Owner of Virginian in excellent health

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Owner of Virginian in excellent health  (1909) 
Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch, April 2, 1909


OWNER OF VIRGINIAN IN EXCELLENT HEALTH

Henry H. Rogers and Dr. Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) Good for Many Years Yet--A Talk With Them.

Henry H. Rogers and his party, who came down from New York on the Old Dominion line steamer Jefferson to attend the celebration of the opening of the Virginian Railway, debarked on the pier here about 10 o'clock.

Raymond Du Puy, vice-president and general manager of the Virginian, met them at the pier, bundled them into three big Rambler automobiles, which were in waiting, whisked them to the Lynnhaven Hotel and after registering them and seeing that they were comfortably settled, went off to resume his work of running the big railroad.

According to pre-arrangement with Mr. Du Puy, a reporter for the Ledger-Dispatch met the Rogers party upon their arrival at the hotel, and gained audience with Mr. Rogers, Mark Twain, whom Mr. Rogers said, should be given his proper name and title, which is, Rogers said, Doctor Samuel L. Clemens, Charles Lancaster, H. H. Rogers, Jr., others of the party who had something to say, during an informal talk of perhaps a half hour.

In Fine Health

One of the most gratifying things observed during the sorting out and stowing away of something like a couple car loads of luggage which the visitors brought along, was the fact that both Messrs. Rogers and Clemens, notwithstanding each is well along in years and the latter confessed a couple of years ago to having then "rounded pier 70," appeared to be in as good health as ever in their lives.

Mr. Rogers in fact, seems to be stronger than he has been for many years. Neither of these gentlemen manifested an inclination to take one of the comfortable seats in the hotel lobby, but stood up and seemed as spry as any of the party.

Mr. Rogers who has never been quoted in print in his life, so far as newspaper men know, save that once when he permitted this newspaper to quote him as saying that Norfolk is going to be a great city, said little today beyond expressing his pleasure at being here and his gratification over the completion of his railway and the manner in which the people here are celebrating it.

Hardly a more democratic man than Mr. Rogers is may be imagined. He is, although of commanding presence, frank, outspoken, direct, approachable and particularly courteous. He laughed when he said that the newspaper men should be particular about addressing his close friend, Mark Twain, as Doctor Clemens, and there seemed to be some joke in connection with this, which was not explained. It was suggested later, however, that the title was bestowed because of the literary attainments of Mr. Rogers' friend, which are by man esteemed considerable.

The Twain Mine

Mark, being a mine, was next worked.

"Mr. Twain, I beg your pardon, Dr. Clemens, will you say a few words for publication in the Ledger-Dispatch, but before you begin will you kindly mention what your price per word is; I have heard that it is thirty cents, but want to be sure about it before ordering?" said the newspaper man in an unbroken stream of words.

Then he was informed that his newspaper wants only the highest class of literary word and has heard of some writers who lately have charged a dollar a word.

"I have raised my price, " the only one said, "and am as high as the highest of them now."

Here Mr. Rogers observed:

"The call you Mark Twain, Incorporated," apparently alluding to an editorial which recently appeared in this newspaper.

"Yes," said Mr. Clemens, "the newspapers may treat that matter humorously, but it is no laughing matter. Do you know that I have received a letter from the German Government about that and my incorporation of myself is probably going to break the present international copyright system all to smash?"

Next, Mr. Clemens, who it is known by some was a pilot on the Mississippi river a little earlier in the game of life and knows all about the bars and snags and other nightmares of navigators, was asked whether he is going to pilot the river steamer Nanticoke from Franklin, Va., to Venezuela, which steamer was said in a recent press report to have been sold to one who perhaps is an agent of former President of Venezuela, Castro.

"What does the job pay?" he inquired, "it is altogether a question of how much there is in it and the security.

With this evasive answer Mark ported his linguistic helm and sheered off.

English Capitalist.

Charles Lancaster, chairman of the Council of the Chamber of Commerce of the city Liverpool, one of England's greatest capitalists, who is largely interested in the Virginian Railway, and is a member of the Rogers party, spoke optimistically of the future of this port, which he said he visited some two years ago.

George B. Hopkins, another of Mr. Rogers' guests, proved to be most engaging and widely informed.

Henry H. Rogers, Jr., who is of the party, expressed his pleasure at being in Norfolk again, and in meeting a number of those whom he met upon former visits.

The party includes Henry H. Rogers, H. H. Rogers, Jr., Charles Lancaster, of Liverpool; James M. Beck, the great lawyer; William Evarts Benjamin and W. R . Coe, sons-in-law of Mr. Rogers; Samuel L. Clemens, alias Mark Twain; Melville E. Stone, general manager of the Associated Press; R. W. Ashcroft, George H. Church, treasurer of the Virginian Railway Company, and George B. Hopkins. The latter is a guest of Mr. Rogers, while MR. Ashcroft is secretary of Mark Twain, Incorporated.

Urban H. Broughton, director of the Virginian Railway, and also of the great new smelting company, the International Refining and Smelting Co., the rival of the American Smelting Company, and a son-in-law of Mr. Rogers, with Franklin Q Brown, of Redmond & Co., bankers of New York, a director of the Virginian and formerly vice-president and general manager of the Plant System of Railways and Steamers, are due to arrive her from New York this evening, by rail and to join the Rogers party here.

At the banquet tomorrow night the principal speeches are to be made by Melville E. Stone and James M. Beck. It is expected that Mr. Clemens also may sparkle at this function.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).