To recap, I am reading the Autobiography of Mark Twain (at a leisurely pace) and, from time to time, posting examples of Mr. Clemens's most colorful insults, at which he seemed especially adept. Today's subject: Humanity.
A myriad of men are born; they labor and sweat and struggle for bread; they squabble and scold and fight; they scramble for little mean advantages over each other; age creeps upon them; infirmities follow; shames and humiliations bring down their prides and their vanities; those they love are taken from them, and the joy of life is turned to aching grief. The burden of pain, care, misery, grows heavier year by year; at length ambition is dead; pride is dead; vanity is dead; longing for release is in their place. It comes at last--the only unpoisoned gift earth ever had for them--and they vanish from a world where they were of no consequence; where they achieved nothing; where they were a mistake and a failure and a foolishness; where they have left no sign they have existed--a world which will lament them a day and forget them forever.
Get out of my head, Dead Mark Twain.
Mr. Clemens is much kinder and gentler recalling the death of one of his daughters, Susy, at the age of 24. I'm sure the welling in my eyes and choking in my throat has nothing to do with my own daughters' 23rd birthday coming up soon. The old man knew how to break your heart (and he knew that he knew it, the scoundrel).