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Lessons from Phrenology

She has been here for two weeks, though to her it has only been one. Seven days ago she came back to this world, via a splash of ice cold water from Dr. Hudson’s pail. To the relief of the crowd of watchers she blinked her eyes open and said, “Where is this place?” Then she saw that she was suspended and spread-eagled, tied via wrists and ankles to two trees. Her arms and legs were stretched out almost to horizontal. She felt a pain in her nipples and then saw that they were stretched out by ropes extended upward to a third tree. She blinked again and saw that she was looking down on a dozen people, people she didn’ know except for Herr Bauman and Hans. Her crotch was up at about their eye level.

She then felt burning all over. Looking down at herself she saw that her whole body was covered with a yellowish paste. “This is -- burning!”

At a signal from Dr. Hudson two young men approached with long handled brushes, such as are used in whitewashing a house. She was washed with soapy water, thoroughly and not too gently, scrubbing every inch of her body, with special attention to her crevices, front and rear. To her great relief the knots on her nipples were undone, her breasts rebounding to her chest. Then her legs and finally her arms were carefully unroped and with help she descended, her toes touching the bristly brown grass.

As she bent over catching her breath, her hands on her knees, soap still dripping from her nipples, she asked what happened. She was told she had been in a “coma”, which the doctor explained meant she was unresponsive to voice or touch and could only take water if her nostrils were held shut. As for the stretching with ropes and the yellow paste (made from ginger root), that was a cure which the doctor had read about in the Journal of Phrenology. Evidently it worked.

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