Saturday, October 08, 2005

Spelling and Pictures and Twain at Dinner

Mark Twain, at the annual dinner of the Associated Press in 1906: “By hard honest labor I’ve dug all the large words out of my vocabulary and shaved it down until the average is three letters and a half. […] I am careful, I am economical of my time and labor. For the family’s sake I've got to be so. So I never write ‘metropolis’ for 7 cents, because I can get the same money for ‘city.’ I never write ‘policeman,’ because I can get the same price for ‘cop.’ And so on and so on. I never write ‘valetudinarian’ at all, for not even hunger and wretchedness can humble me to the point where I will do a word like that for 7 cents; I wouldn't do it for 15.”