great point--make the pictures...

Page 79

...the talk about a strange and violent wind that used
to burst upon Carson City from...

Page 80

...her reign--EIGHT HUNDRED AND
SEVENTEEN YEARS OF English history under your eye at once!

English history was...

Page 81

...I notice the large or small space which he
takes up on our road. Are your...

Page 82

...left them in, and send the children.

Next I thought I would measure off the French...

Page 83

...each two inches
square, and we will do the twenty-one years of the Conqueror's reign.
On each...

Page 84

...him for his father's great spirit. The barb of that
harpoon ought not to show like...

Page 85

...will do. It is a good-enough steer for
history. The tail is defective, but it only...

Page 86

...years. It might have been well
to name all the royal princes Henry, but this was...

Page 87

...it at
first, but I see it now. Somehow he has got his right arm on...

Page 88

...of Arc was
born.

Henry V.; nine BLUE squares. (Fig. 18)

There you see him lost in meditation...

Page 89

...that
flower in the pot, but we will use it as Richard's trade-mark, for it is
said...

Page 90

...1899.





THE MEMORABLE ASSASSINATION

Note.--The assassination of the Empress of Austria at Geneva, September
10, 1898, occurred during...

Page 91

...that family have
been startled with the news of extraordinary events--the destruction
of cities, the fall of...

Page 92

...miracle-worker who has furnished to the world this
spectacle? All the ironies are compacted in the...

Page 93

...Every
child is pleased at being noticed; many intolerable children put in
their whole time in distressing...

Page 94

...herself." Crowns have adorned others, but she
adorned her crowns.

It was a swift celebrity the assassin...

Page 95

...with me. I can show you his
very room, and the very bed he slept in....

Page 96

...black clothes and wearing black cocked hats; the shops were
closed; in many windows were pictures...

Page 97

...ordered machine.

It was noon, now. Two hours of stillness and waiting followed. Then
carriages began to...

Page 98

...the
sidewalk, and the white shirt-fronts show like snowflakes and are very
conspicuous where so much warm...

Page 99

...could not take my eyes away
From that fair vision, spirit-like...

Page 100

...the matter of
periodical frights, horrors, and shudderings.

In several details the parallels are quaintly exact. In...

Page 101

...things changed. A
slave came flying from Palmyra, the county-seat, a few miles back,
and was about...

Page 102

...a wooden type--and a terror it was to look at. It made a
great commotion, for...

Page 103

...was divulged to no outsider; publicly they were
simply the abolitionists. They had pass-words, grips, and...

Page 104

...make the
bravest tremble and hold back.

The cowed populace were afraid to go to the funeral....

Page 105

...the paper, with biography and large portrait,
with other slanderous and insane pictures, and the edition...

Page 106

...a carriage in ten,
and have two hours for luncheon at noon--for luncheon, not for rest.
There...

Page 107

..."The foolish talker"--that is to
say, the too-daring talker), refused to bow to Gessler's hat. Of...

Page 108

...stand at large; they are intruded upon and elbowed
by neighboring domes and summits, and their...

Page 109

...convert, and filled to the eyes
with a new convert's enthusiasm. You could sit down and...

Page 110

...the words leak out between its ribs. It
said:

"Brother, why dost thou disturb my blessed rest...

Page 111

...shot straight
aggressively forward from the chin.

At four-thirty the nose had changed its shape considerably, and...

Page 112

...o'clock has assumed a shape that has rather a
poor and rude semblance of a shoe.

Meantime,...

Page 113

...him, and asked him a
couple of thousand questions about himself, which the king answered
good-naturedly, but...

Page 114

...the biggest mistake you ever made. You see
that in your own case. A man ought...

Page 115

...down upon Bayreuth. It had been long since we had
seen such multitudes of excited and...

Page 116

...and did not come here to write essays about
the operas and deliver judgment upon their...

Page 117

...way along a rank of about twenty-five ladies and gentlemen to
get to it. Yet this...

Page 118

...be catching flies; I only mean that the usual
operatic gestures which consist in reaching first...

Page 119

...an
hour after the first act and one an hour long after the second. In both
instances...

Page 120

...always driven me mad with ignorant delight
whenever I have heard it--"Tannhauser." I heard it first...

Page 121

...ingenious casuist.
In his time the husband of this princess was valuable. He led a degraded
life,...

Page 122

...can lose a decisive
battle and with it the consideration of men; but once a prince...

Page 123

...a remark, and got out this one:

"I can't understand it at all. If I had...

