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Directory of Mark Twain's maxims, quotations, and various opinions:

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BLUEJAYS

 

Now there is more to a bluejay than any other animal. He has got more different kinds of feeling. Whatever a bluejay feels he can put into language, and not mere commonplace language, but straight out and out book talk, and there is such a command of language. You never saw a bluejay get stuck for a word. He is a vocabularized geyser. Now you must call a jay a bird, and so he is in a measure, because he wears feathers and don't belong to any church, but otherwise he is just as human nature made him. A bluejay hasn't any more principle than an ex-congressman, and he will steal, deceive and betray four times out of five; and as for the sacredness of an obligation, you cannot scare him in the detail of principle. He talks the best grammar of all the animals. You may say a cat talks good grammar. Well, a cat does; but you let a cat get excited, you let a cat get at pulling fur with another cat on a shed nights and you will hear grammar. A bluejay is human; he has got all a man's faculties and a man's weakness. He likes especially scandal; he knows when he is an ass as well as you do.
- "Morals Lecture," 7/15/1895; similar passage in A Tramp Abroad

 

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