- Project Runeberg -  The story of San Michele /
207

(1929) [MARC] Author: Axel Munthe - Tema: Medicine
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and sleeping under friendly firs on a carpet of
soft moss instead of a carpet from Smyrna. My
sister-in-law had a headache and did not come
down to breakfast the morning I was starting,
I wanted to go to her room to wish her good-bye.
My brother advised me not to do it. I did not
insist after he had told me that the housemaid
had just found under my bed his wife’s new
Sunday hat, her embroidered slippers, her feather
boa, two volumes of the ‘Encyclopædia
Britannica’ torn to pieces, the remains of a rabbit,
and her missing kitten, his head almost bitten
off. As to the Smyrna carpet in the
drawing-room, the flower-beds in the garden and the six
ducklings in the pond. . . . I looked at my
watch and told my brother I always liked to be in
good time at the station.

“Olle,” shouted my brother to my father’s
old coachman as we drove away, “for Heaven’s
sake see that the Doctor does not miss his train.”

A fortnight later I was back in Stockholm.
Professor Bruzelius told me that the mother had
arrived from the continent that same morning,
the funeral was to take place next day, of course
I must attend. To my horror he went on to say
that the poor mother insisted on seeing her son
before he was buried, the coffin was to be opened
in her presence in the early morning. Of course
I would never have embalmed the body myself
had such a possibility ever entered my head. I
knew I had meant well, but done badly, that in
all probability the opening of the coffin would
reveal a terrible sight. My first thought was to
bolt and take the night train for Paris. My

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