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WHEELING (West Virginia) REGISTER, 29 March 1882


How the Innocent Humorist Simplified the Work of a Reporter.

Attired in a business suit of gray cheviot and looking bright and active, Samuel L. Clemens ("Mark Twain") leaned over the desk in the office of the hotel Brunswick this morning, and said with a drawl" "Somebody down here wants me?" Four men who had sent their cards to the humorist addressed him at once. The first person to secure an audience was an agent for a local photographer. He was a tall, strong man, somewhat Mr. Clemens' superior in physique, and the latter appeared to feel that it was probably better to hear the representative of the picture maker in patience.

Suddenly, Mark Twain grew restless, and said, "My dear sir, life is too short for having one's picture taken, unless you do it by electricity. I have made out a schedule of my engagements today and am due at a certain place at 11. Won't you please let me go?" The photographic agent took mercy on Twain and "let him go."


Turning to a reporter from the Mail and Express Mr. Clemens said: "Do I look careworn? Let me see," he continued. "You will probably ask me how I am, and I shall reply, 'Quite well, I thank you; and then you will want to know whether I shall remain in New York long, and I shall answer, 'No, sir,' Isn't that your scheme?"

The reporter replied that such might have been his intention.

"Or," continued Mr. Clemens, "you would want to know what work I am engaged in, and I should reply, 'I am writing several books which will take, at the way I am working now, about five years to complete.' Perhaps you might ask me a question about Oscar Wilde, or Roscoe Conkling, or Blaine, at the obelisk, and I should answer: 'I have no opinion on these deep subjects.' Seriously, young man, I am saving myself the infliction of another interview by telling you that I am in New York and expect to be in Washington by Monday, for the purpose of talking with the bright lights there on the subject of copyright. I have been told that this is a good time to introduce the subject at the national capital.


"There appears to be a mystery about your copyright scheme," rejoined the reporter. "What is the nature of it?" "Please excuse me from telling you. I have a copyright scheme that I think will protect me, I wouldn't divulge it for the world. It would upset all my well laid plans, if I did. It's a deep scheme, a deep scheme," and Mr. Clemens looked at the bell-boys who were staring at him.

"Has it anything to do with the proposed international copyright," asked the reporter. "It has not."

"Has it anything to do with the Canadian matter?" It has."

"How long will it be before you can explain the nature of this copyright scheme?" "I will see you later."

At this point Mr. Clemens vanished through a back door.


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