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    #1

    Remnants of a corpse had fits ...

    Hi,

    Can a good soul enlighten me on the bold text?

    As Harker passed out of the house the jury reentered and stood about the table on which the now covered corpse showed under the sheet with sharp definition. The foreman seated himself near the candle, produced from his breast pocket a pencil and scrap of paper, and wrote rather laboriously the following verdict, which with various degrees of effort all signed: "We, the jury, do find that the remains come to their death at the hands of a mountain lion, but some of us thinks, all the same, they had fits."


    The remains of the corpse had been torn to pieces by something (the jury thought the culprit had been a mountain lion, though later it turned out the poor devil had been torn by some hideous, unknown creature), but it is frankly beyond my understanding why the jury was speaking of fits. Did they mean the victim had been suffering form some form convulsions or cramps?

    Ambroce Birce, The Damned Thing, 1893

    Thank you

  1. teechar's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Remnants of a corpse had fits ...

    Yes it means that some of the members of the jury suspected the remains had some convulsions.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Remnants of a corpse had fits ...

    They must have had some pretty weird jury members back in those days to think that people's remains have fits - much less the "remains of a corpse". I wouldn't use "at the hands of a mountain lion" either; it would be mainly by the mouth, but you couldn't rule out the claws as well.
    But usage can change a lot in 120 years.
    Last edited by Raymott; 21-Feb-2015 at 21:43. Reason: typo

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