Image: Cross and Grave Robbers by Ernst Barlach (1919)
All Hallow’s Read is a ancient tradition, begun back in the mists of the year two-thousand and ten by Neil Gaiman, wherein people give each other scary books. While we can’t risk exposing our current whereabouts by giving you a scary book in person (and no matter what you might hear, we’re definitely not hiding in the attic), we do have a story for you.
May we present, care of a certain Robert Louis Stevenson, The Body-Snatcher…
EVERY night in the year, four of us sat in the small parlour 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 armchair. Fettes was an old drunken Scotsman, 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 parlour 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.