|If the desire to kill and the opportunity to
kill came always together, who would escape hanging?
- Following the Equator, Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar
They all did their best--to kill being the chiefest ambition of the human race and the earliest incident in its history-- but only the Christian civilization has scored a triumph to be proud of. Two or three centuries from now it will be recognized that all the competent killers are Christians; then the pagan world will go to school to the Christian--not to acquire his religion, but his guns.
- The Mysterious Stranger
Page from 1917 Mark Twain Calendar
published by Sully and Kleinteich of NY
by arrangement with
Harper & Brothers
Dave Thomson collection
The joy of killing! the joy of seeing killing done--these are traits of the
human race at large. We white people are merely modified Thugs; Thugs fretting
under the restraints of a not very thick skin of civilization; Thugs who long
ago enjoyed the slaughter of the Roman arena, and later the burning of doubtful
Christians by authentic Christians in the public squares, and who now, with
the Thugs of Spain and Nimes, flock to enjoy the blood and misery of the bull-ring.
We have no tourists of either sex or any religion who are able to resist the
delights of the bull-ring when opportunity offers; and we are gentle Thugs in
the hunting-season, and love to chase a tame rabbit and kill it. Still, we have
made some progress--microscopic, and in truth scarcely worth mentioning, and
certainly nothing to be proud of--still it is progress: we no longer take pleasure
in slaughtering or burning helpless men. We have reached a little altitude where
we may look down upon the Indian Thugs with a complacent shudder; and we may
even hope for a day, many centuries hence, when our posterity will look down
upon us in the same way.
- Following the Equator
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