Mr. Rogers' Joke
|Mr. Rogers' Joke (1909)|
|Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch, April 3, 1909|
Norfolk's distinguished guest, Mr. Henry H. Rogers, pleased the large company who were yesterday evening entertaining him at a reception at the rooms of the Board of Trade and Business Men's Association by a display of oratorical gifts which he has heretofore never been suspected of possessing.
Incidentally, he incurred a debt which it is safe to say bears interest and is likely to be paid shortly by Mr. Rogers' great friend, Dr. Samuel L. Clemens.
At the conclusion of the reception Dr. Clemens got up on a perch or raised dais of some sort in response to irresistible demands for a speech and made a very felicitous one, in which he said he had been greatly complimented by innumerable people who have since he came here called him "Mr. Rogers," mistaking him for the great financier and railway builder. This talk was punctured at short intervals by tumultuous applause.
When Dr. Clemens finished speaking there were insistent calls for a speech from Mr. Rogers. To the great surprise of many, the great capitalist arose, and in the clear and resonant voice of an orator of great power, and with the grace of such an one, said that his business is the building of railroads; that he employs the ablest men he can secure to build them, and when they are finished he employs orators to tell about them. Then he pointed at "Mark Twain" and said that he was one of those. Tremendous applause followed this clever sally. Then Mr. Rogers explained that "Mark" was his friend, with whom he occasionally took liberties, thus unmistakably indicating that was a joke of no mean ability.
The reception to Mr. Rogers and his party at the Board of Trade was an enthusiastic success, and gave the representative business men an opportunity to become acquainted with the owners of the Virginian railroad, whose coming means so much to this section.