In the great book Letters of the Century, there is a complaint letter from Twain to New York Western Union. He describes the telegraph service in York Harbor, Maine "the worst in the world except that Boston." He is referring to a telegram that he received too late to act:
The head corpse [throughout the letter referred to as h.c.] in the New York Harbor office sent me that telegram altho (1) he knew it would reach me too late to be of any value; (2) also, that he was going to send it to me by his boy; (3) that the boy would not take the trolley and come the 2 miles in 12 minutes, but would walk; (4) that he would be two hours and a quarter on the road; (5) and that he would collect 25 cents for transportation, for a telegram which the h.c. knew to be worthless before he started it.And later,
The boy brought the telegram. It was bald-headed with age, but still legible.I loved his book, A Tramp Abroad, about his travels in Germany and Switzerland in the late 1800s. It's an interesting travelogue and hilarious. It contains the famous The Awful German Language which is quite hilarious but kind of painful to read.
Here, in celebration of his 171st birthday, are a few more lovely quotes.
A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.
A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.
Man was made at the end of the week's work when God was tired.
There is no distinctly American criminal class - except Congress.