The young consumptive thanked her   for the tea

“Most would, I’m sure, centre on the unpleasant elements of the disease – the coughing,  and so on (pardon me). But it’s really not that bad. There are advantages, even.  When I collapsed last year on poor Sara’s headstone (remember?) my sternum was –  shattered. But thanks to my leanness, my excelsior pallor, Dr. V could see precisely where the fissures where, without having to feel about, or make a single incision.  As you can see,”

unbuttoning   his shirt
tapping      at wax

“it’s healed admirably. The clavicle. Scapula. The ribs, all, show beautifully. If  I stood before a lantern, I’d frighten the life out of one, wouldn’t I? Perhaps …  this Halloween.”

Angel drew a pencil   and
a few bones

“Well, there’s a dying student! Perhaps … a future anatomist? Have you ever  perused the sketches of Da Vinci? I’ll send over a copy. It is all too interesting.”

Helping himself   to a slice
of pie

“And it is a blessing, being free to eat what one wishes, when, without getting fat.  For last night’s repast, I had a whole goose – plus wine and pudding!”

spluttering   blood
running in-   to his cup

“No, no. It’s fine. Just add a little tea to it. Thank-you. What’s for lunch?”



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