Don't Insult Mark Twain

Heck: don't even try. American writer Mark Twain (1835-1910) was a pretty sharp cookie.

French writer Paul Bourget wrote, "Life can never be entirely dull to an American. When he has nothing else to do he can always spend a few years trying to discover who his grandfather was."

Mark Twain replied:

"Right, your Excellency. But I reckon a Frenchman's got a little standby for a dull time too; he can turn in and see if he can find out who his father was."

Another time, Twain said "France has neither winter nor summer nor morals -- apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country." And (in a different area of his notebook -- it wasn't immediately following his "morals" quote), he noted, "France has usually been governed by prostitutes."

Last, Twain even suggested he had the answer to one of the supposed mysteries of the theory of evolution: "French are the connecting link between man & the monkey."

Posted August 18, 2006

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