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January 2, 1932


Author Affiliations

Rochester, Minn.

JAMA. 1932;98(1):68. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.02730270072030

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To the Editor:  —Recently, when I was talking with two cardiologist friends, they described some extraordinary cases of pericarditis calculosa. The descriptions recalled to me Hawthorne's story "Ethan Brand." My friends did not remember having read the story, nor, although they have recently been engaged in a survey of the literature on "armored heart" did they recall any other investigators in the field having referred to it. Their quick interest encouraged me to think that others might like to be reminded of the tale.Ethan Brand is related to have committed suicide by plunging into the burning lime kiln which in former days he had tended. Hawthorne concluded his story as follows: "The marble was all burnt into perfect, snow-white lime. But on its surface, in the midst of the circle, snow-white, too, and thoroughly converted into lime, lay a human skeleton, in the attitude of a person who, after

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