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Add to My Citations To Olivia L. Langdon
23 June 1869 • New York, N.Y.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCCL 00321)
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Everett House,
em spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem spaceem space10 o’clock Tuesday Eve.1


Little saint,—dear, good little girl—generous, unselfish Livy darling—my other self—I keep thinking of your remaining here more on my account than your own—altogether to gratify me, I almost think you said—& while I continually bless you for it, & love you, love you dearly for it, I as continually supplicate that your comfort & happiness may be such that you will not regret it for a single moment, & that you will not feel sad & [homesick ] again, as you did when your mother & father went away. These thoughts have formed the ceas[e]less undercurrent of my meditations for during the two hours that I have been sitting here writing, & so it is but natural to give them relief at last on [paper. It ] is a darling good girl, & it rests me to write to her. And bless you it will not be in any wise a wearisome wa journey to me to post off to 675 5th ave., presently & thrust this under the door. I do hope you are asleep, now, Livy, & that you won’t wake up till 9 in the morning. It grieves me so to hear that you have not rested well. And I am afraid you neglect your afternoon nap at Mrs. B.’s. Don’t do that, Livy, please. Brighten yourself up, dearie, & recuperate from your long fatigue. I have written six pages to our good mother to-night, & told her you were looking rested, & happy, & strong & bright—& that I would bring you home Saturday none the worse for your sojourn here. And I have written a long letter to my mother & sister in St Louis, also.

I have spent many & many a long, lonesome hour since I saw you, & have regretted that I went up stairs so soon to-day.

I am afraid Remsen isn’t tall enough or strong enough to help you much, & those stairways are very long, & steep, & fatiguing,—but I hadn’t the heart to insist on taking you up myself, to-day, when I saw how my proposal to do it distressed him. He is jealous of me, anyhow, & I didn’t want to provoke him to violence. Still, my dear, please don’t traverse those stairs much with such inefficient assistance, for it hurts me to think of it. It would hurt Remsen to know how I am slandering his generous & certainly well-meant efforts, I know, but nevertheless I have more confidence in the strong arms of his father or his mother than in his. Politeness demanded that I should allow this pleasure to Remsen, but it was a politeness that I yielded with many misgivings. (Now I ought not to have written any of this, but it would be written, in spite of me, for it has lain heavily on my mind.)

I went walked down to the St Nicholas Hotel at 6.30 this evening, but Charley hadn’t come, nor had he telegraphed for a [room. And ] so, whether he comes to-night or not, I am going shopping with you to-morrow. If he comes, all right—we will both go with you. I have thought it all over, this afternoon—therefore, dearie, make up your mind to put up with it. And also make up your mind to shop just as much as you please, for you will not be able to tire my patience in the slightest possible degree. You shan’t take Charley along, & let him leave you as soon as shopping grows irksome to him. I couldn’t have a moment’s peace if I knew you were driving about these streets alone. You are too precious to be risked carelessly like common clay.

I spent two hours in the Academy of Design, this afternoon, & I would have enjoyed it a rarely if I had had company. If you had been staying at a hotel you would have been with me., & then I would have been comfortable. If we have an opportunity, we must drop in there [to-morrow ]. There is a portrait there which reminds me ever so strongly of some one we both know, & I wondered & wondered how it came there. I also wondered whether the resemblance was real, or only a creation of my own imagination. So I thought I would like to turn you loose in the Academy & see if you could find the picture without a hint from me.2

It is a quarter after eleven, & I must hurry up to Mrs. Brooks’s’s with this. I shall call on you at 10 in the morning, or just as soon as possible thereafter, & shall be very sick if my dearie is not at home. Good night, darling, & angels as pure as your own thoughts & sinless as your own heart minister to you, & God in his goodness bless you & keep you.

[Sam. ]



Miss Olivia L. Langdon


[docketed by OLL:] 84th| Under the door at Mrs Brooks

Explanatory Notes | Textual Commentary

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1 Since Clemens says in his first paragraph that he had written the two previous letters “to-night,” this letter must also have been written on Wednesday evening, 23 June.

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2 The National Academy of Design, at the northwest corner of Twenty-third Street and Fourth Avenue, was six blocks from Clemens’s hotel. Its annual spring exhibition had opened in mid-April. Among the portraits, one reviewer noted the following:

Very grateful and very subtly charming is No. 181, by Mr. H. P. Gray, the “Portrait of a Young Lady.” There is nothing brilliant, nothing rich; no superb shawl, no luminous jewel. All is quiet, simple, truthful, tasteful. In the oneness of tone there is a prevalence of lead-color, half-relieved, and somewhat oddly, by a bit of blue ribbon in the hair. Let this be contrasted with its vis-à-vis, No. 254, also a young lady’s “Portrait,” by Mr. G. A. Baker, which is all dash and sparkle and gay animation. The latter will catch the many admirers; the former will hold the few. It is the old difference between the popular and the good. (“National Academy of Design,” Appletons’ Journal of Literature, Science, and Art 1 [5 June 69]: 308)

The first portrait, with its “bit of blue ribbon,” reminded Clemens of Olivia (see 26 and 27 Jan 69 and 13 Mar 69, both to OLL). The artist, Henry Peters Gray (1819–77), was a prolific painter of contemporary and classical subjects and a regular exhibitor at the Academy of Design (Disturnell, 102; Moses King 1893, 308; “Table-Talk,” Appletons’ Journal of Literature, Science, and Art 1 [8 May 69]: 186; Naylor, 1:355–57; Tuckerman, 442–45).

glyphglyphCopy-text:glyphMS, Mark Twain Papers, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley (CU-MARK).

glyphglyphPrevious publication:glyph L3, 273–275; LLMT, 359, brief quotation.

glyphglyphProvenance:glyphsee Samossoud Collection, p. 586.

glyphglyphEmendations and textual notes:glyph

homesick • home-|sick

paper. It • paper.—|It

room. And • room.—|And

to-morrow • to-|morrow