"Yet some natures are too good to be spoiled by praise, and wherever the vein of thought reaches down into the profound, there is no danger from vanity. Solemn friends will warn them of the danger of the head's being turned by the flourish of trumpets, but they can afford to smile."
"Pride can go without domestics, without fine clothes, can live in a house with two rooms, can eat potato, purslain, beans, lyed corn, can work on the soil, can travel afoot, can talk with poor men, or sit silent well contented with fine saloons. But vanity costs money, labor, horses, men, women, health and peace, and is still nothing at last; a long way leading nowhere.--Only one drawback; proud people are intolerably selfish, and the vain are gentle and giving."
"I was amongst the virtues like the great Turk in his seraglio of women, and I chose to dwell with that virtue which looked the fairest in my eyes and gave me at that season most pleasure. In short, I made wives of them: I first admired them, then made them my own property, and if they would not submit to my will, I again turned them off and divorced them."
"[F]or vanity disappointed will always find an enemy on whom to bestow the utmost hatred and dislike; and the woman who hath been thus entangled in her own snares will generally find that enemy in the person of her husband. As from him (when her lover) arose all her pleasure, so from him now flows all her disappointment."
"Near by is an interesting ruin--the meagre remains of an ancient heathen temple--a place where human sacrifices were offered up in those old bygone days when the simple child of nature, yielding momentarily to sin when sorely tempted, acknowledged his error when calm reflection had shown it to him, and came forward with noble frankness and offered up his grandmother as an atoning sacrifice--in those old days when the luckless sinner could keep on cleansing his conscience and achieving periodical happiness as long as his relations held out."
"There are some women ... in whom conscience is so strongly developed that it leaves little room for anything else. Love is scarcely felt before duty rushes to encase it, anger impossible because one must always be calm and see both sides, pity evaporates in expedients, even grief is felt as a sort of bruised sense of injury, a resentment that one should have grief forced upon one when one has always acted for the best."
"The mere existence of conscience, that faculty of which people prate so much nowadays, and are so ignorantly proud, is a sign of our imperfect development. It must be merged in instinct before we become fine."
"I need not say what match I would touch, what system endeavor to blow up; but as I love my life, I would side with the light, and let the dark earth roll from under me, calling my mother and my brother to follow."
"Will mankind never learn that policy is not morality,--that it never secures any moral right, but considers merely what is expedient? chooses the available candidate,--who is invariably the devil,--and what right have his constituents to be surprised, because the devil does not behave like an angel of light? What is wanted is men, not of policy, but of probity,--who recognize a higher law than the Constitution, or the decision of the majority."
"No man ever stood lower in my estimation for having a patch in his clothes; yet I am sure that there is greater anxiety, commonly, to have fashionable, or at least clean and unpatched clothes, than to have a sound conscience."
"But that's always the way; it don't make no difference whether you do right or wrong, a person's conscience ain't got no sense, and just goes for him anyway.... It takes up more room than all the rest of a person's insides, and yet ain't no good, nohow. Tom Sawyer thinks the same."
"I thought a minute, and says to myself, hold on,--s'pose you'd a done right and give Jim up; would you felt better than what you do now? No, says I, I'd feel bad--I'd feel just the same way I do now. Well, then, says I, what's the use you learning to do right, when it's troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?"
"It don't make no difference whether you do right or wrong, a person's conscience ain't got no sense, and just goes for him anyway. If I had a yaller dog that didn't know no more than a person's conscience does, I would pison him."