Had Rogers not met Clemens when he did, we might have inherited a very
different 'Mark Twain'. The Rogers-Clemens correspondence reveals how well
Rogers ushered SLC back to prosperity after his bankruptcy. Without Rogers,
the financial disaster would have been unimaginably worse for the Clemens
And of course we must not forget the help, expertise and patience of
Katherine Harrison, to whom Rogers delegated a lot of the Clemens work.
While no longer fresh in my mind, I did read the Clemens-Rogers letters
within the last couple of years and noticed how often Clemens started his
sentences with the pointless exclamation "Land!", which seemed to be a
corny affectation he was putting on just for Rogers. Maybe somebody with
e-texts could run a concordance on this to confirm :)
I don't remember whether there was much discussion of politics between
them. You are probably right that it was a topic best avoided, because each
was getting what they needed from the other, so why spoil it? MT was
world-class in his milieu and must have looked and sounded great on Rogers'
yacht, and Rogers was world-class within finance, dealing coolly with $$$
and companies that even today boggle the mind.
Someone here recently mentioned _MT, Business Man_ (ed. Sam'l Webster),
whose annotations I agree show the editor's great sense of humour. The
correspondence with Rogers is something of a continuation of the
correspondence with Webster, showing again that SLC was often too emotional
to be good at business.
I also agree that SLC's friendship with Rogers was as solid as those with
Howells and Twichell (each of which satisfied different needs for SLC), and
SLC lost a true friend and benefactor when Rogers died.
On Fri, Sep 3, 2021 at 1:03 PM Scott Holmes <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I've recently been picking around in the autobiography and it has
> occurred to me that conversations between these two men, in regards to
> politics, may have been a bit "guarded". I just noted a comment Rogers
> made to Clemens in a letter sometime around November of 1896, how happy
> he was that McKinley had been elected. Just by coincidence I was
> reading in the autobiography Twain's conversation with the Russian
> revolutionist, Tchaykoffsky,(3/30/1906) his rather scathing comment
> combining McKinley, Roosevelt and Jay Gould. "...have quite completely
> transformed our people from a nation with pretty high and respectable
> ideals to just the opposite of that; that our people have no ideals now
> that are worthy of consideration..."
> I haven't had the opportunity to read the letters between these two men
> but I am given to understand that they were fast friends.