Page 124

...get an excellent meal--no, I mean you can go there and see other
people get it....

Page 125

...the four operas; but the
ostensible rest is devoted largely to rehearsing. It is said that...

Page 126

...divine ecstasy and to whom its creator is a very
deity, his stage a temple, the...

Page 127

...me. They say:

"Singing! That wasn't singing; that was the wailing, screeching of
third-rate obscurities, palmed off...

Page 128

...applaud it and rejoice in it as we do when THE right
one blazes out on...

Page 129

...in Italy was a civic disorder
in which there was oppression without statecraft, and revolt without
patriotism....

Page 130

...substantial, understandable
and all right, like a cabbage; but the artist does it with twenty, and
the...

Page 131

...snowfall
were woven into a spell of novel enchantment around the structure that
always seemed to me...

Page 132

...homes whose occupants have moved away and left them a prey
to neglect and gradual ruin...

Page 133

...it at all. Other authors' directions are brief enough, but it
is seldom that the brevity...

Page 134

...the stage directions to me and leave out the talk. For instance,
a scene like this,...

Page 135

...aunt Polly said it was a knife."

"Why, Aunt Polly's knife MAY DO, but it was...

Page 136

...as She is Taught"--in the
public schools of--well, this country. The collection is made by a
teacher...

Page 137

...in print:

ASPHYXIA, a grumbling, fussy temper.

QUARTERNIONS, a bird with a flat beak and no bill,...

Page 138

...say the
poetry or prose they must put a semicolon just after the introduction of
the prose...

Page 139

...on, and left in that incomplete state; no, there's
machinery for clarifying and expanding their minds....

Page 140

...in 1492 under Julius
Caesar.

The earth is 1492 miles in circumference.



To proceed with "History"

Christopher Columbus was...

Page 141

...most
interesting statements. A sample or two may be found not amiss:

Bracebridge Hall was written by...

Page 142

...the President vetoes it.

The three departments of the government is the President rules the
world, the...

Page 143

...62 1/2 pounds.

The spheres are to each other as the squares of their homologous sides.

A...

Page 144

...at home all the time and go to church on Sunday. They
are al-ways sick. They...

Page 145

...OUT.

I will insert the alphabet here as I find it in Burnz's PHONIC
SHORTHAND. (Figure 1)...

Page 146

...stroke up; a final
stroke down. Total, five. The phonographic alphabet accomplishes the
m with a single...

Page 147

...I may be allowed to use so frank a term as that--and it
will take five...

Page 148

...you can
write with our alphabet. And so, in a way, it IS properly a shorthand.
It...

Page 149

...It has taken our most gifted and painstaking
students two centuries to get at the meanings...

Page 150

...the statute of limitation.

In those old Roman days a gentleman's education was not complete until
he...

Page 151

...explain why Stephen was awarded a pleasanter death than
he was entitled to, while the aged...

Page 152

...was only offended at their king, who had been false to
an oath. Then why did...

Page 153

...exhibits his familiarity with the intentions
of God, and with the reasons for his intentions. Sometimes--very...

Page 154

...days, but after our days all will come to
pass.

Still, the end was so near that...

Page 155

...and which cowed them as men are cowed by an epidemic.
They took these cigars when...

Page 156

...I know many, and light one of
my own; and while he praises it I join...

Page 157

...strange that I should remember a
formality like that so long; it must be nearly sixty...

Page 158

...gets hard pressed
and gives it up and runs, she is brought back and must try...

Page 159

...as a rule
he overlooks the main chief fact of all--that his accumulation proves an
entirely different...

Page 160

...THE BICYCLE

(Written about 1893; not before published)


In the early eighties Mark Twain learned to ride...

Page 161

...once
more. This time the Expert took up the position of short-stop, and got
a man to...

Page 162

...yourself to do it at first. The intellect has to come to
the front, now. It...

Page 163

...you perfect. You land in the saddle
comfortably, next time, and stay there--that is, if you...

Page 164

...the first things he would do would be to take
hold of one of these electric...

Page 165

...sugar.

He was full of interest and comment. The first time I failed and went
down he...

Page 166

...away, you fill steadily up with nameless
apprehensions, every fiber of you is tense with a...

Page 167

...days I achieved so much progress that the boy
couldn't keep up with me. He had...

Page 168

...discuss them with loving sympathy or with rancorous
resentment, according to which side we hitch ourselves...

Page 169

...if we were in a risky and difficult piece of river an
ignorant person couldn't have...

Page 170

...four times traversed in every thirty-five days--the time required
by that swift boat to achieve two...

