Marx’s first carbuncle appeared in 1863, growing from a boil on his back to the size of a fist. Eventually the doctor was called. He cut widely and deeply into Karl’s back, letting loose an immense amount of blood and pus. For convalescence, the doctor prescribed the following:

- one and half quarts of stout (1.7 litres)
– three to four glasses of port
– half a bottle of claret daily

This was daily. One assumes he didn’t feel as much pain this way.

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