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Add to My Citations To Olivia L. Langdon
13 February 1869 • Cleveland, Ohio
(MS: CU-MARK, UCCL 00247)
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all kinds job printingem spaceterms.—daily, $10; tri-weekly, $5; weekly, $2 per year;
em spaceand book binding.em spaceem spacefractions of a year in the same proportion.

geo. a. benedict,em spaceem spaceem spaceoffice cleveland daily heraldem space130 & 132 bank street.
geo. s. benedict,em spaceem spaceem spaceem spacefairbanks, benedict & co., proprietors
a. w. fairbanks.

cleveland, o. Feb. 13, 186 9.

Livy, darling, (10 AM.) I have been here two hours in a splendid state of [exasperation. I ] went to bed in the cars at half past nine, last night & slept like a log until 7 this morning, & woke up thoroughly refreshed. The first thing Mrs. Fairbanks said was, [ where were you last night?—a telegram came from Alliance at 8 o’clock, saying “Splendid audience assembled—where is Mark Twain?—somebody will be responsible for this.”]

I said “Alliance?—never heard of it!”

And she said Mr. Fairbanks made the appointment for me, & would have telegraphed me but didn’t know where to telegraph—didn’t know but that I had left Elmira—& as my letter from there (received last Monday), said I would reach here on the 12th, he didn’t think it necessary to telegraph me anyhow. What abominable absurdity! I said, “Will you never learn anything? Are you going to be the same astonishing old aggregation of nonsense all the days of your life? Didn’t you know I would stay in Elmira to the very last moment?—& didn’t you know that Livy would be certain to know where I was, & that a telegram to Charley1 would find me?”—& so on, till she threatened to take the broomstick to me. So you see, I must foot those Alliance bills—it would be dishonorable to do otherwise—& I must make a long trip west in the Spring & deliver that lecture free of charge—as nearly as I can come at it the failure to expend a dollar on a telegram will result in costing me two hundred dollars, four days lost time & five hundred miles of travel—& yet Fairbanks’ letter to me, which should have gone to Jacksonville or Galena by telegraph, is still chasing around the country somewhere. I have begged him, & those hated execrable agents of mine [ all always ] to use the telegraph, but I can’t get them to do it. The U.S. Mail has cost me some fifteen hundred dollars this season, & I would heartily wish it sunk to the bottom of the sea, only that it is so useful to me in hearing from you, Livy. So we will let the U.S. Mail still live, my darling—I can’t possibly do without it.

Now I am in a good humor again, & all the Alliances in the world can’t get me out of it again. I have given Mrs. Fairbanks the little ring, & she will have the engagement ring made. It seems unnatural not to see you this morning, you precious girl—& it seems odd not to find Mrs Langdon’s face among the faces about me, or hear [ that the ] pleasant cackle of that absurd cousin of yours2—I send her my very kindest regards. Give Mr. [Langdon ] my love, please—he is at home by this time.3

With a fervent blessing, & a prayer for you, & many & many a kiss, my dear Livy,

Sam. L. C.4


Miss Olivia L. Langdon

Politeness of the Reformed Pirate.

[return address:] fairbanks, benedict & co. publishers of the herald, book and job printers, bank st., cleveland, o. p. m. if not called for within ten days return. [docketed by OLL:] 38th

Explanatory Notes | Textual Commentary

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1 This hypothetical telegram was to be addressed to Charles J. Langdon, in keeping with the continuing effort to divert attention from Clemens’s interest in Olivia.

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2 Harriet Lewis.

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3 Jervis Langdon doubtless had been in Elmira for his daughter’s formal engagement on 4 February. His reason for being away from home after that date has not been discovered.

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4 Clemens’s elaborate revision of his usual signature to Olivia was in playful recognition of their official engagement. He signed himself “Sam” on all subsequent letters to her.

glyphglyphCopy-text:glyphMS, Mark Twain Papers, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley (CU-MARK). A photographic facsimile of the letter is on pp. 523–29. The MS consists of three leaves of blue-lined off-white wove paper, approximately 5 9/16 by 8½ inches, inscribed on all six sides in black ink, now faded to brown.

glyphglyphPrevious publication:glyph L3, 88–90; LLMT, 357, brief paraphrase; MTMF, 70–71, with omissions.

glyphglyphProvenance:glyphsee Samossoud Collection, p. 586.

glyphglyphEmendations and textual notes:glyph

exasperation. I • exasperation.—|I

where ... “Splendid ... this.” • [sic]

all always • allways [underscored after revision]

that the • thate

Langdon • [doubtful ‘Langdons’; ‘s’ partly formed]