The Bookman

Jan 7, 1895, p122

Every scientific experiment or discovery of direct human import is soon followed by fiction of which it forms the basis. That the finger-print method of identification has not sooner provided the matter of a tale is surprising. Mark Twain uses it here ingeniously. 'Pudd'nhead' is another name for fool; it is applied hastily to Mr. David Wilson, a lawyer and surveyor, who in his leisure hours amuses himself with making "records" of the finger tips of his acquaintances. In the case of two children born on the same day, and bearing a strong resemblance to each other, one a child of consequence, the other the child of a slave girl, he made continuous records. Then one of them, the wrong one of course, was sold with the slave mother. The reader can develop the story from that point, or if not, Mark Twain will do it for him. As the mistake lasts for twenty-three hard years, in spite of Pudd'nhead Wilson's cleverness, the end is prevented from being a very cheerful one.