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169

(1913) [MARC] Author: August Strindberg Translator: Claud Field
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the inhabitants of the place. Here is a simple
fact. My little Christina has an extraordinary
dread of chimney sweeps. One evening, at supper,
she suddenly begins to scream, points at
someone invisible behind my chair, and cries,
“The chimney sweep!”

My mother-in-law, who believes in the clairvoyance
of children and animals, turns pale;
and I become alarmed all the more as I see my
mother-in-law make the sign of a cross over the
child’s head. A dead silence ensues, which puts
a stop to all cheerfulness.

*



The autumn with its storms, heavy rains, and
dark nights has come. In the village and the
poorhouse the number of the sick, dying, and
dead increases. In the night one hears the
choir-boy ring the bell before the Host. All through
the day the church bell is tolling, and one funeral
follows another. Death and life have grown
into a single horror. My night attacks recommence.
Prayers are said for me, beads are told,
and the holy water vessel in my room is filled
by the priest himself. “The hand of the Lord
rests heavily on thee!” with these words my
mother-in-law crushes me. But slowly I recover
myself. My mental elasticity and an inborn

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