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Lot 21Clemens, Samuel L. (Mark Twain)
Autograph letter signed ("S.L. Clemens"), four pages, 8vo, Rest & Be-Thankful, 20 August 1886, to "Dear Clara [Spaulding]", giving advice to the soon-to-be married, reading in part, "Out of the accumulated riches of my seventeen years' married experience I tender to you folks one offering... 'No member shall be called to account for words spoken in debate.' The secret of eternal peace in the family lies concealed in that golden commandment! All conversations are but debates, whether they get utterance in a capitol or cabin; & in them one is always apt to say more than he meant to say. And whenever he does that, just let him alone; don't call him to account -- he will do that himself, every time." He continues his advice and concludes, "There isn't time -- so brief is life -- for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving..." Page four contains several corrections and excisions.

Clara Spaulding was a close childhood friend of Mrs. Clemens and accompanied the Clemenses on several journeys to Europe, including the 1878 trip that provided source material for A Tramp Abroad. In 1874, when Livy Clemens gave birth to a girl, the Clemenses named her Clara in Ms. Spaulding's honor. Ms. Spaulding was married to John Stanchfield of Elmira, New York on 6 September 1886. This letter is quoted in Andrew Hoffman's Inventing Mark Twain: The Lives of Samuel Longhorne Clemens, 1997 from a photostatic copy retained by The Mark Twain Collection, The University of California, Berkeley.
Provenance: Clara Spaulding Stanchfield, by descent to the present owner.

Property of a Maryland Family


Sold for $5,000
Estimate $2,500-3,500


Any condition statement is given as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Doyle New York shall have no responsibility for any error or omission. The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging.





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