Sam's Shorts

If you’ve ever wanted to dive deeper into Twain's works but haven't known where to start, Sam’s Shorts is your opportunity!

Each month, we’re bringing you a brief passage from one of his less-familiar works, including his speeches, essays, short stories, and letters, and inviting you to read, reflect, and respond. Then we’ll share what we learned from your responses, answer some of your questions, and tell you a bit more about the background and context of the piece. Your responses help us develop new programs for adults and teach Twain’s writing to students. They’ll also help us pick new shorts for you to read and enjoy!

You can also read all previous Sam’s Shorts selections with reader feedback and additional context.

Sam Clemens to Mary Mason Fairbanks, August 1872

Fenwick Hall
em spaceSaybrook, Conn.,
em spaceem spaceAug. 11.

. . . the main reason why I, individually, have not written, is,—laziness. I never was afflicted with it before, but now that I have tried it, I adore it.

Our Susie is doing famously here, but the case was different in Hartford, the moment the warm weather set in. We had to pack our trunks mighty suddenly, the 5th of July & rush down here—& none too soon, for the succeeding week wilted Hartford children away like a simoom. This place is on the Sound, 2 hours from Hartford, & is delightfully cool & comfortable—never an hour of heat, day or night. Mrs. Langdon will reach here in a day or two, & she & Livy will remain till cool weather—but I sail in the Scotia, Aug. 21st for Europe—England, rather—to be gone several months. If I find I am to be away very long, shall return by & by & take Livy over. I confine myself to England & Scotland. I wish you would come over there; & if you can’t, I wish you would make Livy a real good visit.

You must remember us lovingly to our friends in Cleveland, & especially the Severances—Mrs. S’s. letter to us when we lost our boy touched us & so warmed our hearts toward her. I say these things to you because we have replied to none of the many letters of condolence we received, writing was so painful.

Susie is bright & strong & we love her so that no sacrifice seems too much to make for her; though I feel that we must look up a less expensive article of condensed milk for her. Good-bye.

Lovingly. . .


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Read the full letter online here, courtesy of the Mark Twain Project at the University of California, Berkeley. 

Programs at The Mark Twain House & Museum are made possible in part by support from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts, and the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign and its Travelers Arts Impact Grant program with major support from The Travelers Foundation.