It was a brick out of a blue sky, & knocked me groggy for a moment. Ah me, the pathos of it is that we were young then. And he--why, so was he, but he didn't know it. He didn't even know it 9 years later, when we saw him approaching and you warned me, saying:

"Don't say anything about age--he has just turned 50 & thinks he is old, & broods over it."

Well, Clara did sing! And you wrote her a dear letter.

Time to go to sleep.

Yours ever, MARK

The second letter, begun at 10 A.M., outlines the plan by which he is to write on the subject uppermost in his mind without restraint, knowing that the letter is not to be mailed.

. . .The scheme furnishes a definite target for each letter, & you can choose the target that's going to be the most sympathetic for what you are hungering & thirsting to say at that particular moment. And you can talk with a quite unallowable frankness & freedom because you are not going to send the letter. When you are on fire with theology you'll not write it to Rogers, who wouldn't be an inspiration; you'll write it to Twichell, because it will make him writhe and squirm & break the furniture. When you are on fire with a good thing that's indecent you won't waste it on Twichell; you'll save it for Howells, who will love it. As he will never see it you can make it really indecenter than he could stand; & so no harm is done, yet a vast advantage is gained.

The letter was not finished, and the scheme perished there. The Twichell letter concerned missionaries, and added nothing to what he had already said on the subject.

He wrote no letter to Mr. Rogers--perhaps never wrote to him again.



Clemens, a little before my return, had been on a trip to Norfolk, Virginia, to attend the opening ceremonies of the Virginia Railway. He had made a speech on that occasion, in which he had paid a public tribute to Henry Rogers, and told something of his personal obligation to the financier.

He began by telling what Mr. Rogers had done for Helen Keller, whom he called "the most marvelous person of her sex that has existed on this earth since Joan of Arc." Then he said:

That is not all Mr. Rogers has done, but you never see that side of his character because it is never protruding; but he lends a helping hand daily out of that generous heart of his. You never hear of it. He is supposed to be a moon which has one side dark and the other bright. But the other side, though you don't see it, is not dark; it is bright, and its rays penetrate, and others do see it who are not God. I would take this opportunity to tell something that I have never been allowed to tell by Mr. Rogers, either by my mouth or in print, and if I don't look at him I can tell it now.

In 1894, when the publishing company of Charles L. Webster, of which I was financial agent, failed, it left me heavily in debt. If you will remember what commerce was at that time you will recall that you could not sell anything, and could not buy anything, and I was on my back; my books were not worth anything at all, and I could not give away my copyrights. Mr. Rogers had long-enough vision ahead to say, "Your books have supported you before, and after the panic is over they will support you again," and that was a correct proposition. He saved my copyrights, and saved me from financial ruin. He it was who arranged with my creditors to allow me to roam the face of the earth and persecute the nations thereof with lectures, promising at the end of four years I would pay dollar for dollar. That arrangement was made, otherwise I would now be living out-of-doors under an umbrella, and a borrowed one at that.

You see his white mustache and his hair trying to get white (he is always trying to look like me--I don't blame him for that).

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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