Mark Twains Greatestdownfall Essay, Research Paper
Mark Twain s Greatest Downfall Mark Twain is one of the greatest humourists and authors that the universe has of all time seen. Mark Twain had a natural ability to portray the lives of existent people and besides add a humourous turn to their lives. As most people know, Mark Twain s existent name was Samuel Clemens. Samuel Clemens, despite his celebrity from his books and short narratives, did non hold success with his fiscal traffics. Samuel Clemens was a regular adult male who took fiscal hazards and suffered from them greatly. Samuel Clemens was born the boy of a Missouri attorney, married Olivia Langdon, wrote assorted books, short narratives, and other narratives. He gave assorted talks and traveled to many parts of the universe. His life was ever traveling, ever going from topographic point to topographic point. He was ne’er happy with the success and celebrity that composing had given him. He was skilled in taking fiscal hazards that likely wouldn t turn out. He was ever seeking another beginning of income or a manner to acquire rich. Choleric, profane, wreathed in baccy fume, enthralled by games and appliances, extravagant, sentimental, superstitious, gallant to the point of the ridiculous-he was all these things ( Kunitz 160 ) . One illustration of Twain s first deals involves a patent that a friend had talked him into take parting in. Couple lost a batch of money, but managed to go on with his fiscal traffics. In 1906, Twain wrote about his first trade who suckered him into a patent that would finally be him $ 42,000 in the long tally. After seeking to work with patents over several occasions, Twain tried his fortune with machinery. Like the other investing, he had to set out a batch of money. Twain discusses what occurred with the machinery: Meantime, another old friend arrived with a fantastic innovation. It was an engine or a furnace or something of the sort which would acquire out 99 per cent of all the watercourse that was in a lb of coal. I went to Mr. Richards of the Colt Arms Factory and told him about it. He seemed to be dubious about this machine and I asked him why. He said, because the sum of watercourse concealed in a lb of coal was known to a fraction and that my discoverer was mistaken about his 99 per cent. He showed me that my adult male s machine couldn T come within 90 per cent of making what it proposed to make. I went off a small demoralized. But I thought that possibly the book was mistaken and so I hired the discoverer to construct the machine on a wage of 35 dollars a hebdomad, I to pay all the disbursals to construct the machine. Finally, when I had spent five 1000s on this endeavor the machine was finished, but it wouldn t spell. It did salvage one per cent of the steam that was in a lb of coal but that was nil ( Neider 229-230 ) . Twain besides rejected the stock of the innovation that became a immense success. This innovation was called the telephone, and the agent of Graham Bell tried to acquire Twain to purchase some of the stock. He could hold made a luck with the telephone, but chose other investings that would be him a batch of money. He refused to purchase a paltry sum of the telephone company from Alexander Graham Bell at a existent bargain-the little sum would hold brought in $ 190,000 subsequently. Possibly this is why Mark Twain was so dissatisfied ( Howards 74 ) . Twain relives the experience when the telephone stock was introduced to him and after it became a success: He was with Graham Bell and was agent for a new innovation called the telephone. He believed there was great luck in shop for it and wanted me to take some stock. I declined. I said I didn t want anything more to make with wildcat guess. Then he offered the stock to me at 25. I said I didn t want it at any monetary value. He became eager-insisted that I take five hundred dollars deserving. He said he would sell me every bit much as I wanted for five hundred dollars-offered to allow me garner it up in my custodies and step it in a plug hat-said I could hold a whole batch for five hundred dollars. But I was the burned kid and I resisted all these enticements. That immature adult male couldn t sell me any stock but he sold a few batch of it to an old dry-goods clerk in Hartford for five thousand dollars. We subsequently saw that clerk driving about in a deluxe barouche with liveried retainers all over it-and his telephone stock was emptying bills into his premises at such a rate that he had to manage them with a shovel ( Neider 232-233 ) . These investings caused a strain on Twain s fiscal standing. After many attempts with assorted innovations, Twain eventually found accomplishment in a type of scrapbook. The scrapbook, which was patented, was eventually traveling to give Twain some pecuniary alleviation. Couple did contrive a self-pasting scrapbook, which was made in several sizes and sold good and made a net income. The pages had points and pressed the image in topographic point. These books were peculiarly good for individuals who wanted to glue in cuttings which covered the pages with no border of gum exposed between columns ( Howards 73 ) . Couple patented it and set it in the custodies of that old peculiar friend of mine who had originally interested me in patents and he mad a good trade of money out of it. But, by and by, merely when Twain was about to get down to have a portion of the money myself, his house failed. Twain didn T cognize his house was traveling to fail-he didn Ts say anything about it ( Neider 230 ) . Twain gave money to assorted investings. Whenever a friend needed money for an investing, Twain was ever willing and eager to impart some. He helped stocks prosper and friends obtain a batch of money. He seldom received some of the money that his friends were taking in. Mark Twain lacked the dare-devil risking-taking attitude of a adult male who builds a luck on a concern acumen entirely, but he was a chump for anyone necessitating fiscal backup. Consequently, he took greater hazards than many gamblers do. Once he was convinced something was a good thing, he stayed with it, trusting to market it and accumulate a luck ( Howards 72 ) . Couple was trusting that his friends would eventually pay the money that was truly his. Finally, he received the money that had been promised he would have. He drew his cheque for 23 1000 at one time, said it ought to hold been paid long ago and that it would hold been paid the minute it was due if he had known the fortunes ( Neider 232 ) . Couple became his ain publishing house to assist with the legion fiscal jobs that he had experienced. He believed his nephew could assist with the publishi