Page 171

...wit,
I only BELIEVED Bacon wrote Shakespeare, whereas I KNEW Shakespeare
didn't. Ealer was satisfied with that,...

Page 172

...make them seem a part of the text, make them sound as
if they were bursting...

Page 173

...other standard authors. Ealer always had several
high-class books in the pilot-house, and he read the...

Page 174

...for inquiring into matters above my
age and comprehension. I will say for Mr. Barclay that...

Page 175

...upon by the religious world
and also be brought to account.

I assured him, in earnest and...

Page 176

...in
attesting important documents, because they could not write their names.

Of the first eighteen years of...

Page 177

...the wife whom he had left
husbandless so many years; the wife who had had to...

Page 178

...AND CAN PROVE, Shakespeare of
Stratford-on-Avon never wrote a play in his life.

SO FAR AS ANYBODY...

Page 179

...facts in stock about the long-dead distinguished citizen, but only
just the one: he slaughtered calves...

Page 180

...because within the next five years he wrote five great plays, and
could not have found...

Page 181

...Shakespeare accumulated his
law-treasures in the first years of his sojourn in London, through
"amusing himself" by...

Page 182

...both hands for twenty years. Then in a
noble frenzy of poetic inspiration he wrote his...

Page 183

...in a holeless, crackless, exitless prison-cell. Wait half an
hour, then open the cell, introduce a...

Page 184

...his death was not an event. It made no stir, it
attracted no attention. Apparently his...

Page 185

...FACT, but only as legend--dim and fading and
indefinite legend; legend of the calf-slaughtering rank, and...

Page 186

...townsman remembered to say anything about him or about
his life in Stratford. When the inquirer...

Page 187

...and the
"M-a-r-k--TWAIN!" that took the shudder away, and presently the darling
"By the d-e-e-p--FOUR!" that lifted...

Page 188

...were in those early
days, but with the law it is different: it is mile-stoned and...

Page 189

...As soon as
it began to slacken she ranged a little ahead, and the order was...

Page 190

...milling industry familiarly; and so whenever Bret
Harte introduces that industry into a story, the first...

Page 191

...and comprises some fifty pages of expert
testimony, with comments thereon, and I will copy the...

Page 192

...knowledge of the law," and an easy familiarity with "some
of the most abstruse proceedings in...

Page 193

...two hundred and fifty years ago, when suits as to the title of
real property were...

Page 194

...had a special pleasure
in his complete and ready mastership of it in all its branches....

Page 195

...comments: "It cannot be doubted that Lord
Campbell was right in this. No young man could...

Page 196

...has the warrant of antiquity and setting up in its
stead this ridiculous invention, for which...

Page 197

...he writes,
"that Shakespeare's knowledge of medicine, and particularly that branch
of it which related to morbid...

Page 198

...from tripping."

A lame conclusion. "No other supposition" indeed! Yes, there is another,
and a very obvious...

Page 199

...period of it, giving
room or opportunity for legal or indeed any other employment. 'In 1589,'
says...

Page 200

...the technicalities of
practice, unless with the view of practicing in that profession? I do
not believe...

Page 201

...of only one or two? One reason is,
because there are a dozen that are recognizably...

Page 202

...a theologian: she corresponded in Greek with Bishop
Jewell, and translated his APOLOGIA from the Latin...

Page 203

...a presumption, it doesn't take a presumption long
to bloom into a fact when THEY have...

Page 204

...read the praises bestowed by Lord Penzance and the other
illustrious experts upon the legal condition...

Page 205

...less idleness, in what he uttered. No member
of his speech but consisted of his (its)...

Page 206

...increase the
regret with which we think on the many years which he had wasted, to...

Page 207

...first check from good sense.

In truth, much of Bacon's life was passed in a visionary...

Page 208

...ye man yt spares thes stones
And curst be he yt...

Page 209

...a tar baby ostensibly stuffed
with jewels, and warned that it will be dishonorable and irreverent...

Page 210

...go in that direction is to call them
by names of limited reverence--names merely descriptive, never...

Page 211

...there's enough of us already. If
you go on widening and spreading and inflating the privilege,...

Page 212

...may list all the celebrated
Englishmen, Irishmen, and Scotchmen of modern times, clear back to the
first...

Page 213

...beginning; and if he wrote them it seems a
pity the world did not find it...

Page 214

...he might by any
possibility have roamed, while the many points of interest which he wove
into...

Page 215

...clear and sharp and vivid, sixty-three years ago. She was at that
time nine years old,...