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The New York Times, April 14, 1908

Offer to Lend $2 to Rogers Not Accepted - Strain of Traveling with Financier.
"Fourteen Banks of England Could Not Finance" Lakes to Gulf Canal.

"Birds of a feather," said Mark Twain, as he appeared on the deck of the steamer Bermuda yesterday holding H. H. Rogers by the arm. "You know the rest of it," and both humorist and financier laughed heartily. All this marked the end of a five weeks' vacation on the Island of Bermuda. Both looked in the best of health. Mark Twain wore a gray flannel suit, a long fur-lined overcoat, and a peaked cap, which sat jauntily on his long, gray hair.

Mark Twain, smoking a long, black cheroot, met interviewers standing under a sign warning male passengers that smoking on deck annoyed mal de mer patients. "It's a terrible strain, this being a financier," he said, nodding his head in the direction of Mr. Rogers. "It is also a strain traveling with one. I offered to load Rogers $2, though I knew I was taking an awful risk. Rogers thought it was simply a courtesy and so did not take me up. Now I am $2 ahead.

"I have returned from my trip a reformer. I have joined the ranks the anti-noise society. I have retired both from the making of after-dinner speeches and the lecture platform. No one can tolerate noise, you know, unless they are noisemakers. I am through making a noise and so I now insist on quiet. Mrs. Rice started her crusade at the right time for me."

"Mr. Twain, what do you think of the scheme to improve our interior waterways by dredging a fourteen-foot channel down the Mississippi River?" asked one.

"I have no sentimental interest in such a project, and I have too many realities to deal with to be chasing a will-o'-the-wisp. When the Almighty built this earth He knew very well that a fourteen-foot channel from Chicago to the Gulf would have been a very excellent and much needed thing, but he also knew that it would tax even His resources. If there were fourteen Banks of England behind the scheme, and fourteen more behind them, there would not be enough available money to finance the scheme.

"I know the Mississippi Valley and its oozy soil too well. The digging of the channel would be but the beginning. A thousand dredges could not keep it clear."

Mr. Rogers said that he had had a pleasant vacation and was much improved in health, but was out of touch with current events.

Mark Twain told of one exciting incident of the voyage home. The ocean he characterized as "most rude." On Sunday afternoon, dressed in his famous white suit, he was standing at the stern rail with Miss Dorothy Sturgis of Boston, watching the play of the ship's log, when a wave struck the vessel astern and a great comber climbed over the rail and drenched the pair.

Mr. Twain said he will remain in his Fifth Avenue house for five weeks and then go the new home he is building on a farm at Redding, four miles out of Danbury, Conn.

The Bermuda brought a large consignment of West Indian fish for the Aquarium. She also had on board a consignment of 1,000 boxes containing 60,000 Easter lilies. The Bermuda steamer Trinidad, arriving later in the week, will, it is expected, bring a great cargo of lilies.


Related article on Dorothy Sturgis and Mark Twain's angelfish pin from PBS "Antiques Roadshow" that aired January 7, 2008.

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