<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Letter from Mark Twain to J. H. Twichell - Feb. 24, 1879
Mark Twain Letters

Letter from Mark Twain to Rev. J. H. Twichell

MUNICH, Feb. 24, 1879.

Mark Twain Rev. J. H. Twichell

DEAR OLD JOE,—It was a mighty good letter, Joe—and that idea of yours is a rattling good one. But I have not sot down here to answer your letter,—for it is down at my study,—but only to impart some information.

For a months I had not shaved without crying. I'd spend 3/4 of an hour whetting away on my hand—no use, couldn't get an edge. Tried a razor strop-same result. So I sat down and put in an hour thinking out the mystery. Then it seemed plain—to wit: my hand can't give a razor an edge, it can only smooth and refine an edge that has already been given. I judge that a razor fresh from the hone is this shape V—the long point being the continuation of the edge—and that after much use the shape is this V—the attenuated edge all worn off and gone. By George I knew that was the explanation. And I knew that a freshly honed and freshly strapped razor won't cut, but after strapping on the hand as a final operation, it will cut.—So I sent out for an oil-stone; none to be had, but messenger brought back a little piece of rock the size of a Safety-match box—(it was bought in a shoemaker's shop) bad flaw in middle of it, too, but I put 4 drops of fine Olive oil on it, picked out the razor marked "Thursday" because it was never any account and would be no loss if I spoiled it—gave it a brisk and reckless honing for 10 minutes, then tried it on a hair—it wouldn't cut. Then I trotted it through a vigorous 20-minute course on a razor-strap and tried it on a hair-it wouldn't cut—tried it on my face—it made me cry—gave it a 5-minute stropping on my hand, and my land, what an edge she had! We thought we knew what sharp razors were when we were tramping in Switzerland, but it was a mistake—they were dull beside this old Thursday razor of mine—which I mean to name Thursday October Christian, in gratitude. I took my whetstone, and in 20 minutes I put two more of my razors in splendid condition—but I leave them in the box—I never use any but Thursday O. C., and shan't till its edge is gone—and then I'll know how to restore it without any delay.

We all go to Paris next Thursday—address, Monroe & Co., Bankers.

With love
Ys Ever

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