- Project Runeberg -  The story of San Michele /
382

(1929) [MARC] Author: Axel Munthe - Tema: Medicine
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up and down the deserted corridor, top hat in
hand. Now and then the father looked in
through the half open door almost crazy with
terror. The mother grew worse and worse, she
was removed to the adjoining room in charge
of Erhardt and another nurse, I and Sister
Philippine remaining with the boy. Towards
noon he collapsed and died of paralysis of the
heart. The condition of the mother was then
so critical that we dared not tell her, we decided
to wait till next morning. When I told the
father that the body of the boy was to be taken
to the mortuary of the Protestant Cemetery
the same evening and must be buried in
twenty-four hours, he staggered and nearly fell into
the arms of Signor Cornacchia who stood bowing
respectfully by his side. He said his wife would
never forgive him for leaving the boy in a strange
land, he must be buried in the family vault in
Pittsburgh. I answered it was impossible, it
was forbidden by the law in such a case as this
to send the body away. A moment later the
Pittsburgh millionaire handed me through the
half open door a cheque for a thousand pounds
to be used at my discretion, he was willing to
write out another cheque for whatever sum I
liked but the body must be sent to America. I
locked myself up in another room with Signor
Cornacchia and asked him what would be the
approximate price for a first class funeral and a
grave in perpetuo in the Protestant Cemetery.
He said times were hard, there had of late been
a rise in the price of coffins, aggravated by an
unforeseen falling off in the number of clients.

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