English for Everybody - Intermediate reading comprehension


Page 21

'He ate them raw'


However, I was firm, and told him that he could not have it. On hearing this, he said nothing. Instead he went and sat down in the corner, gnawing on his fingers. I shall see how he is early tomorrow morning.

20 July I visited Renfield very early in the morning, before the attendant had done his rounds. Renfield was up and humming a tune. He had saved his sugar, and was spreading it on the window. Clearly he was beginning his fly catching again, and beginning it cheerfully and with no signs of bad temper.

I looked around for his birds, but could not see them. So I asked him where they were. He replied, without turning round, that they had all flown away. There were a few feathers about the room and on his pillow a drop of blood. I said nothing, but went and found the keeper. I instructed him to tell me if he found anything odd about Renfield during the day.

11 am.The attendant has just been to see me. He said that Renfield has been very sick and has vomited up a whole lot of feathers. He said 'Doctor, I believe that he has eaten his birds; that he just took and ate them raw!'


Firm: Here it means 'not to be persuaded'
Gnawing: Biting and chewing together
Rounds: When someone visits each customer (or patient) in turn
Hum: To make a noise in the throat without moving the lips
Vomit: To throw out from the stomach

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