472
472
Clemens, Samuel L.
Estimate
7,00010,000
LOT SOLD. 6,875 USD
JUMP TO LOT
472
Clemens, Samuel L.
Estimate
7,00010,000
LOT SOLD. 6,875 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

THE JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: ARTS & SCIENCES, INCLUDING THE MARK TWAIN COLLECTION

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New York

Clemens, Samuel L.
Autograph letter signed ("Good bye sweetheart—I love you. | Sam'l"), 3 pages plus 4 lines on page 4 (8 x 5 in.; 200 x 125 mm), the first leaf on Langham Hotel, London stationery, 12 October [1872], to his wife Livy, describes his loneliness and yearning for her presence. Together with: Original envelope addressed to Mrs. S. L. Clemens | cor. Forest & Hawthorne | Hartford | Conn., postmarked London, 12 October 1872 and New York (date blurred); envelope roughly opened along right margin, soiled. 
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Provenance

Estate of Chester Davis (sale, Christies New York, 17 May 1991, lot 88)

Literature

Mark Twain's Letters (eds. L. Salamo and H. E. Smith), 5: 196–197

Catalogue Note

"It is too dreary when the lights are out & the company gone," writes a lonely and lovelorn Clemens from London to his wife of a year-and-a-half. Her mere presence rather than chatty companionship would greatly comfort him: "Don't particularly want to talk to you, for I do hate talking—much prefer reading & smoking—but I simply need & want the company there is in your presence—I want to know & be conscious that you are around—close at hand. I don't think that you have ever understood my penchant for silence & how much I enjoy a person's mere presence without the bore of speech. ... You may have observed that I do dearly love to go to bed & lie there steeped in the comfort of reading ...  It would be perfect bliss if you were at my side — (& perfectly quiet & peaceable)—(even asleep) — but without you I am free to admit that is is only a poor lame sort of enjoyment. "

So painful is the degree of this first marital separation that  Clemens decides that "one of 2 or 3 things must be done: Either you must come right over here for 6 months; or I must go right back home 3 or 4  weeks hence & both of us come here April 1st & stay all summer." Clemens had gone to London in September with the intention of gathering material for a satire on the English, but after two months of being lionized, he ditched the idea and the book was never written. " ... About one thing there is no question whatever—& that is, one musn't tackle England in print with a mere superficial knowledge of it. I am by long odds the most widely known & popular American author among the English & the book will be read by pretty much every Englishman—therefore for my own sake it must not be a poor book."  Justin Kaplan noted that Clemens was quickly transformed into an Anglophile and that "their way of life offered him for the first time a baseline by which he could measure his discontent with his own country, and instead of a satire on the English he wrote The Gilded Age, an angry and reactionary book about Americans" (Kaplan, Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain, p. 154). Livy joined Clemens in May 1873 and stayed in England with him until October of that year. Although Clemens swears in this letter that he will never journey abroad without Livy, he returned to England alone in November 1873 for a three-month lecture tour.   

THE JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: ARTS & SCIENCES, INCLUDING THE MARK TWAIN COLLECTION

|
New York