Originally Answered: Help! where is this mark twain quote from?
The quotation about which you ask is from MARK TWAIN'S (Samuel Clemens') essay "WHAT IS MAN?"
In the essay "WHAT IS MAN?", the "Old Man" and the "Young Man" converse. Below is the quotation in context:
_"...Young Man (Y.M.) 'You are not in earnest, I hope. You cannot mean to seriously say there is no such frontier.'
_Old Man (O.M.) 'I do say it seriously. The instances of the horse, the gull, the mother bird, and the elephant show that those creatures put their this's and thats together just as Edison would have done it and drew the same inferences that he would have drawn. Their mental machinery was just like his, also its manner of working. Their equipment was as inferior to the Strasburg clock, but that is the only difference—there is no frontier.'
_Y.M. 'It looks exasperatingly true; and is distinctly offensive. It elevates the dumb beasts to—to—'
_O.M. 'Let us drop that lying phrase, and call them the Unrevealed Creatures; so far as we can know, there is no such thing as a dumb beast.'
_Y.M. 'On what grounds do you make that assertion?'
_O.M. 'On quite simple ones. 'Dumb' beast suggests an animal that has no thought-machinery, no understanding, no speech, no way of communicating what is in its mind. We know that a hen HAS speech. We cannot understand everything she says, but we easily learn two or three of her phrases. We know when she is saying, 'I have laid an egg'; we know when she is saying to the chicks, 'Run here, dears, I've found a worm'; we know what she is saying when she voices a warning: 'Quick! Hurry! gather yourselves under mamma, there's a hawk coming!' We understand the cat when she stretches herself out, purring with affection and contentment and lifts up a soft voice and says, 'Come, kitties, supper's ready'; we understand her when she goes mourning about and says, 'Where can they be? They are lost. Won't you help me hunt for them?' and we understand the disreputable Tom when he challenges at midnight from his shed, 'You come over here, you product of immoral commerce, and I'll make your fur fly!' We understand a few of a dog's phrases and we learn to understand a few of the remarks and gestures of any bird or other animal that we domesticate and observe. The clearness and exactness of the few of the hen's speeches which we understand is argument that she can communicate to her kind a hundred things which we cannot comprehend—in a word, that she can converse. And this argument is also applicable in the case of others of the great army of the Unrevealed. IT IS JUST LIKE MAN'S VANITY AND IMPERTINENCE TO CALL AN ANIMAL DUMB BECAUSE IT IS DUMB TO HIS DULL PERCEPTIONS [emphasis added]. Now as to the ant....'"
The full essay is available at these links:
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/70/70-h/7... [The Project Gutenberg EBook of "What Is Man? And Other Stories," by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)]