| She said she never would or could love me
-- but she set herself the task of making a Christian of me. I said she
would succeed, but that in the meantime she would unwittingly dig a matrimonial
pit and end by tumbling into it -- and lo! the prophecy is fulfilled.
- Letter to Jane Clemens, February 1869
Illustration of Clemens faking injury during
his courtship of Olivia Langdon. From
ST. NICHOLAS, May 1916
Mark Twain's wife Olivia with daughter Clara. Photo by Faulk
Sydney, Australia, 1895.
Photo from THE SKETCH,
Nov. 27, 1895.
| My experience with Providence has not been
of a nature to give me great confidence in his judgment, and I consider
that my wife crept in while his attention was occupied elsewhere.
- quoted in Melbourne Age, 28 October 1895
I have put this restraint upon me and kept it there all these years to keep
from breaking my wife's heart, whose contentment I value above the salvation
of the human race. This is a confession that in building a wall across my Nile
and damning my feelings and opinions behind it, and trying to caulk the leaks,
I am not actuated by principle, but by something much stronger -- sentiment.
... All this elaborate explanation of why I am not likely to write that book
which you speak of amounts to this, when boiled down: ninety-nine parts of me
are afraid, and my wife, who is the bulk of the remaining fraction, forbids
- Letter to Carl Thalbitzer, 26 November 1902. Reprinted in Harper's Magazine, December 2009.
She and I were really one person and there were no secrets. Sometimes I was
that person, sometimes she was that person. Sometimes it took both of us together
to constitute that person.
- Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 2 (2013), p. 28. Dictated 9 April, 1906.
Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search