New York, 23d
My Dear Sister:
We have all been to Hartford, for the last ten days, attending the wedding of a niece of Henry Ward Beecher.1 Mr. Beecher congratulated me very cordially on my engagement. He thinks Livy is a gem of a girl. I concur.
Mr. & Mrs. Langdon went home day before yesterday,2 but as I had some business to attend to, Livy waited for me, & is stopping with some friends in Fifth Avenue., where I go to see her every day. These friends are great favorites with the Langdons, & will spend the month of August at his house. They are Mr. & Mrs. Brooks & son, & a young sister of Mrs. B. I never saw anybody absolutely worshipped as they worship Livy. I think Brooks would give half his fortune to have us take up our permanent residence in his family. They think ever so much of George Wiley & his wife, too. George was very kind to Livy the last time she was here, & so I am commanded to go & call on him to-morrow.3
I mean to go to Cleveland in a few days, to see what sort of an arrangement I can make with the Herald people. If they will take sixty thousand dollars for [ a one-third ] of the paper, I know Mr. Langdon will buy it for me. This is strictly private—don’t mention my affairs to anybody.
The first edition of the book—20,000 copies—is being printed.
Mr. Langdon thinks it is very unfortunate if you have contracted to part with the land at $1 per acre—especially if the other party is empowered to sell at any figure he [pleases. But ]if you get $30,000 cash out of it, I shall be satisfied. The rest of us might afford to hold on for higher prices, but Ma can’t—she is growing old, & I do wish I could see her in liberal circumstances. I should not think Mr. Langdon would have much patience with any sort of Tennessee matters, for the city of Memphis owes him five hundred thousand dollars, & he is having a lively time getting it. I tell him he never will get it, but I don’t find it easy to discourage him. His agent there is a pretty live man, & if he hadn’t his hands so [ af awfully ]full I would touch him up on Tennessee land through Mr. Langdon. However, if your present contract is binding it would not be worth while.4
I will go down town tomorrow & get some money to send to Ma. For a week or two I have been away from my base of supplies & could not make a remittance. I am economising as well as I can, but I am not making a cent. However, I don’t wish to economise at Ma’s expense. I am afraid I shall be in a poor condition to marry in the winter, but I shall marry, nevertheless, if I get settled. If I go into the Cleveland Herald I mean to make [my salary ] support me, (if I have only an eighth or tenth interest,) without touching the profits. Livy will be well suited with that arrangement.
She wants to see you all—but I guess she must wait awhile. She is a staunch friend of Orion’s, & I fancy she is about half in love with him.5
Don’t you worry about my “taking away the only daughter” when they are so anxious to have us remain in Elmira. I will engage that they follow that daughter within twelve months. They couldn’t stay away from her. And they think about as much of me as they do of her6—[& ]so with both of us away, I fancy they will pack up & come along bye & bye. And Mr. Langdon has his prodigious coal business so well in hand that he could sit down in Cleveland & manage it about as well as in Elmira.
You seem to think that I spend money foolishly—but I don’t. My absolute expenses are $50 a week, just for food, lodging & washing, & it is not possible to live for less. My other expenses are not very heavy. ‸, but still unavoidable, & not very light.‸ Then add large & contrstant railroad expenses, & you see it foots up. I have not run behindhand with Ma. She only asked $35 a month, & I have paid her a ($400 a year,) & I have paid her as much as $500 in the last thirteen months.7 I ought to have done better, I know (& one $50 bill I believe she said she didn’t receive, & so I have not counted it,) but then you must give me the little credit that is due me, you know. If ever I get settled, I can supply her easily—could now if I were only located instead of moving constantly from one expensive hotel to another.
Send me the land agent’s prospectus—to Elmira. Livy will forward it to me, in case I am not in St Louis by that time. I will pay my exp share of the taxes & things—I would do pretty much anything to “get shut” of that land.8 And Pamela, I will gladly repay you for the expenses you incur on Ma’s account, only give me a little time. You bear with my shortcomings as patiently as a saint.
I must go. Good-bye. Love to all, & all good fortune attend you.
Mrs. W. A. Moffett ǀ 203 South 16th st9 ǀ St. Louis ǀ Mo. [return address:] [S. Clemens] everett house w. b. borrows,10 new-york. [hotel stamp:] everett[house union square, n.y.]jun [23 1869 ] [postage stamp and postmark torn away]
Provenance:Mark Twain Papers of Moffett Collection, see pp. 585–87.
Emendations and textual notes:
a one-third • [‘o’ over ‘a’]
pleases. But • please.—ǀBut
af awfully • afwfully [‘f’ partly formed; possibly ‘l’ or ‘b’]
my salary • mysa salary [false start; ‘a’ partly formed]
& • & & [partly formed]
Afe Affectionat[e]ly • Afefectionatly
S. Clemens • [very heavily canceled]
houseunionsquare,n.y. • hous[e]u[ni]on [squa]re, n.[y] [badly inked]
23 1869 • [2 1]8 [badly inked]