Rogers wrote, proposing a plan for beginning immediately upon the debts. Clemens replied enthusiastically, and during the next few weeks wrote every few days, expressing his delight in liquidation.
Extracts from letters to H. H. Rogers, in New York:
. . . We all delighted with your plan. Only don't leave B-- out. Apparently that claim has been inherited by some women--daughters, no doubt. We don't want to see them lose any thing. B-- is an ass, and disgruntled, but I don't care for that. I am responsible for the money and must do the best I can to pay it..... I am writing hard--writing for the creditors.
Dec. 29. Land we are glad to see those debts diminishing. For the first time in my life I am getting more pleasure out of paying money out than pulling it in.
Jan. 2. Since we have begun to pay off the debts I have abundant peace of mind again--no sense of burden. Work is become a pleasure again--it is not labor any longer.
March 7. Mrs. Clemens has been reading the creditors' letters over and over again and thanks you deeply for sending them, and says it is the only really happy day she has had since Susy died.
LETTERS, 1898, TO HOWELLS AND TWICHELL. LIFE IN VIENNA. PAYMENT OF THE DEBTS. ASSASSINATION OF THE EMPRESS
The end of January saw the payment of the last of Mark Twain's debts. Once more he stood free before the world--a world that sounded his praises. The latter fact rather amused him. "Honest men must be pretty scarce," he said, "when they make so much fuss over even a defective specimen." When the end was in sight Clemens wrote the news to Howells in a letter as full of sadness as of triumph.