- Project Runeberg -  The story of San Michele /
197

(1929) [MARC] Author: Axel Munthe - Tema: Medicine
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“I am certainly not. I am willing to try my
hand at any job but I refuse to be a
Leichenbegleiter, I do not like the word.”

The stationmaster looked bewildered at his
bundle of papers, and announced that unless the
Leichenbegleiter turned up in less than five
minutes the van containing the coffin for Lübeck
would be shunted off on the side-track and
remain in Heidelberg. As he spoke, a little
hunchback with restless eyes and a face ravaged
with small-pox rushed up to the stationmaster’s
desk with a pile of documents in his hands.

“Ich bin der Leichenbegleiter,” he announced
with unmistakable dignity.

I nearly embraced him, I have always had a
sneaking liking for hunchbacks. I said I was
delighted to make his acquaintance, I was going
on to Lübeck with the same train as he and to
take the same steamer to Stockholm. I had to
hold on to the stationmaster’s desk when he said
he was not going to Stockholm, but to
St. Petersburg with the Russian general and from there to
Nijni-Novgorod.

The stationmaster looked up from his bundle
of documents, his porcupine moustache bristling
with bewilderment.

“Potzdonnerwetter!” he roared, “there are
two corpses going on to Lübeck by this train!
I have only one coffin in the van, you cannot
put two corpses in one coffin, it is ‘verboten.’
Where is the other coffin?”

The hunchback explained that the coffin of
the Russian general was just being unloaded
from the cart to be put in the van, it was all the

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