The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:45 am

The Diary of a Drug Fiend
by Aleister Crowley
© 1922




Virgin Guardian of the Sangraal in the Abbey of Thelema in “Telepylus,” and to
its youngest member, I dedicate this story of its Herculean labours toward releasing Mankind from every form of bondage.


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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:47 am



Yes, I certainly was feeling depressed.

I don’t think that this was altogether the reaction of the day. Of course, there always is a reaction after the excitement of a flight; but the effect is more physical than moral. One doesn’t talk. One lies about and smokes and drinks champagne.

No, I was feeling quite a different kind of rotten. I looked at my mind, as the better class of flying man soon learns to do, and I really felt ashamed of myself. Take me for all in all, I was one of the luckiest men alive.

War is like a wave; some it rolls over, some it drowns, some it beats to pieces on the shingle; but some it shoots far up the shore on to glistening golden sand out of the reach of any further freaks of fortune.

Let me explain.

My name is Peter Pendragon. My father was a second son; and he had quarrelled with my Uncle Mortimer when they were boys. He was a struggling general practitioner in Norfolk, and had not made things any better for himself by marrying.

However, he scraped together enough to get me some sort of education, and at the outbreak of the war I was twenty-two years old and had just passed my Intermediate for M.D. in the University of London.

Then, as I said, the wave came. My mother went out for the Red Cross, and died in the first year of the war. Such was the confusion that I did not even know about it till over six months later.

My father died of influenza just before the Armistice.

I had gone into the air service; did pretty well, though somehow I was never sure either of myself or of my machine. My squadron commander used to tell me that I should never make a great airman.

"Old thing," he said, “you lack the instinct," qualifying the noun with an entirely meaningless adjective which somehow succeeded in making his sentence highly illuminating.

"Where you get away with it," he said, "is that you have an analytic brain."

Well, I suppose I have. That’s how I come to be writing this up. Anyhow, at the end of the war I found myself with a knighthood which I still firmly believe to have been due to a clerical error on the part of some official.

As for Uncle Mortimer, he lived on in his crustacean way; a sulky, rich, morose, old bachelor. We never heard a word of him.

And then, about a year ago, he died; and I found to my amazement that I was sole heir to his five or six thousand a year, and the owner of Barley Grange; which is really an awfully nice place in Kent, quite near enough to be convenient for the prosperous young man about town which I had become; and for the best of it, a piece of artificial water quite large enough for me to use for a waterdrome for my seaplane.

I may not have the instinct for flying, as Cartwright said; but it’s the only sport I care about.

Golf? When one has flown over a golf course, those people do look such appalling rotters! Such pigmy solemnities!

Now about my feeling depressed. When the end of the war came, when I found myself penniless, out of a job, utterly spoilt by the war (even if I had had the money) for going on with my hospital, I had developed an entirely new psychology. You know how it feels when you are fighting duels in the air, you seem to be detached from everything. There is nothing in the Universe but you and the Boche you are trying to pot. There is something detached and god-like about it.

And when I found myself put out on the streets by a grateful country, I became an entirely different animal. In fact, I’ve often thought that there isn’t any "I" at all; that we are simply the means of expression of something else; that when we think we are ourselves, we are simply the victims of a delusion.

Well, bother that! The plain fact is that I had become a desperate wild animal. I was too hungry, so to speak, even to waste any time on thinking bitterly about things.

And then came the letter from the lawyers.

That was another new experience. I had no idea before of the depths to which servility could descend.

"By the way, Sir Peter,” said Mr. Wolfe, "it will, of course, take a little while to settle up these matters. It’s a very large estate, very large. But I thought that with times as they are, you wouldn’t be offended, Sir Peter, if we handed you an open cheque for a thousand pounds just to go on with.”

It wasn’t till I had got outside his door that I realised how badly he wanted my business. He need not have worried. He had managed poor old Uncle Mortimer’s affairs well enough all those years; not likely I should bother to put them in the hands of a new man.

The thing that really pleased me about the whole business was the clause in the will. That old crab had sat in his club all through the war, snapping at everybody he saw; and yet he had been keeping track of what I was doing. He said in the will that he had made me his heir "for the splendid services I had rendered to our beloved country in her hour of need.”

That’s the true Celtic psychology. When we’ve all finished talking, there’s something that never utters a word, but goes right down through the earth, plumb to the centre.

And now comes the funny part of the business. I discovered to my amazement that the desperate wild animal hunting his job had been after all a rather happy animal in his way, just as the desperate god battling in the air, playing pitch and toss with life and death, had been happy.

