New 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
Samℓ. L. Clemens.
Provenance:see McKinney Family Papers, pp. 583–85.
Emendations and textual notes:
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