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Ambrose Bierce

  • Heathen is a benighted creature who has the folly to worship something that he can see and feel.

  • Ignoramus: a person unacquainted with certain kinds of knowledge familiar to yourself, and having certain other kinds that you know nothing about.

  • Hope is desire and expectation rolled into one.

  • Bore: a person who talks when you wish him to listen.

  • A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, is distinguished from the liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.

  • Piracy is a commerce without its folly - swaddles - just as God made it.

  • Commendation: the tribute that we pay to achievements that resemble, but do not equal, our own.

  • Pray: to ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.

  • Appeal in law: to put the dice into the box for another throw.

  • Apologize: to lay the foundation for a future offence.

  • Admiration: Our polite recognition of another man's resemblance to ourselves.

  • Women and foxes, being weak, are distinguished by superior tact.

  • Christian: one who believes that the new Testament is a divinely inspired book, admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbour.

  • Perseverance: A lowly virtue whereby mediocrity achieves a glorious success.

  • Education: that which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding.

  • Epitaph: an inscription on a tomb showing that virtues acquired by death have a retroactive effect.

  • An egotist is a person of low taste - more interested in himself than in me.

  • Acquaintance isn't a person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to.

  • Painting: the art of protecting flat surfaces from the weather and exposing them to the critic.

  • Abstainer: a weak man who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure.

  • Destiny: a tyrant's authority for crime and a fool's excuse for failure.

  • All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher.

  • Mausoleum: the final and funniest folly of the rich.

  • One who in a perilous emergency thinks with his legs.

  • Achievement: The death of an endeavor, and the birth of disgust.

  • Infidel: in New York - one who does not believe in the christian religion; in Constantinople - one who does.

  • Philosophy: A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.

  • The echo of a platitude.

  • Marriage: the state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress, and two slaves, making, in all, two.

  • Peace: in international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.

  • To be positive: to be mistaken at the top of one's voice.

  • Litigant: a person about to give up his skin for the hope of retaining his bone.

  • Cynicism is that blackguard defect of vision which compels us to see the world as it is, instead of as it should be.

  • History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers,mostly fools.

  • Philanthropist: a rich ( and usually bald ) old gentleman who has trained himself to grin while his conscience is picking his pocket.

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