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Views & Reviews Between the Lines

No fleas on me

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 06 October 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4099
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    Whenever there are mosquitoes about they seem to bite my wife and not me. It was the same with my brother. Whether this is because some people do not react to bites and therefore do not notice them or because some people are less attractive to mosquitoes I have not been able easily to discover; but Samuel Pepys, in his diary, notes a cognate phenomenon with regard to fleas.

    On 23 April 1662 he travelled with Timothy Clarke, the king’s physician and founding fellow of the Royal Society, to Portsmouth, where they slept overnight in the same bed at the house of a surgeon called Wiards. Pepys concluded, no …

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