Mark Twain to His Wife
(Olivia L.Langdon)(I)

15 February 18
  69, Ohio
Livy,darling, how are you this morning?Forit is morning,I guess,inasmuch as it is only halfpast
  9,&I have not got up yet.I only awoke a
little while ago,&naturally thought of you the first thing.I don't intend to get up till noon.
I wrote to our Mother,??if she will allow me to call her so??&the letter is gone. If I hadit back I would write it over again. I see that inletting the letter“write itself” it took entirely too unconventional a form. I forgot,occasionally, thefact that I was really writing to the PUBLIC,instead of to her. And so I elaborated what neededno elaboration,& merely touched upon matterswhich should have been treated more fully. But don't you see???if I had kept the public in mymind, the sense of being questioned & crossquestioned by outsiders, upon matters essentiallyprivate & personal, would have been so oppressivethat I could not have written at all. It is hard toknow that what you are writing(confessing) aboutyour most delicate& private affairs is to be read bystrangers and unlovingly criticised & commentedon at tea tables & among miscellaneous groupswho would often rather say a smart thing than akind one. So I think that maybe, after all, theremay have been a little natural impulse to holdback,instead of speaking out freely, though I wasnot really conscious of such an impulse. I do notthink I am more sensitive than others woule be under like circumstances.
I told Mrs.Fairbanks to have the ring made,& then express it to me at Elmira so that it wouldreach there about the 20th.And so you see I canput it on your finger myself,my precious littlewife.
I wrote Twichell a short note yesterday to thank him for his kind efforts in forwarding ouraffairs.I told him we meant to lead a useful,unostentations & earnest religious life,& that Ishould unite with the church as soon as I was settled;& that both of us, on these accounts,would prefer the quiet, moral atmosphere ofHartford to the driving, ambitious ways ofCleveland. I wanted him to understand that whatwe want is a home??we are done with the shows& vanities of life & are ready to enter upon itsrealities that we are tired of chasing itsphantoms & shadows,& are ready to grasp itssubstance.At least I am??&“I” means both ofus,&“both of us” means I of course??for arenot we Twain one flesh?
I read a great deal in the Testament lastnight??why didn't we read the Testament more,instead of carrying loads of books into the drawingroom which we never read? I thought of it Severaltimes.
Clouding up again??well,is it never goingto clear off? I will go to sleep again.Take thisloving kiss & go to bed yourself,my idol.





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