ng. Twain comments on his dealing with his nephew: I had imported my nephew-in-law, Webster, from the village of Dunkirk, New York, to conduct that original first patent-right business for me, at a salary of fifteen hundred dollars. That enterprise had lost forty-two thousand dollars for me, so I thought this is a favorable time to close it up. I proposed to be my own publisher now and let young Webster do the work. He thought he ought to have twenty-five hundred dollars a year while he was learning the trade. I took a day or two to conduct the matter and study it out searchingly. I erected Webster into a firm-a firm entitled Webster and Company, Publishers-and installed him in a couple of offices at a modest rental on the second floor of a building below Union Square, I don t remember where. I handed Webster a competent capital and along with it I handed him the manuscript of Huckleberry Finn. Ten years has elapsed and Webster was successful with Huckleberry Finn and a year later handed me the firm s check for fifty-four thousand five hundred dollars, which included the fifteen thousand dollars capital which I had originally handed him (Neider 233-236). Twain was prosperous when he was publishing his own books. When he went to publishing other people s books, Twain had another downfall. He became his own publisher by putting money into the firm of Charles L. Webster & Company, which prospered for a time but which was to fail disastrously in the end. It is no wonder that the teeth of life, gnawing at even so powerful a figure, gradually began to wear it away (Johnson 196). Twain started publishing others after an episode with General Grant. General Grant was trying to find someone to buy his memoirs and publish them, but his publisher was trying to sell them for an unrealistic price. Twain decided that he would help out the general. His recollections are quoted in the following lines: Then I had an idea. It suddenly occurred to me that I was a publisher myself. I had not thought of it before. I said, Sell me the memoirs, General. I am a publisher. I will pay double price. I have a checkbook in my pocket; take my check for fifty thousand dollars now and let s draw the contract. He laughed at that and asked me what my profit out of that remnant would be. I said, a hundred thousand dollars in six months. He was dealing with a literary person. He was aware, by authority of all the traditions, that literary persons are flighty, romantic, unpractical, and in business matters do not know enough to come in when it rains or at any other time. He did not say that he attached no value to these flights of my imagination, for he was too kindly to say hurtful things, but he might better have said he looked it with tenfold emphasis and the look covered the whole ground. We had a long discussion over the matter. So the contract was drawn and signed and Webster took hold of his new job at once (Neider 242-246). Clemens was determined to a double act of piety and commerce by publishing Grant. I wanted the General s book, he said, and I wanted it very much. He got it, too, after strenuous wooing, but he thereby became, in eventual terms, a party to his own undoing (Kaplan 130). Twain then, after Grant s book was published, decided he had enough of the publishing business. His partner, Webster, did not like any of the books that Twain thought should be published. Webster refused all of the books that Twain and his friends tried to give to him. Twain then gave Webster a twelve thousand dollar check and left him for his own business. Twain was still involved with the company, but Webster was no longer involved with it. As the business began to prosper again, things began to turn for the worse. Webster and Company failed and owed Twain and Mrs.Clemens thousands of dollars. Twain s biggest and most infamous investment was the Paige Typesetter. The Paige Typesetter was in competition with the Mergenthaler Linotype machine, which later became the industry standard. The Paige worked efficiently, but the Linotype had a better marketing campaign. The machine worked, and worked efficiently, says Ken Ljunquist, a professor of American literature at the Worcester college, and one of the advisers of the Paige project. The reasons for its failure were not mechanical. The Linotype just took over the market (Condon INTERNET). Twain, however, would not grasp that the other typesetter would be more successful. He put a great deal of hard work into this new project. He devoted about fifteen years and two hundred thousand dollars to Paige machine, using in addition, his publishing house as a private bank to finance it. His mistake was in backing the wrong horse in a race for the right purse (Kaplan 141). The Paige Typesetter was the major source for Twain s near bankruptcy. He had previous financial losses, but none as severe as the one from the typesetter. The typesetter caused Twain to lose the most money. Twain wasted at least $200,000 on the typesetting machine, which is often blamed for bringing him to the brink of bankruptcy in the mid 1890 s (Condon INTERNET). He believed that the typesetter would bring him millions and he wouldn t have to write any more. Financial troubles hit the Clemenses in the 1880 s, particularly after Twain invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a mechanical typesetting device being developed by Jaimes Paige. The typesetter was a failure, and Twain s investment was lost (Johansen INTERNET). Mark Twain, whose real name was Samuel Clemens, was an excellent writer. He was also very money hungry but didn t have the knowledge or sense to help get the money he desired. Twain never was to become a millionaire. His brain always hot with schemes; he lost the fortune earned by books in backing an impractical typesetting machine; then in 1884 he invested in the Charles L. Webster Company, a publishing house which made enormous profits from its sales of Grant s Memoirs, but gradually failed and went completely bankrupt in 1894, leaving Clemens penniless (Kunitz 159). Most people do not remember Twain for his investment losses. They do remember him for the excellent stories and novels that he had written. Some have heard about the Paige Typesetter and the loss that he incurred from it. But, that is not the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions the name Mark Twain. Fortunately, everyone will continue to remember his great stories and novels and not reflect on his near bankruptcy and ill-fate with investments.