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Lot #412
Samuel L. Clemens

A self-deprecating CLEMENS dismisses the slanderous remarks of a “fragrant countess” he deems “insane”: “The character she can destroy is not worth saving”

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Description

A self-deprecating CLEMENS dismisses the slanderous remarks of a “fragrant countess” he deems “insane”: “The character she can destroy is not worth saving”

Crisply penned ALS signed “S. L. Clemens,” two pages on black-bordered stationery, 4.5 x 7, personal letterhead, February 19, 1905. Clemens writes to a priest (“Dear Padre”). In full: “It was most kind of you to remember me, & I thank you very much. From what you say I comprehend that the fragrant countess from the divorce courts of Philadelphia has been destroying my character. It is all right (as we say), it does not disturb me. The character that she can destroy is not worth saving. Forgive her? Yes, I am quite able to do that, but it would do no good, she would not understand it. The insane seldom understand the words or acts that proceed from a moral basis. Especially when they are old. Earlier she would have understood. At 45 she would have understood. But it is too late, now. We keep you in warm remembrance, dear padre, we shall not forget you.” The original recipient is possibly the Reverend Joseph Twichell (1838–1918) of Hartford, who officiated the Clemens’s marriage, christened the Clemens children, and was one of the author’s closest friends for more than four decades. In fine condition, with a few trivial spots and two brushes to “Philadelphia” in text. The clarity and contrast of Clemens’s writing is second to none, making this a most superior example. JSA/John Reznikoff Auction LOA and RRAuction COA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title:
  • Dates: #344 - Ended April 15, 2009