Elmira, N. Y.,
Feb. 5, 1869.
5 February 1869 • Elmira, N.Y.
(MS facsimile and paraphrase: Davis and CU-MARK, UCCL 00245)
Elmira, N. Y.,
This is to inform you that on yesterday, the 4th of February, I was duly & solemnly & irrevocably engaged to be married to Miss Olivia L. Langdon, aged 23½, only daughter of Jervis and Olivia Langdon, of Elmira, New York. Amen. She is the best girl in all the world, & the most sensible, & I am just as proud of her as I can be.1
It may be a good while before we are married, for I am not rich enough to give her a comfortable home right away, & I don’t want anybody’s help. I can get an eighth of the Cleveland Herald for $25,000, & have it so arranged that I can pay for it as I earn the money with my unaided hands. I shall look around a little more, & if I can do no better elsewhere, I shall take it.2
I am not worrying about whether you will love my future wife or not—if you know her twenty-four hours & then don’t love her, you will accomplish what nobody else has ever succeeded in doing since she was born. She just naturally drops into everybody’s affections that comes across her. My prophecy was correct. She said she never could or would love me—but she set herself the task of making a Christian of me. I said she would succeed, but that in the meantime she would unwittingly dig a matrimonial pit & end by tumbling into it—& lo! the prophecy is fulfilled. She was in New York a day or two ago, & George Wiley & his wife & Clara know her now. Pump them, if you [want . ]to.3 You shall see her before very long. Love to all.
P.S. Shall be here a week.
[paraphrase: S. L. C. to Mrs. Moffett, his sister. Addressed to St. Louis. Postmarked Feb. 6. Return Address: J. Langdon, Elmira on env.] 4
Provenance:The letter and envelope were returned to Clemens, presumably by Pamela
Moffett, for they both survived in the Samossoud Collection at least until
1947: sometime between then and 1949 Wecter saw the MS there and had the
letter transcribed and the envelope paraphrase made. The envelope had
evidently become separated from the letter, for the paraphrase of its text
was mistakenly typed with the transcription of a letter to Pamela Moffett,
now dated 29? November 1868 (L2, 294–96). Davis acquired the MS of the letter and the
envelope directly from Clara Clemens Samossoud after 1947 (see Samossoud
Collection, p. 586).
Emendations and textual notes:
Margaret • [‘M’ possibly written over a partly formed, uppercase character]
want . • [deletion implied]