- Project Runeberg -  The story of San Michele /
188

(1929) [MARC] Author: Axel Munthe - Tema: Medicine
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to the last, with all their faults but also with
some of their virtues surviving their collapse.
Strange to say, they are even capable of falling
in love, in the highest significance of the word
and a more pathetic sight you never saw. I
have had a prostitute in love with me, she
became timid and shy as a young girl, she could
even blush under her coating of rouge. Even
this loathsome creature at the next table might
have been a nice woman had she had a chance.
Let me tell you her story.”

“Do you remember,” said I as we strolled
down the Boulevard arm in arm, “do you
remember the girls’ school in Passy kept by the
Sœurs St. Thérèse where you took me last year
to see a Swedish girl who died of typhoid fever?
There was another case in the same school shortly
afterwards attended by me, a very beautiful
French girl about fifteen. One evening as I was
leaving the school I was accosted in the usual
way by a woman patrolling the trottoir opposite.
As I told her roughly to leave me alone, she
implored me in a humble voice to let her say a few
words to me. She had been watching me coming
out of the school every day for a week, she had
not had the courage to speak to me as it was still
daylight. She addressed me as Monsieur le
Docteur and asked in a trembling voice how was the
young girl with typhoid fever, was it dangerous?

“‘I must see her before she dies,’” she sobbed,
the tears rolling down her painted cheeks, “I
must see her, I am her mother.” The nuns did
not know, the child had been put there when
she was three years old, the money was paid

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