Monday, September 21, 2020

the last book I ever read (Hiroshima by John Hersey, excerpt eight)

from Hiroshima by John Hersey:

Once, an old man revealed to her on his deathbed, with such vividness she felt she was witnessing the act, that he had stabbed another man in the back and had watched him bleed to death. Though the murderer was not a Christian, Sister Sasaki told him that God forgave him, and he died in comfort. Another old man had, like many Kyushu miners, been a drunkard. He had had a sordid reputation; his family had abandoned him. In the home, he tried with pathetic eagerness to please everyone. He volunteered to carry coal from storage bings, and he stoked the building’s boiler. He had cirrhosis of the liver, and had been warned not to accept the daily ration of five ounces of distilled spirits that the Garden of St. Joseph mercifully issued to the former miners. But he continued to drink it. Vomiting at the supper table one night, he ruptured a blood vessel. It took him three days to die. Sister Sasaki stayed beside him all that time, holding his hand, so that he might die knowing that, living, he had pleased her.

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