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- There is a grim and ghastly humor -- the humor that is born of a pathetic philosophy -- which now and then strikes me in reading the bright and keen-witted work of our American paragraphers. It is a humor that may be crystallized by hunger and sorrow and tears. It is not found elsewhere as it is in America. It is out of the question in England, because an Englishman cannot poke fun at himself. He cannot joke about an empty flour-barrel. We can: especially if by doing it we may swap the joke for another barrel of flour. We can never be a nation of snobs so long as we are willing to poke fun at ourselves.
- The Century magazine (1892)
- The peculiar characteristic of classical music is that it is really better than it sounds.
- A stand-up line quoted in 1888.
- Variant: Wagner's music is better than it sounds. (Attested in an obituary; see The Quote Verifier)
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