I’m back to inviting readers to submit quotations whose origins they want me to try to trace, using my book, The Yale Book of Quotations, and my more recent research.
I heard recently that the quote, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes,” usually attributed to Mark Twain, is not actually by him. Which is delightfully ironic, if true.
I am shocked, shocked that a quote attributed to Mark Twain is not actually by him. The Yale Book of Quotations has the following entry:
“A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on.”
C. H. Spurgeon, Gems from Spurgeon (1859). An earlier version appears in the Portland (Me.) Gazette, Sept. 5, 1820: “Falsehood will fly from Maine to Georgia, while truth is pulling her boots on.” Still earlier, Jonathan Swift wrote in The Examiner, Nov. 9, 1710: “Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after it.”
Do any readers have any other quotations whose origins they would like me to attempt to trace?