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Mark Twain

Connecticut Yankee

“The combination that makes the perfect man: Missouri morals and Connecticut culture.” – Mark Twain

In 1871 the Clemens moved to Hartford, Connecticut, renting a house from Isabella Beecher Hooker, the sister of Harriet. It was to be temporary situation until their new house was completed. On March 19, 1872, the Clemens welcomed their second child, Olivia Susan Clemens, who was always called “Susy.” She was named after her mother and her mother’s sister Susan. She was a healthy child, but Langdon remained frail and sickly, and he died on June 2, 1872, age eighteen months, the cause most likely being diphtheria. Work on the Clemens new house began in 1873 and summers for the family were now being spent at Livy’s sister, Susan Crane’s home, known as “Quarry Farm,” in Elmira. On June 8, 1874, Clara Langdon Clemens was born here, the second daughter for the Clemens. She was a large baby compared to the other two, and Twain fondly called her “The Great American Giantress.” It was at Quarry Farm that their last child was born also, Jane Lampton Clemens, on July 26, 1880. She was always known in the family as “Jean.” Twain was now surrounded by a family of women and he seemed to absolutely relish in it. He adored his wife and absolutely doted on his daughters. While his family expanded, his house was evolving into a showpiece that Twain took enormous pride in. While Twain had always had a disgust for the ostentatious lifestyle and indulgences of the wealthy, his home represented in the purest sense of the word the wealth and success he had attained from his writings. He even had Louis Comfort Tiffany, the designer of the Tiffany lamp, come in and design the first floor of his house. He was living the life of those he was scornful of, yet he counted among his friends some of the wealthiest titans of his day. He even coined the term “The Gilded Age” for the period when many were making enormous sums of money on the backbone of the workers. This conspicuous consumption spent on his house would eventually put him in dire straits and force him back onto the lecture circuit. But in the meantime, the Connecticut Yankee was doing very well for himself.

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