The Scarlet plague

We did not wear such things in those days. Even the slaves had better garments. And we were most clean. We washed our faces and hands often every day. You boys never wash unless you fall into the water or go swimming. Neither do you Granzer, Hoo-Hoo retorted. I know, I know, I am a filthy old man, but times have changed. Nobody washes these days, there are no conveniences. It is sixty years since I have seen a piece of soap. You do not know what soap is, and I shall not tell you, for I am telling the story of the Scarlet Death. You know what sickness is. We called it a disease. Very many of the diseases came from what we called germs. Remember that word—germs. A germ is a very small thing. It is like a woodtick, such as you find on the dogs in the spring of the year when they run in the forest. Only the germ is very small. It is so small that you cannot see it — Hoo-Hoo began to laugh.

“You’re a queer un, Granser, talking about things you can’t see. If you can’t see ’em, how do you know they are? That’s what I want to know. How do you know anything you can’t see?”

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