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MARK TWAIN 'ROUGHING IT'
From the St. Louis Globe Democrat
Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) was in the hands of the lawyers again for two hours Saturday. His examination in supplementary proceedings which began on Wednesday was concluded and the humorist seemed relieved. During the examination more than 40,000 words of testimony were taken. Mr. Clemens stood the examination well and it is said that the attorneys for Thomas Russell & Sons did not elicit anything of importance to assist them in attacking the transfer of copyrights which Mr. Clemens made to his wife soon after Charles L. Webster & Co. failed.
Mr. Clemens would be a wealthy man today were it not for two business transactions. He invested $100,000 in the Paige Compositor Manufacturing company, which was one of the first companies to exploit a mechanized type-setting machine. The machine did not succeed. The company died about 1888 and after that Webster & Co. ate up all that the humorist could earn.
For many of his later works he has received nothing. The Century company paid $6,000 for the serial rights of 'Pudd'nHead Wilson' and that is all the author got out of it. Webster & Co. brought out the book. A large edition was printed but it never sold well. The profits on 'Life on the Mississippi,' 'The Million Pound Bank Note,' and 'Huckleberry Finn' were swallowed up as losses by the losses of Webster & Co. incurred on various biographical works.
Russell & Co.'s bill against Webster & Co. is for binding Grant's 'Memoirs' in large part. The work was bound for about 11 1/4c a volume and was immensely successful. The Grant family received 1/4 million dollars as its share of the profits. The publishing firm at once brought out 'Sherman's Memoirs' and 'Sheridan's Memoirs' and several others but they fell flat and proved extremely costly to Webster & Co.
As an example of Mr. Clemens's inexperience in business matters,
it is said that at the conclusion of the examination he asked ,"Now, what
papers shall I sign?" and affixed his signature without understanding the
nature of the documents. He seemed much relieved when the examination ended.