What does this quote mean?

I haven't a particle of confidence in a man who has no redeeming petty vices whatsoever.

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, RegDwigнt Apr 29 '14 at 11:39

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  • Is there any specific word or phrase you don't understand? It's unclear exactly where you have a problem. – FumbleFingers Apr 29 '14 at 11:39
  • What part of the quote do you not understand? – Kris Apr 29 '14 at 12:07

Particle: small item
Redeeming: compensating for someone's or something's faults
Petty vice: small "immoral" behaviour (Smoking, drinking)

So he does not approve of overindulgence in sensual pleasures or squandering of money but would also would not trust a man that did not drink or smoke, since he considers overly moral people to be untrustworthy

The quote is Mark Twain's from The Moral Statistician


I hate your kind of people. You are always ciphering out how much a man's health is injured, and how much his intellect is impaired, and how many pitiful dollars and cents he wastes in the course of ninety-two years' indulgence in the fatal practice of smoking; and in the equally fatal practice of drinking coffee; and in playing billiards occasionally; and in taking a glass of wine at dinner, etc. etc. And you are always figuring out how many women have been burned to death because of the dangerous fashion of wearing expansive hoops, etc. etc. You never see more than one side of the question.


Now, I don't approve of dissipation, and I don't indulge in it either; but I haven't a particle of confidence in a man who has no redeeming petty vices. And so I don't want to hear from you any more. I think you are the very same man who read me a long lecture last week about the degrading vice of smoking cigars, and then came back, in my absence, with your reprehensible fire-proof gloves on, and carried off my beautiful parlor stove.

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