- Project Runeberg -  The story of San Michele /
196

(1929) [MARC] Author: Axel Munthe - Tema: Medicine
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All the occupants of the tables looked up
from their plates scanning each other, but
nobody moved.

“Der Leichenbegleiter!”

The man banged the door to return a moment
later with another man whom I recognized as
the undertaker’s clerk. The owner of the
stentorian voice came up to me and roared in my
face:

“Der Leichenbegleiter!”

Everybody looked at me with interest. I told
the man to leave me alone, I wanted to have my
supper. No, I must come at once, the
stationmaster wanted to speak to me on most urgent
business. A giant with bristling porcupine
moustaches and gold-rimmed spectacles handed
me a pile of documents and shrieked in my ear
something about the van having to be sealed
and that I must take my place in it at once. I
told him in my best German that I had already
reserved my place in a second-class compartment.
He said it was “verboten,” I must be locked up
with the coffin in the van at once.

“What the devil do you mean?”

“Aren’t you der Leichenbegleiter? Don’t
you know that it is ‘verboten’ in Germany for
a corpse to travel without his Leichenbegleiter
and that they must be locked up together?”

I showed him my second-class ticket for
Lübeck, I told him I was an independent traveller
going for a holiday to Sweden. I had nothing
whatsoever to do with the coffin.

“Are you or are you not the
Leichenbegleiter?” he roared angrily.

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