His speed was increased to eight thousand ems an hour by the end of the year, and the machine was believed to have a capacity of eleven thousand. No type-setter invented to this day could match it for accuracy and precision when it was in perfect order, but its point of perfection was apparently a vanishing point. It would be just reached, when it would suddenly disappear, and Paige would discover other needed corrections. Once, when it was apparently complete as to every detail; and running like a human thing, with such important customers as the New York Herald and other great papers ready to place their orders, Paige suddenly discovered that it required some kind of an air-blast, and it was all taken down again and the air-blast, which required months to invent and perfect, was added.

But what is the use of remembering all these bitter details? The steady expense went on through another year, apparently increasing instead of diminishing, until, by the beginning of 1890, Clemens was finding it almost impossible to raise funds to continue the work. Still he struggled on. It was the old mining fascination--"a foot farther into the ledge and we shall strike the vein of gold."

He sent for Joe Goodman to come and help him organize a capital-stock company, in which Senator Jones and John Mackay, old Comstock friends, were to be represented. He never for a moment lost faith in the final outcome, and he believed that if they could build their own factory the delays and imperfections of construction would be avoided. Pratt & Whitney had been obliged to make all the parts by hand. With their own factory the new company would have vast and perfect machinery dedicated entirely to the production of type-setters.

Nothing short of two million dollars capitalization was considered, and Goodman made at least three trips from California to the East and labored with Jones and Mackay all that winter and at intervals during the following year, through which that "cunning devil," the machine, consumed its monthly four thousand dollars--money that was the final gleanings and sweepings of every nook and corner of the strong-box and bank-account and savings of the Clemens family resources. With all of Mark Twain's fame and honors his life at this period was far from an enviable one. It was, in fact, a fevered delirium, often a veritable nightmare.

Reporters who approached him for interviews, little guessing what he was passing through, reported that Mark Twain's success in life had made him crusty and sour.

Goodman remembers that when they were in Washington, conferring with Jones, and had rooms at the Arlington, opening together, often in the night he would awaken to see a light burning in the next room and to hear Mark Twain's voice calling:

"Joe, are you awake?"

"Yes, Mark, what is it?"

"Oh, nothing, only I can't sleep. Won't you talk awhile? I know it's wrong to disturb you, but I am so d--d miserable that I can't help it."

Whereupon he would get up and talk and talk, and pace the floor and curse the delays until he had refreshed himself, and then perhaps wallow in millions until breakfast-time.

Jones and Mackay, deeply interested, were willing to put up a reasonable amount of money, but they were unable to see a profit in investing so large a capital in a plant for constructing the machines.

Clemens prepared estimates showing that the American business alone would earn thirty-five million dollars a year, and the European business twenty million dollars more. These dazzled, but they did not convince the capitalists. Jones was sincerely anxious to see the machine succeed, and made an engagement to come out to see it work, but a day or two before he was to come Paige was seized with an inspiration. The type-setter was all in parts when the day came, and Jones's visit had to be postponed. Goodman wrote that the fatal delay had "sicklied over the bloom" of Jones's original enthusiasm.

Yet Clemens seems never to have been openly violent with Paige.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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