First published in the Pall Mall Christmas Annual in December 1884, London, England. This publication features original artwork by Jakob Grim.

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The Body-Snatcher

Every night in the year, four of us sat in the small parlor of the George at Debenham—the undertaker, and the landlord, and Fettes, and myself. Sometimes there would be more; but blow high, blow low, come rain or snow or frost, we four would be each planted in his own particular arm-chair. Fettes was an old drunken Scotchman, a man of education obviously, and a man of some property, since he lived in idleness. He had come to Debenham years ago, while still young, and by a mere continuance of living had grown to be an adopted townsman. His blue camlet cloak was a local antiquity, like the church-spire. His place in the parlor at the George, his absence from church, his old, crapulous, disreputable vices, were all things of course in Debenham. He had some vague Radical opinions and some fleeting infidelities, which he would now and again set forth and emphasize with tottering slaps upon the table. He drank rum—five glasses regularly every evening; and for the greater portion of his nightly visit to the George sat, with his glass in his right hand, in a state of melancholy alcoholic saturation. We called him the Doctor, for he was supposed to have some special knowledge of medicine, and had been known, upon a pinch, to set a fracture or reduce a dislocation; but beyond these slight particulars, we had no knowledge of his character and antecedents.


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Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was a Scottish novelist, poet, and travel writer, widely known for his works including "Treasure Island", "Kidnapped", and "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and became a literary celebrity during his lifetime. He traveled widely throughout his life, which informed much of his writing, and was also an essayist and a playwright. Despite his relatively short life and bouts with illness, Stevenson was an incredibly productive and versatile author, whose works continue to captivate and inspire readers over a century after his death.