I am so glad Susy has gone on that trip and that you are trying the electric. May you both prosper. For you are mighty dear to me and in my thoughts always. SAML.
The affairs of the Webster Publishing Company were by this time getting into a very serious condition indeed. The effects of the panic of the year before could not be overcome. Creditors were pressing their claims and profits were negligible. In the following letter we get a Mark Twain estimate of the great financier who so cheerfully was willing to undertake the solving of Mark Twain's financial problems.
THE PLAYERS, Feb. 15, '94. 11.30 p. m. Livy darling, Yesterday I talked all my various matters over with Mr. Rogers and we decided that it would be safe for me to leave here the 7th of March, in the New York. So his private secretary, Miss Harrison, wrote and ordered a berth for me and then I lost no time in cabling you that I should reach Southampton March 14, and Paris the 15th. Land, but it made my pulses leap, to think I was going to see you again!..... One thing at a time. I never fully laid Webster's disastrous condition before Mr. Rogers until to-night after billiards. I did hate to burden his good heart and over-worked head with it, but he took hold with avidity and said it was no burden to work for his friends, but a pleasure. We discussed it from various standpoints, and found it a sufficiently difficult problem to solve; but he thinks that after he has slept upon it and thought it over he will know what to suggest.
You must not think I am ever rude with Mr. Rogers, I am not. He is not common clay, but fine--fine and delicate--and that sort do not call out the coarsenesses that are in my sort. I am never afraid of wounding him; I do not need to watch myself in that matter. The sight of him is peace.
He wants to go to Japan--it is his dream; wants to go with me--which means, the two families--and hear no more about business for awhile, and have a rest. And he needs it. But it is like all the dreams of all busy men--fated to remain dreams.
You perceive that he is a pleasant text for me. It is easy to write about him. When I arrived in September, lord how black the prospect was --how desperate, how incurably desperate! Webster and Co had to have a small sum of money or go under at once. I flew to Hartford--to my friends--but they were not moved, not strongly interested, and I was ashamed that I went. It was from Mr. Rogers, a stranger, that I got the money and was by it saved. And then--while still a stranger--he set himself the task of saving my financial life without putting upon me (in his native delicacy) any sense that I was the recipient of a charity, a benevolence--and he has accomplished that task; accomplished it at a cost of three months of wearing and difficult labor. He gave that time to me--time which could not be bought by any man at a hundred thousand dollars a month--no, nor for three times the money.
Well, in the midst of that great fight, that long and admirable fight, George Warner came to me and said:
"There is a splendid chance open to you. I know a man--a prominent man-- who has written a book that will go like wildfire; a book that arraigns the Standard Oil fiends, and gives them unmitigated hell, individual by individual. It is the very book for you to publish; there is a fortune in it, and I can put you in communication with the author."