What Henry Rogers did give to Mark Twain was his priceless counsel and time—gifts more precious than any mere sum of money—favors that Mark Twain could accept without humiliation. He did accept them, and never ceased to be grateful. He rarely wrote without expressing his gratitude, and we get the size of Mark Twain’s obligation when in one letter we read:
“I have abundant peace of
mind again—no sense of burden. Work
become a pleasure—it is not labor any longer.”
He wrote much and well, mainly magazine articles, including some of those chapters later gathered it his book on “Christian Science.” He reveled like a boy in his new freedom and fortunes, in the lavish honors paid him, in the rich circumstance of Viennese life. But always just beneath the surface were unforgetable sorrows. His face in repose was always sad. Once, after writing to Howells of his successes, he added:
“All those things might move and interest one. But how desperately more I have been moved to-night by the thought of a little old copy in the nursery of “At the Back of the North Wind.” Oh, what happy days they were when that book was read, and how Susy loved it!”
RETURN AFTER EXILE
News came to Vienna of the death of Orion Clemens, at the age of seventy-two. Orion had died as he had lived—a gentle dreamer, always with a new plan. He had not been sick at all. One morning early he had seated himself at a table, with pencil and paper, and was putting down the details of his latest project, when death came—kindly, in the moment of new hope. He was a generous, upright man, beloved by all who understood him.
The Clemenses remained two winters in Vienna, spending the second at the Hotel Krantz, where their rooms were larger and finer than at the Metropole, and even more crowded with notabilities. Their salon acquired the name of the “Second Embassy,” and Mark Twain was, in fact, the most representative American in the Austrian capital. It became the fashion to consult him on every question of public interest, his comments, whether serious or otherwise, being always worth printing. When European disarmament was proposed, Editor William T. Stead, of the “Review of Reviews,” wrote for his opinion. He replied:
Stead,—The Tsar is ready to disarm.
ready to disarm. Collect the others; it should not be
much of a task now. Mark Twain.”
He refused offers of many sorts. He declined ten thousand dollars for a tobacco endorsement, though he liked the tobacco well enough. He declined ten thousand dollars a year for five years to lend his name as editor of a humorous periodical. He declined another ten thousand for ten lectures, and another offer for fifty lectures at the same rates —that is, one thousand dollars per night. He could get along without these sums, he said, and still preserve some remnants of his self-respect.