Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | April 26, 2010

10. Adam’s Diary – Mark Twain II 

Mark Twain received an honorary doctorate from Oxford University in 1907.

Continuing the sub-series on Mark Twain, author of Extracts from Adam’s Diary

Twain was born in Florida, Missouri, the sixth of seven children, two weeks after Halley’s Comet passed the earth. In 1909, Twain said:

“I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.'”

Twain’s expectation was fulfilled. He died of a heart attack in his Redding, CT home one day after the comet’s closest approach to Earth.

Twain’s family moved to Hannibal, MO on the Mississippi River when he was four. This venue was the inspiration for his Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn novels.

Twain worked as a printer and self-educated himself at public libraries after work. “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education,” Twain once said.

In 1859 he earned his steamboat pilot license on the Mississippi after studying 2,000 miles of the river for over two years.

“Piloting on the Mississippi River was not work to me; it was play — delightful play, vigorous play, adventurous play — and I loved it…I wish I was back there piloting up & down the river again. Verily, all is vanity and little worth — save piloting.”

The War Between the States ended this job in 1861. He moved into journalism as a newspaper correspondent, reporter, and editor.

His own self-description of himself when applying for a German passport in May 1878 was:

My description is as follows: Born 1835; 5 ft. 8 1/2 inches tall; weight about 145 pounds….dark brown hair and red moustache, full face with very high ears and light gray beautiful beaming eyes and a damned good moral character.

Quips from Mark Twain on education, career, and success include:
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living; the world owes you nothing; it was here first.”

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” (Some dispute the attribution of this to Mark Twain.)

“A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.”

“The older we grow the greater becomes our wonder at how much ignorance one can contain without bursting one’s clothes.”

“I respect a man who knows how to spell a word more than one way.”

“I never had any large respect for good spelling. That is my feeling yet. Before the spelling-book came with its arbitrary forms, men unconsciously revealed shades of their characters and also added enlightening shades of expression to what they wrote by their spelling, and so it is possible that the spelling-book has been a doubtful benevolence to us.” (Mark Twain’s Autobiography)

“Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us could not succeed.”

“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” (1883) (Was he talking about evolutionists?)

The next post, 11. Adam’s Diary – Mark Twain III, will continue with Twain’s marriage.

Read the prequels in this series on Adam’s Diary:
1. Adam’s Diary – A New Creature
2. Adam’s Diary – Naming the Animals
3. Adam’s Diary – Garden of Eden
4. Adam’s Diary – “We”
5. Adam’s Diary – Sunday
6. Adam’s Diary – Eve
7. Adam’s Diary – Niagara Falls
8. Adam’s Diary – Escape
9. Adam’s Diary – Mark Twain I

Read the sequel:
11. Adam’s Diary – Mark Twain III

©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
Monday April 26, 2010 A.D.

Read my April 2010 Bible-Science column
Is This a Contradiction?.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.
Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
(Proverbs 1:7)


  1. Classic characters like Huck Finn, Injun Joe, and Aunt Polly and enduring scenes make Mark Twain a master of memorable storytelling.


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