Jump to Content

Add to My Citations To Olivia Lewis (Mrs. Jervis) Langdon
23 June 1869 • New York, N.Y.
(MS: NPV, UCCL 00319)
Click to add citation to My Citations.

Everett House1
em spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceNew York, 23d


Dear Mrs Langdon—

It is 7.30 P.M., & I have not seen Livy since 2. The amount of fortitude necessary to enable me to endure this separation is just about the amount required to enable a martyr to endure burning at the stake. Maybe martyrs enjoy this sort of heroism—I don’t. However, I believe Livy thinks one visit a day to Mrs. Brooks’s (with an apostrophe & an extra s,) is enough, & so I submit. I arrived here at 5 PM yesterday, & went up to Mrs. B.’s & staid till 10, leaving promptly at that hour. I was there to-day from 11 till 2, & I am not to go again till to-morrow.

Livy is thoroughly enjoying herself, & it does me good to see how those two children nestle respectfully about her, & gaze at her, & hang upon her words, & worship her.2 But it only gratifies me—it does not surprise me. It would surprise me if they did otherwise. Remsen is somewhat jealous of me—& he looked so sorrowful when I took possession of Livy to help her up & down stairs (a felicity which he had been enjoying,) that I was not distressed at all when she declined my assistance & accepted his. Still, if this infant becomes too pointed in his attentions, I shall have him for breakfast some morning.

Livy was a little homesick after you departed, she says, & half wished she had gone with you. At first I was sorry she had did not go, & so save herself from that depression of spirits, but I soon felt otherwise—for I saw that she was happy & contented, & moreover that she was recuperating fast & looking stronger & brighter, & I felt that a ten-hour rail-trip added right on to the fatigues she had been undergoing, could not have been good for her. It would have worn the poor child out. I am going to start home with her Saturday morning, (she having canvassed the matter of her own accord with Mrs Brooks & satisfied [herself ]that there [ w ]can be no impropriety in it,) & then we will all go out immediately & see Mrs. Fairbanks3—for there is nothing much to be gained by getting into the Hartford Post (though further of that with Mr. Langdon.) [ The Governor Jewell told me ] 4 We looked for Charley this morning, but I have just come from his hotel & they are not expecting him.

Sanford Greeves was at Mrs Brooks’s’s last night—a good, well-behaved, gentle-natured, fair & honorable & very young man, of little force & very harmless. It is well his good angel saved him from matrimony. Emma Figuratively speaking, Emma would have made him climb a tree in less than six months. How she would have lorded it over him! Why they were utterly unfitted for each other, & I cannot see what ever pro bred their love. He is so meek, & she so—so—so otherwise as you might say. They got ready for mating, several centuries too soon, as nearly as I can make it out, after ciphering all through the Book of Revelations. Now if they could only have been patient, & waited for the Millennium,—when “the lion & the lamb shall lie down together.”5 It would have been all right, then—but not in the nineteenth century.

I wanted to take Greeves by the hand, & throw myself on his bosom & weep down the back of his neck, & congratulate him, but I didn’t dare to do it. Because Livy was there—& you know I have to walk mighty straight when she is around. She isn’t very strong, but she can make me [behave.

Pray ] give my love to Mr. Langdon, & to Theodore & Mrs. Sue—& permit me to subscribe myself

Lovingly & dutifully

Sam. L. Clemens.

Explanatory Notes | Textual Commentary

Add to My Citations

Click to add citation to My Citations.
1 The Everett House, located on the north side of Union Square at Fourth Avenue and Seventeenth Street, was, according to an 1866 guidebook, “a convenient and delightful place for visitors, being not only in the fashionable part of the city, but also contiguous to the cars, stages, &c.” (James Miller, 69).

Add to My Citations

Click to add citation to My Citations.
2 The children were Fidele Brooks’s son, Remsen, and her younger sister, Josephine Griffiths Polhemus, who was living with her while attending school in New York City (L2, 278–79 n. 2).

Add to My Citations

Click to add citation to My Citations.
3 In Cleveland, as Clemens indicates in the next letter.

Add to My Citations

Click to add citation to My Citations.
4 Marshall Jewell (1825–83), part-owner of the Hartford Post and recently elected governor of Connecticut, had been one of the guests at Alice Hooker Day’s wedding. He and his family were to become friends of the Clemenses in the 1870s (Sobel and Raimo, 1:180; “A Wedding in Hartford,” Hartford Courant, 19 June 69, 2).

Add to My Citations

Click to add citation to My Citations.
5 The “lion” was Livy’s friend Emma Sayles, until recently engaged to Sanford (or John) Greeves (see 9 May 69 to OLL). The phrase in quotation marks is a rather free extrapolation from Isaiah 11:6, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”

glyphglyphCopy-text:glyphMS, Jean Webster McKinney Family Papers, Vassar College Library (NPV).

glyphglyphPrevious publication:glyph L3, 268–270; MTBus, 104–6.

glyphglyphProvenance:glyphsee McKinney Family Papers, pp. 583–85.

glyphglyphEmendations and textual notes:glyph

herself • herseflf

w[partly formed]

The Governor Jewell told me[Clemens may have completed ‘The Governor’ before canceling ‘The’ and continuing with ‘Jewell’]

behave. [] Pray • behave.—| [] Pray