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.
Sam

马克?吐温致妻
(奥莉维亚?L?兰登)(
  1)

莉维,亲爱的,今天早晨你好吗?因为这是早晨,估计只有九点半,所以我还没有起床。我刚刚醒来,自然首先想到的就是你。我打算到中午再起床。
我给我们的母亲写了一封信??如果她允许我这样称呼她的话??信已经寄出。如果我能把信收回,我定会重写一遍。我明白,若要让这封信“尽情表达”,它就会完全具有一种不落俗套的形式。但我又偶尔忘记,我实际上不是给她而是给公众写信这一事实。所以我详细阐述了那些不该详细阐述的事情,却对那些应该详细阐述的事情一带而过。但是你明白吗???如果我把公众记在心上,那种被公众询问或盘问纯属个人隐私的事情的感觉会是如此难以忍受,以至于使我根本无法写信。很难想象,你所写的或承认的关于你的最微妙的事情和隐私是怎样被陌生人阅读,又是怎样在茶余饭后被那些尽谈别人痛苦之事而非友善之事的形形色色的人评头论足。所以,也许毕竟是一种本能冲动驱使我去隐瞒,而不是无拘无束地全盘托出,尽管我并非真正意识到这种冲动。我并不认为自己与在同样情况下的其他人对此更敏感。
我已告诉费尔班克斯夫人去定做戒指,然后用快件寄到艾尔米拉,我于20号左右就能收到。这样,我就可以亲手把它戴在你的手指上,我亲爱的娇小的妻子。
我昨天给特威切尔写了一封短信,感谢他为促成我们的婚事尽心费力。我告诉他,我们打算过一种有意义、朴素、真挚、虔诚的生活;我一安顿下来就将与教堂联系;出于这些原因,我们俩都偏爱哈特福特的这种安宁、健康的氛围,而不喜欢克利夫兰那种干劲冲天、雄心勃勃的生活方式。我希望他明白,我们需要的是一个家??我们忍受过生活中的表演和虚荣,准备走进生活的现实中去??我们厌倦追逐生活中的幽灵和幻影,我们准备抓住它的实质。至少我??“我”是指我们俩人,当然“我们俩人”也是指我??因为我们两人不是成为一体了吗?
我昨天晚上读了许多《圣经》??为什么我们不能多读点《圣经》,却偏要把大量的从来都不看的书搬进客厅?我对这个问题想了好几次。
又是乌云密布了??唉!难道天永远不会放晴吗?我还是去睡觉吧。接受我这充满爱意的吻,你自己也去睡吧,我的偶像。
萨姆
于俄亥俄州
1869年2月15日
 

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