Mark Twain (1835-1910) was one of our best-known American authors and humorists. His real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens. He is best known for his novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Mark Twain married Oliva Langdon. She was a simple and devout Christian, but he was not a believer. For a while after they were married, they had prayer at meals and read the Bible each day. But this was soon given up. According to a conversation she had with her sister, Oliva said she had given up some of her religious beliefs. Her faith was shaken by people, places, and philosophies to which she was exposed as she traveled the world with her husband.
Oliva’s pet name for her husband was, "Youth." Their only son, Langdon, died in infancy and two of their three daughters - Susy and Jean - died as young women. During one of those sad times in their lives -it could have been after the death of one of their children - Twain said to Livy, "If it comforts you to lean on the Christian faith, do so."
"But I can’t, Youth; I haven’t any," she sadly replied.
Twain felt responsible for causing Livy to lose her faith and the thought came back to haunt him many times after her death in 1904.
Mark Twain loved Livy devotedly, but apparently his unbelieving attitude had an effect on her that even he didn’t want.
Clarence Macartney, Macartney’s Illustrations, (New York and Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1945) 225
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