THE POPULAR STORY OF BLUE BEARD.
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With all the enormous resources that are invested in medicine, it is sometimes a mystery why there is so much sickness still in evidence. Our life span, though higher than at any time in history, has now leveled off and has not significantly increased in the last two generations. There is a one-third increase in long-term illness in the last 20…
A long time ago, and at a considerable distance from any town, there lived a gentleman, who was not only in possession of great riches, but of the largest estates in that part of the country. Although he had some very elegant neat mansions on his estates, he generally resided in a magnificent castle, beautifully situated on a rising ground, surrounded with groves of the finest evergreens, and other choice trees and shrubs.
The inside of this fine castle was even more beautiful than the outside; for the rooms were all hung with the richest [Pg 6]damask, curiously ornamented; the chairs and sofas were covered with the finest velvet, fringed with gold; and his table-dishes and plates were either of silver or gold, finished in the most elegant style. His carriages and horses might have served a king, and perhaps were finer than any monarch's of the present day. The gentleman's appearance, however, did not altogether correspond to his wealth; for, to a fierce disagreeable countenance, was added an ugly blue beard, which made him an object of fear and disgust in the neighbourhood, where he usually went by the name of Blue Beard.
There resided, at some considerable distance from Blue Beard's castle, an old lady and her two daughters, who were people of some rank, but by no means wealthy. The two young ladies were very pretty, and the fame of their beauty having reached Blue Beard, he determined to ask one of them in marriage. Having ordered a carriage, he called at their house, where he saw the two young ladies, and was very politely received by their mother, with whom he begged a few moments conversation.