“You ain’t ever to love anybody but me…” (Garrison Keillor, Clint Eastwood)
NARRATOR: After the 164-day voyage on the Quaker City, Sam Clemens would reconnect with a friend he’d met on that journey, Charley Langdon. Sam had seen a photo of Langdon’s sister, Olivia, in Langdon’s stateroom on the boat and within a year he contrived to meet this beautiful, educated, genteel Eastern woman who was ten years younger and every bit his intellectual match. He went so far as to fake a head injury so that he could prolong a visit at the Langdons’ home. And thus began an enduring love affair.
TWAIN: “I saw her first in the form of an ivory miniature in her brother Charley’s stateroom…in the Bay of Smyrna, in the summer of 1867, when she was in her twenty-second year. I saw her in the flesh for the first time in New York in the following December. She was slender and beautiful and girlish – and she was both girl and woman. She remained both girl and woman to the last day of her life.” (Autobiography)
NARRATOR: Olivia’s father gave permission for the engagement despite Sam Clemens’s unpolished background and his lack of references. And in a letter to Livy, Sam wrote passionately of their impending union.
TWAIN: “…it makes of two fractional lives a whole; it gives to two purposeless lives a work, & doubles the strength of each whereby to perform it; it gives to two questioning natures a reason for living, & something to live for; it will give a new gladness to the sunshine, a new fragrance to the flowers, a new beauty to the earth, a new mystery to life; & Livy, it will give a new revelation to love, a new depth to sorrow, a new impulse to worship. In that day the scales will fall from our eyes & we shall look upon a new world. Speed it!” (Letter to Livy, 9/8/1869)