Neither of those men could be depressed by misfortune; but the prosperous young man about town was a much inferior creature. Everything more or less bored him, and he was quite definitely irritated by an overdone cutlet. The night I met Lou, I turned into the Cafe Wisteria in a sort of dull, angry stupor. Yet the only irritating incident of the day had been a letter from the lawyers which I had found at my club after flying from Norfolk to Barley Grange and motoring up to town.

Mr. Wolfe had very sensibly advised me to make a settlement of a part of the estate, as against the event of my getting married; and there was some stupid hitch about getting trustees.

I loathe law. It seems to me as if it were merely an elaborate series of obstacles to doing things sensibly. And yet, of course, after all, one must have formalities, just as in flying you have to make arrangements for starting and stopping. But it is a beastly nuisance to have to attend to them.

I thought I would stand myself a little dinner. I hadn’t quite enough sense to know that what I really wanted was human companions. There aren’t such things. Every man is eternally alone. But when you get mixed up with a fairly decent crowd, you forget that appalling fact for long enough to give your brain time to recover from the acute symptoms of its disease —that of thinking.

My old commander was right. I think a lot too much; so did Shakespeare. That’s what worked him up to write those wonderful things about sleep. I’ve forgotten what they were; but they impressed me at the time. I said to myself, "This old bird knew how dreadful it is to be conscious.”

So, when I turned into the cafe, I think the real reason was that I hoped to find somebody there, and talk the night out. People think that talking is a sign of thinking. It isn't, for the most part; on the contrary, it's a mechanical dodge of the body to relieve oneself of the strain of thinking, just as exercising the muscles helps the body to become temporarily unconscious of its weight, its pain, its weariness, and the foreknowledge of its doom.

You see what gloomy thoughts a fellow can have, even when he’s Fortune’s pet. It's a disease of civilisation. We’re in an intermediate stage between the stupor of the peasant and—something that is not yet properly developed.

I went into the cafe and sat down at one of the marble tables. I had a momentary thrill of joy—it reminded me of France so much—of all those days of ferocious gambling with Death.

I couldn’t see a soul I knew. But at least I knew by sight the two men at the next table. Every one knew that gray ferocious wolf—a man built in every line for battle, and yet with a forehead which lifted him clean out of the turmoil. The conflicting elements in his nature had played the devil with him. Jack Fordham was his name. At sixty years of age he was still the most savage and implacable of publicists. "Red in tooth and claw,” as Tennyson said. Yet the man had found time to write great literature; and his rough and tumble with the world had not degraded his thought or spoilt his style.

Sitting next him was a weak, good-natured, working journalist named Vernon Gibbs. He wrote practically the whole of a weekly paper—had done, year after year with the versatility of a practised pen and the mechanical perseverance of an instrument which has been worn by practice into perfect easiness.

Yet the man had a mind for all that. Some instinct told him that he had been meant for better things. The result had been that he had steadily become a heavier and heavier drinker.

I learnt at the hospital that seventy-five per cent, of the human body is composed of water; but in this case, as in the old song, it must have been that he was a relation of the McPherson who had a son,

"That married Noah's daughter
And nearly spoilt the flood
By drinking all the water.
And this he would have done,
I really do believe it,
But had that mixture been
Three parts or more Glen Livet."

The slight figure of a young-old man with a bulbous nose to detract from his otherwise remarkable beauty, spoilt though it was by years of insane passions, came into the cafe. His cold blue eyes were shifty and malicious. One got the impression of some filthy creature of the darkness—a raider from another world looking about him for something to despoil. At his heels lumbered his jackal, a huge, bloated, verminous creature like a cockroach, in shabby black clothes, ill-fitting, unbrushed and stained, his linen dirty, his face bloated and pimpled, a horrible evil leer on his dripping mouth, with its furniture like a bombed graveyard.

The cafe sizzled as the men entered. They were notorious, if nothing else, and the leader was the Earl of Bumble. Every one seemed to scent some mischief in the air. The earl came up to the table next to mine, and stopped deliberately short. A sneer passed across his lips. He pointed to the two men.

"Drunken Bardolph and Ancient Pistol," he said, with his nose twitching with anger.

Jack Fordham was not behindhand with the repartee.

"Well roared, Bottom," he replied calmly, as pat as if the whole scene had been rehearsed beforehand.

A dangerous look came into the eyes of the insane earl. He took a pace backwards and raised his stick. But Fordham, old campaigner that he was, had anticipated the gesture. He had been to the Western States in his youth; and what he did not know about scrapping was not worth being known. In particular, he was very much alive to the fact that an unarmed man sitting behind a fixed table has no chance against a man with a stick in the open.

He slipped out like a cat. Before Bumble could bring down his cane, the old man had dived under his guard and taken the lunatic by the throat.

