Saturday, March 26, 2022

the last book I ever read (Leonora Carrington's Down Below (NYRB Classics), excerpt six)

from Down Below by Leonora Carrington:

In the daytime, I was watched over by Frau Asegurado; at night, by José or Santos. From time to time, José would put his cigarette in my mouth so that I could inhale a few puffs of tobacco smoke; once in a while he would wipe my body, which was always burning hot, with a moist towel. I was grateful to him for his care. A squinting maidservant (they called her Piadosa) brought me my food: vegetables and raw eggs, which she introduced into my mouth with a spoon, taking good care not to be bitten. I was fond of her and I would not have bitten her. I thought that Piadosa, which means pious, meant painful feet, and I felt sorry for her because she had walked so much.

At night especially I would study my situation. I examined the straps with which I was bound, the objects and the persons by whom I was surrounded, and myself. An immense swelling paralysed my left thigh, and I knew that by freeing my left hand, I could cure myself. My hands are always cold and the heat of my leg had to melt under the coolness of my hand, the pain and the swelling would disappear. I dodn’t know how, but I did managed to achieve this sometime later, and soon both the pain and the inflammation subsided, as I had foreseen.

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