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Then we hunted for a barber-shop. From earliest
infancy it had been a cherished ambition of mine to be
shaved some day in a palatial barber-shop in Paris. I
wished to recline at full length in a cushioned
invalid chair, with pictures about me and sumptuous
furniture; with frescoed walls and gilded arches above
me and vistas of Corinthian columns stretching far
before me; with perfumes of Araby to intoxicate my
senses and the slumbrous drone of distant noises to
soothe me to sleep. At the end of an hour I would wake up
regretfully and find my face as smooth and as soft as
an infant's. Departing, I would lift my hands above
that barber's head and say, "Heaven bless you, my

      So we searched high and low, for a matter of two
hours, but never a barber-shop could we see. We saw
only wig-making establishments, with shocks of dead
and repulsive hair bound upon the heads of painted
waxen brigands who stared out from glass boxes upon
the passer-by with their stony eyes and scared him
with the ghostly white of their countenances. We
shunned these signs for a time, but finally we
concluded that the wig-makers must of necessity be the
barbers as well, since we could find no single
legitimate representative of the fraternity. We
entered and asked, and found that it was even so.

      I said I wanted to be shaved. The barber
inquired where my room was. I said never mind where my
room was, I wanted to be shaved -- there, on the spot.
The doctor said he would be shaved also. Then there
was an excitement among those two barbers! There was a
wild consultation, and afterwards a hurrying to and
fro and a feverish gathering up of razors from obscure
places and a ransacking for soap. Next they took us
into a little mean, shabby back room; they got two
ordinary sitting-room chairs and placed us in them
with our coats on. My old, old dream of bliss vanished
into thin air!

      I sat bolt upright, silent, sad, and solemn. One
of the wig-making villains lathered my face for ten
terrible minutes and finished by plastering a mass of
suds into my mouth. I expelled the nasty stuff with a
strong English expletive and said, "Foreigner,
beware!" Then this outlaw strapped his razor on his
boot, hovered over me ominously for six fearful
seconds, and then swooped down upon me like the genius
of destruction. The first rake of his razor loosened
the very hide from my face and lifted me out of the
chair. I stormed and raved, and the other boys enjoyed
it. Their beards are not strong and thick. Let us draw
the curtain over this harrowing scene.

Suffice it that I submitted and went through with the
cruel infliction of a shave by a French barber; tears
of exquisite agony coursed down my cheeks now and
then, but I survived. Then the incipient assassin held
a basin of water under my chin and slopped its
contents over my face, and into my bosom, and down the
back of my neck, with a mean pretense of washing away
the soap and blood. He dried my features with a towel
and was going to comb my hair, but I asked to be
excused. I said, with withering irony, that it was
sufficient to be skinned -- I declined to be scalped.

      I went away from there with my handkerchief
about my face, and never, never, never desired to
dream of palatial Parisian barber-shops anymore. The
truth is, as I believe I have since found out, that
they have no barber shops worthy of the name in Paris
-- and no barbers, either, for that matter. The
impostor who does duty as a barber brings his pans and
napkins and implements of torture to your residence
and deliberately skins you in your private apartments.
Ah, I have suffered, suffered, suffered, here in
Paris, but never mind -- the time is coming when I
shall have a dark and bloody revenge. Someday a
Parisian barber will come to my room to skin me, and
from that day forth that barber will never be heard of

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