There was no sort of a fight. The veteran shook his opponent like a bull-dog; and, shifting his grip, flung him to the ground with one tremendous throw. In less than two seconds the affair was over. Fordham was kneeling on the chest of the defeated bully, who whined and gasped and cried for mercy, and told the man twenty years his senior, whom he had deliberately provoked into the fight, that he mustn’t hurt him because they were such old friends!

The behaviour of a crowd in affairs of this kind always seems to me very singular. Every one, or nearly every one, seems to start to interfere; and nobody actually does so.

But this matter threatened to prove more serious. The old man had really lost his temper. It was odds that he would choke the life out of the cur under his knee.

I had just enough presence of mind to make way for the head waiter, a jolly, burly Frenchman, who came pushing into the circle. I even lent him a hand to pull Fordham off the prostrate form of his antagonist.

A touch was enough. The old man recovered his temper in a second, and calmly went back to his table with no more sign of excitement than shouting "sixty to forty, sixty to forty.”

“I'm on,” cried the voice of a man who had just come in at the end of the cafe and missed the scene by a minute. "But what’s the horse?"

I heard the words as a man in a dream; for my attention had suddenly been distracted.

Bumble had made no attempt to get up. He lay there whimpering. I raised my eyes from so disgusting a sight, and found them fixed by two enormous orbs. I did not know at the first moment even that they were eyes. It’s a funny thing to say; but the first impression was that they were one of those thoughts that come to one from nowhere when one is flying at ten thousand feet or so. Awfully queer thing, I tell you—reminds one of the atmospherics that one gets in wireless; and they give one a horrible feeling. It is a sort of sinister warning that there is some person or some thing in the Universe outside oneself: and the realisation of that is as frankly frightening as the other realisation, that one is eternally alone, is horrible.

I slipped out of time altogether into eternity. I felt myself in the presence of some tremendous influence for good or evil. I felt as though I had been born—I don’t know whether you know what I mean. I can’t help it, but I can’t put it any different.

It’s like this: nothing had ever happened to me in my life before. You know how it is when you come out of ether or nitrous-oxide at the dentist’s—you come back to somewhere, a familiar somewhere; but the place from which you have come is nowhere, and yet you have been there.

That is what happened to me.

I woke up from eternity, from infinity, from a state of mind enormously more vital and conscious than anything we know of otherwise, although one can’t give it a name, to discover that this nameless thought of nothingness was in reality two black vast spheres in which I saw myself. I had a thought of some vision in a story of the middle ages about a wizard, and slowly, slowly, I slid up out of the deep to recognise that these two spheres were just two eyes. And then it occurred to me—the thought was in the nature of a particularly absurd and ridiculous joke—that these two eyes belonged to a girl's face.

Across the moaning body of the blackmailer, I was looking at the face of a girl that I had never seen before. And I said to myself, "Well, that's all right, I've known you all my life." And when I said to myself "my life," I didn't in the least mean my life as Peter Pendragon, I didn’t even mean a life extending through the centuries, I meant a different kind of life-—something with which centuries have nothing whatever to do.

And then Peter Pendragon came wholly back to himself with a start, and wondered whether he had not perhaps looked a little rudely at what his common sense assured him was quite an ordinary and not a particularly attractive girl.

My mind was immediately troubled. I went hastily back to my table. And then it seemed to me as if it were hours while the waiters were persuading the earl to his feet.

I sipped my drink automatically. When I looked up the girl had disappeared.

It is a trivial observation enough which I am going to make. I hope at least it will help to clear any one's mind of any idea that I may be an abnormal man.

As a matter of fact, every man is ultimately abnormal, because he is unique. But we can class man in a few series without bothering ourselves much about what each one of them is in himself.

I hope, then, that it will be clearly understood that I am very much like a hundred thousand other young men of my age. I also make the remark, because the essential bearing of it is practically the whole story of this book. And the remark is this, after that great flourish of trumpets: although I was personally entirely uninterested in what I had witnessed, the depression had vanished from my mind. As the French say, "Un clou chasse l’autre.”

I have learnt since then that certain races, particularly the Japanese, have made a definite science starting from this fact. For example, they clap their hands four times "in order to drive away evil spirits.” That is, of course, only a figure of speech. What they really do is this: the physical gesture startles the mind out of its lethargy, so that the idea which has been troubling it is replaced by a new one. They have various dodges for securing a new one and making sure that the new one shall be pleasant. More of this later.

What happened is that at this moment my mind was seized with sharp, black anger, entirely objectless. I had at the time not the faintest inkling as to its nature, but there it was. The cafe was intolerable—like a pest-house. I threw a coin on the table, and was astonished to notice that it rolled off. I went out as if the devil were at my heels.

