Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
Mark Twain (18351910)
The people of those foreign countries are very, very ignorant. They looked curiously at the costumes we had brought from the wilds of America. They observed that we talked loudly at table sometimes. They noticed that we looked out for expenses and got what we conveniently could out of a franc, and wondered where in the mischief we came from. In Paris they just simply opened their eyes and stared when we spoke to them in French! We never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.
MARK TWAIN (Samuel L. Clemens), letter appearing in the New York Herald, November 20, 1867, the day after he arrived in New York on the steamer Quaker City.Traveling with the Innocents Abroad; Mark Twains Original Reports from Europe and the Holy Land, ed. Daniel M. McKeithan, p. 316 (1958).
Twain later revised the 58 letters written on the trip and turned them into The Innocents Abroad, where this quotation appears in A Newspaper Valedictory, vol. 2 of The Writings of Mark Twain, p. 437 (1897, reprinted 1968).