Crime

The Body Snatcher by Louis Stevenson-crime stories

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This is a tale of murder and haunting. Its title was originally plural since the story concerns two grave robbers .Dr. Robert Knox, the 19th-century anatomist who purchased corpses from the infamous murderers William Burke and William Hare. The story opens in the inn-parlour, where the landlord and three regulars -the local undertaker, the narrator, and an aging alcoholic Fettes,-know that an eminent Physician is upstairs, visiting a local grandee stuck down by apoplexy. The others are startled when the physician name -Dr. Wolf Macfarlane -renders Fettes instantly sober. Suddenly a door is closed sharply upstairs, and Fettes intercepts him as he leaves for his train. The medical man is staggered when he recognizes Fettes .’A horrible, ugly look came and went across his almost venerable countenance.’Then he flees with a sharp, throttling cry when Fettes wants to know,’Have you seen it again? ‘His gold spectacles are found crushed. The witnesses of the doctor’s mortification are warned by Fettes to hold their tongues but the narrator who since that time had wormed out this bad story, There is now no other man alive ‘. Who could narrate the foul and unnatural events ”Unclean and desperate interlopers who supplied the table delivering the body of a young woman for dissection? Fettes recognizes her as Jane Galbraith and exclaims that she was alive on the previous day ‘Ask no question -his employer had instructed, ‘For conscience sake ‘He awaits the arrival of the older and more worldly Macfarlane, who advises the body be dissected like any other. The question is, ‘Why did he choose us two for his assistants ?’, Because he didn’t want old wives ‘.Subsequently another fresh corpse is delivered to the school This time the snatcher is Macfarlane .’You must pay me ‘ Pay you -he cried Fettes found a voice, the ghost of his own ‘i dare not give it for anything ‘The more things are are wrong, and more we must act as if all were right . The victim’s body parts are dully distributed among the students. In a later period of scarcity, both go out together to disinter a corpse from a rural churchyard, but on the dark journey back, the sack between them in the gig seems alive. Horrified, they examine it and find that the corpse of a former’s wife they thought they had dug has transformed into the murdered man Gray. The story ends as each terrified man leaps from his side of the gig and the horse bolts off its ghastly burden towards Edinburgh. This story is like a prototype for both -The Body Snatcher should be regarded as a potboiler. In this story, there is an acute analysis of degrees of guilt, the complicit socialization of maleness, the damage behind the apparent failure, the dark silences that can exit in social relations.
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