SWORN JEST BY MARK TWAIN.
Humorist Says He First Met John Hays Hammond in Jail - Ashcroft's Suit.
A touch of humor enlivened the otherwise prosaic deposition of Mark Twain, which was read to the jury yesterday afternoon in the Supreme Court, Brooklyn, where the suit of Ralph W. Ashcroft against John Hays Hammond for $25,000 libel damages is being heard.
The humorist explained that the first occasion upon which he met the defendant the latter was in jail. Mr. Clemens referred to the time when Hammond was a military prisoner in Pretoria under sentence of death for participating in the Jameson raid. The sentence was afterward commuted to a ransom of $125,000.
The ground for the suit lies in a certain telegram sent to the author by the defendant Sept. 15, 1894, at which time both Mr. Clemens and Hammond were stockholders in the Plasmon Manufacturing Company, of which the plaintiff was manager. The telegram criticised Ashcroft as "incompetent, if not worse." Mr. Clemens admitted that the telegram had been sent.
Several letters written by Hammond belittling the plaintiff were also read. The case will be continued to-day.
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