The Century was one of the nation's most widely read magazines, and it's clear that a large audience followed the story of Pudd'nhead Wilson in its pages. In its January 1894 "BOOKS AND MAGAZINES" column, for example, Cincinnati's Musical Visitor: A Magazine of Musical Literature and Music alerted its subscribers to the story by reprinting the Century's own promotional blurb:
The program of the new volume of The Century Magazine, beginning with the November number, is one of rare interest to every reader of literature. The chief serial feature is a new novel by Mark Twain, the most dramatic story ever written by America's greatest humorist. Like several of Mark Twain's stories, it has for its scene a steamboat town on the Mississippi River forty years ago. "Pudd'nhead Wilson," a hardheaded country lawyer, the hero of the story, furnishes much of the fun that one naturally expects to find in a work by the author of The Innocents Abroad, but he appears in quite another light in the murder trial which forms the thrilling climax of the story. The plot introduces a novel and ingenious employment of science in the detection of crime, and the characters are well drawn, and their every action is interesting. — January 1894
Then in its next three "BOOKS AND MAGAZINES" articles, the magazine kept its readers up-to-date on the progress of MT's narrative:
The Century Magazine for February had an unusual number of interesting papers. Mark Twain's new story is evidently approaching the climax, and Puddenhead Wilson's theory is soon to be tested. — March 1894
The fiction in the number includes also the third part of "Coeur d'Alene," Mrs. Foote's story of Western mining life, and the fifth installment of Mark Twain's "Pudd'nhead Wilson," the former accompanied by Mrs. Foote, and the other by a striking full-page drawing by Louis Loeb. The detective work in Mr. Clemens's story is further developed, the twins begin to lose caste, and there is a dramatic incident in the life of Roxy, caused by the perfidy of her son. — May 1894
The seven pieces of Fiction in the May Century have much variety. Mark Twain's serial of "Pudd'nhead Wilson" is continued with increasing interest. There is a dramatic scene between Tom's mother, who returns from the slavery into which he had sold her, and the plot of the story culminates in the murder of Judge Driscoll. The discovery of the murderer remains to be told. — June 1894
Other magazines and newspapers also periodically reminded their readers of the story, though usually in less detail. This notice, from Richmond's Southern Planter, is typical:
The Century for February is very strong in its fiction. Mark Twain's novel, "Pudd'nhead Wilson," is continued, and becomes all the time more interesting. — February 1894
The most widely recirculated part of the novel were extracts from Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar, which found their way into many papers and journals around the country, but at least one newspaper, the Boston Intelligencer, reprinted two narrative passages from the novel in its news columns; the first appeared under the heading AN IDEALLY BAD BABY:
"Tom" was a bad baby, from the very beginning of his usurpation. He would cry for nothing; he would burst into storms of devilish temper without notice, and let go scream after scream and squall after squall, then climax the thing with "holding his breath"–that frightful specialty of the teething nursling, in the throes of which the creature exhausts its lungs, then is convulsed with noiseless squirmings and twistings and kickings in the effort to get its breath, while the lips turn blue and the mouth stands wide and rigid, offering for inspection one wee tooth set in the lower rim of a hoop of red gums; and when the appalling stillness has endured until one is sure the lost breath will never return, a nurse comes flying, and dashes water in the child's face, and–presto! the lungs fill, and instantly discharge a shriek, or a yell, or a howl which bursts the listening ear and surprises the owner of it into saying words which would not go well with a halo if he had one. The baby Tom would claw anybody who came within reach of his nails, and pound anybody he could reach with his rattle. He would scream for water until he got it, and then throw cup and all on the floor and scream for more. He was indulged in all his caprices, howsoever troublesome and exasperating they might be; he was allowed to eat anything he wanted, particularly things that would give him the stomach-ache.
MARK TWAIN, in his last story, "Pudd'nhead Wilson," tells of a young colored girl who "experienced religion" in a revival at the colored church. The next day, in dusting her master's desk, she happened upon a $2 bill, which had been left there by accident. "Lord-a-massy," she said, as she covered it with a book, so as not to be further tempted, "how I wish't dat revival ud been put off till to-morrer!" — 11 August 1894
In addition, the first three items in the REVIEWS section refer to this Century version of the novel.