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Happy Valentines Day - Mark Twain, 1868

Be my Valentine.

Related Article » A Valentine's Day Sampler, as Famous New Yorkers Kiss and Tell... Including Mark Twain & Alexander Hamilton, New York Times.

Twenty-seven valentines... thus far, but none of them have pictures in them. They are all of a new design and very peculiar. Some of the more cautious young women have appended masculine names in place of their own. It may be well enough to offer a specimen or two since their fashion is new:

    "SIR: Our metallic burial cases have taken the premium at six State Fairs in this country, and also at the great Paris Exposition. Parties who have used them have been in every instance charmed with them. Not one has yet entered a complaint. Our walnut and mahogany coffins are the delight of the people. A large stock kept constantly on hand, and orders promptly filled with pleasure. Families supplied at reduced rates. Articles in our line may be exchanged if not satisfactory. We would be glad to secure your custom, and shall be greatly pleased to hear from you.

    BOX & PLANT, Undertakers." - Advertisement, 1868

I hope these parties will manage somehow to wait till they do hear from me. I always did hate to be in a hurry in matters of business. But, really, some girl's lacerated heart is hidden under that deftly-worded valentine.

Here is another:

    "SIR: Our patent Cancer-Eradicator arouses the admiration of all whose happy fortune it has been to be in a condition to use it. Nothing can with stand its enchanting influence. Excrescences of all kinds upon the body disappear before it as by magic. If you have warts, if you have cancers, if you have a wen, come and be healed!

    "We fervently hope to receive your custom.

    BLISTER & CARVE, Patentees" - Advertisement, 1868

I fervently hope you won't. So far, I have no artificial attractions such as wens, cancers, and warts, and am satisfied to remain homely. But that whole valentine is nothing but the transparent covering to some girl's breaking heart. Let it break. Mine has been broken often enough -- it don't hurt me.

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