Never handle firearms carelessly. The sorrow and suffering that have been caused through the innocent but heedless handling of firearms by the young! Only four days ago, right in the next farm house to the one where I am spending the summer, a grandmother, old and gray and sweet, one of the loveliest spirits in the land, was sitting at her work, when her young grandson crept in and got down an old, battered, rusty gun which had not been touched for many years and was supposed not to be loaded, and pointed it at her, laughing and threatening to shoot. In her fright she ran screaming and pleading toward the door on the other side of the room; but as she passed him he placed the gun almost against her very breast and pulled the trigger! He had supposed it was not loaded. And he was right—it wasn’t. So there wasn’t any harm done. It is the only case of that kind I ever heard of. Therefore, just the same, don’t you meddle with old unloaded firearms; they are the most deadly and unerring things that have ever been created by man. You don’t have to take any pains at all with them; you don’t have to have a rest, you don’t have to have any sights on the gun, you don’t have to take aim, even. No, you just pick out a relative and bang away, and you are sure to get him. A youth who can’t hit a cathedral at thirty yards with a Gatling gun in three quarters of an hour, can take up an old empty musket and bag his grandmother every time, at a hundred. Think what Waterloo would have been if one of the armies had been boys armed with old muskets supposed not to be loaded, and the other army had been composed of their female relations. The very thought of it make one shudder.
So funny, yet so true, yet so funny.
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September 9, 2004, 11:31 PM
I heart Twain.
September 10, 2004, 01:05 AM
My favorite is in "Roughing It" when he discusses target shooting with a Pepper box pistol.
September 10, 2004, 01:08 AM
Twain was a Confederate in some Arkansas unit. After one minor skirmish, he found out there is no "glory" in war and went AWOL. That saved one good writer for us to enjoy.:)
September 10, 2004, 01:27 AM
The dude could write. I was forced to read him in school and never really got it. Years later, I chose to read him and thoroughly enjoyed it.
September 10, 2004, 01:37 AM
Twain is one of my favorites.
September 10, 2004, 06:12 AM
I still recall reading Tom Saywer at age eight or so and thinking: "These kids had guns of their own!"
September 10, 2004, 09:59 AM
Yeah, I love Mark Twain :)
I keep my guns loaded, so they are safe :p
September 10, 2004, 11:27 AM
Loved Twain from the first time I read him. I was probably 8 or so when my dad told me I ought to read Tom Sawyer. Injun Joe. Becky Thatcher. The cave. The kiss.
September 10, 2004, 01:21 PM
I love the interweb:
September 10, 2004, 02:08 PM
While Twain was touring in Egypt, his guide showed him a 1000 year old mummy.
Twain inspected the mummy for several minutes and then turned to the guide and asked "Ah... Is he dead?"
(The Innocents Abroad)
September 10, 2004, 03:47 PM
OldStar, you just quoted from one of Twain's greatest works and my favorite passage! I've read The Innocents Abroad about 3 times and that scene in the museum makes me laugh every time. (I think the scene was in Rome.)
"Is, ah ... is he dead?"
"Oh sacre bleu! Been dead three thousan' year!"
Then Twain and friends repeat that a few times more at other mummified folks. He drives the guide crazy. -- Hilarious!
September 10, 2004, 10:31 PM
I was looking for info on his military service and came across this. I love the way he describes his health. JT
DEAR SIR,--I have not applied for a pension. I have often wanted a pension--often--ever so often--I may say, but in as much as the only military service I performed during the war was in the Confederate army, I have always felt a delicacy about asking you for it. However, since you have suggested the thing yourself, I feel strengthened. I haven't any very pensionable diseases myself, but I can furnish a substitute--a man who is just simply a chaos, a museum of all the different kinds of aches and pains, fractures, dislocations and malformations there are; a man who would regard "rheumatism and sore eyes" as mere recreation and refreshment after the serious occupations of his day.
Mark Twain, a Biography volume II Part 2 1886-1900 Page 09