Abroad with Mark Twain and Eugene Field/Assorted Beauties

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Of the Vienna women Mark Twain used to say that they were so "cussed pretty a man walking out with his wife feels relieved when he meets a plain one."

He was reminded of his visit to the Berlin court and was asked what he thought of the ladies he met there.

"They were so loaded down with tiaras, necklaces, and sets of jewelry, my eyes were too dazzled to get a good view of their faces. I am sure, though, that most of the old ones had enormous backs. And that recalls a story that I heard at an embassy here, which I must not name. The ambassadors were talking of the beauty of the women of their own country, and they all looked with pity on the Korean consular representative, wondering what he would say, but he was a spunky chap, and when his turn came, blurted out: 'Well, gentlemen, as to the fair sex, there isn't much to boast of in my country, but I will admit that the ladies of our court at home are no less ill-favored than the women of the Berlin Schloss, and they are dirtier, too.' That postscript," said Mark, "was the funniest thing I heard in a long time. He said it in a right hearty and well-meaning way, too. He evidently meant it and was proud of it."