Page:Abroad with Mark Twain and Eugene Field.djvu/208

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THE BALD-HEADED WOMAN

Mark called at the "New York Herald" office in London one day when a cable came over the wire, describing the awful punishment visited by the Czar (Alexander) on the mistress of one of the Grand Dukes. The lady had been ambushed, carried off to a hairdressing establishment during the dark hours of the night and there robbed of her abundant locks. In fact, her head was shaved à la billiard ball.

"Very ingenious," mused Mark, "for who would, or could, love a bald-headed woman? They do things neatly in Russia, anyhow. I remember a devilish joke the great Catherine played on a rival. She had her yanked out of a quadrille, muzzled, and spirited into the basement. There she was whipped good and hard with switches soaked twelve hours in vinegar and salt. Then back to the ballroom and 'dance, you hussy, and smile, or you get another dose.'"

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