- Project Runeberg -  The story of San Michele /

(1929) [MARC] Author: Axel Munthe - Tema: Medicine
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - XXV. The Little Sisters of the Poor

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the tiniest little Frenchman you ever saw, who
lived behind a pair of blue curtains in the corner
of the big ward, sixty beds in all. None of the
other beds were provided with curtains, this was
a privilege granted to Monsieur Alphonse alone
as being the senior of the whole house. He
himself said he was seventy-five, the Sisters
believed he was over eighty, judging from the
state of his arteries I put him down as not far
from ninety. He had come there several years
ago with a small handbag, a threadbare frock
coat and a top hat, nobody knew from where.
He spent his days behind his curtains in strictest
seclusion from all the other inmates, only to
appear on Sundays when he strutted off to the
chapel, top hat in hand. What he did behind
his curtains the whole day nobody knew. The
Sisters said that when they brought him his plate
of soup or his cup of coffee, another privilege,
he was always sitting on his bed fumbling among
his bundle of papers in the old bag or brushing
his top hat. Monsieur Alphonse was very
particular about receiving visitors. You were
supposed to knock first at the little table by the
side of the bed. He would then carefully lock
up all his papers in his bag, call out in his piping
voice: “Entrez, Monsieur!” and invite you
with an apologetic waving of his hand to sit
down by his side on the bed. He seemed to
enjoy my visits and we soon became great friends.
All my efforts to know something of his past
life proved in vain, all I knew was that he was a
Frenchman but not I should say a Parisian. He
did not speak a word of Italian and seemed to

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