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

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Clemens 1906
Photo of Clemens, 1906
courtesy of Dave Thomson

HERO WORSHIP

We are all alike on the inside. Also we are exteriorly all alike. Scoffing democrats that we are, we do dearly love to be noticed by a duke, and when we are noticed by a monarch we have softening of the brain for the rest of our lives. We try our best to keep from referring to these precious collisions, and in time some of us succeed in keeping our dukes and monarchs to ourselves; it costs us something to do this but in time we accomplish it. In my own case, I have so carefully and persistently trained myself in this kind of self-denial that today I can look on calm and unmoved when an American is casually and greatfully playing the earls he has met; I can look on, silent and unexcited, and never offer to call his hand, although I have three kings and a pair of emperors up my sleeve.
- Mark Twain in Eruption

Unconsciously we all have a standard by which we measure other men, and if we examine closely we find that this standard is a very simple one and is this: we admire them, we envy them, for great qualities which we ourselves lack. Hero worship consists in just that. Our heroes are the men who do things which we recognize with regret and sometimes with a secret shame that we cannot do. We find not much in ourselves to admire, we are always privately wanting to be like somebody else. If everybody was satisfied with himself there would be no heroes.
- Mark Twain's Autobiography

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