I remember practically nothing of the next half- hour. I felt a kind of forlorn sense of being lost in a world of incredibly stupid and malicious dwarfs.

I found myself in Piccadilly quite suddenly. A voice purred in my ear, "Good old Peter, good old sport, awfully glad I met you—we'll make a night of it.”

The speaker was a handsome Welshman still in his prime. Some people thought him one of the best sculptors living. He had, in fact, a following of disciples which I can only qualify as "almost unpleasantly so.”

He had no use for humanity at the bottom of his heart, except as convenient shapes which he might model. He was bored and disgusted to find them pretending to be alive. The annoyance had grown until he had got into the habit of drinking a good deal more and a good deal more often than a lesser man might have needed. He was a much bigger man than I was physically, and he took me by the arm almost as if he had been taking me into custody. He poured into my ear an interminable series of rambling reminiscences, each of which appeared to him incredibly mirthful.

For about half a minute I resented him; then I let myself go and found myself soothed almost to slumber by the flow of his talk. A wonderful man, like an imbecile child nine-tenths of the time, and yet, at the back of it all, one somehow saw the deep night of his mind suffused with faint sparks of his genius.

I had not the slightest idea where he was taking me; I did not care. I had gone to sleep inside. I woke to find myself sitting in the Cafe Wisteria once more.

The head waiter was excitedly explaining to my companion what a wonderful scene he had missed.

"Mr. Fordham, he nearly kill' ze Lord," he bubbled, wringing his fat hands. "He nearly kill’ ze Lord."

Something in the speech tickled my sense of irreverence. I broke into a high-pitched shout of laughter.

"Rotten," said my companion. "Rotten! That fellow Fordham never seems to make a clean job of it anyhow. Say, look here, this is my night out. You go 'way like a good boy, tell all those boys and girls come and have dinner."

The waiter knew well enough who was meant; and presently I found myself shaking hands with several perfect strangers in terms which implied the warmest and most unquenchable affection. It was really rather a distinguished crowd. One of the men was a fat German Jew, who looked at first sight like a piece of canned pork that has got mislaid too long in the summer. But the less he said the more he did; and what he did is one of the greatest treasures of mankind.

Then there was a voluble, genial man with a shock of gray hair and a queer twisted smile on his face. He looked like a character of Dickens. But he had done more to revitalise the theatre than any other man of his time.

I took a dislike to the women. They seemed so unworthy of the men. Great men seem to enjoy going about with freaks. I suppose it is on the same principle as the old kings used to keep fools and dwarfs to amuse them. "Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them." But whichever way it is, the burden is usually too heavy for their shoulders.

You remember Frank Harris's story of the Ugly Duckling? If you don’t, you’d better get busy and do it.

That’s really what’s so frightful in flying—the fear of oneself, the feeling that one has got out of one’s class, that all the old kindly familiar things below have turned into hard monstrous enemies ready to smash you if you touch them.

The first of these women was a fat, bold, red-headed slut. She reminded me of a white maggot. She exuded corruption. She was pompous, pretentious, and stupid. She gave herself out as a great authority on literature; but all her knowledge was parrot, and her own attempts in that direction the most deplorably dreary drivel that ever had been printed even by the chattering clique which she financed. On her bare shoulder was the hand of a short, thin woman with a common, pretty face and a would-be babyish manner. She was a German woman of the lowest class. Her husband was an influential Member of Parliament. People said that he lived on her earnings. There were even darker whispers. Two or three pretty wise birds had told me they thought it was she, and not poor little Mati Hara, who tipped off the Tanks to the Boche.

Did I mention that my sculptor’s name was Owen? Well, it was, is, and will be while the name of Art endures. He was supporting himself unsteadily with one hand on the table, while with the other he put his guests in their seats. I thought of a child playing with dolls.

As the first four sat down, I saw two other girls behind them. One I had met before, Violet Beach. She was a queer little thing—Jewish, I 'fancy. She wore a sheaf of yellow hair fuzzed out like a Struwwelpeter, and a violent vermilion dress—in case any one should fail to observe her. It was her affectation to be an Apache, so she wore an old cricket cap down on one eye, and a stale cigarette hung from her lip. But she had a certain talent for writing, and I was very glad indeed to meet her again. I admit I am always a little shy with strangers. As we shook hands, I heard her saying in her curious voice, high-pitched and yet muted, as if she had something wrong with her throat:—

"Want you to meet Miss --"

I didn’t get the name; I can never hear strange words. As it turned out, before forty-eight hours had passed, I discovered that it was Laleham—and then again that it wasn’t. But I anticipate—don’t try to throw me out of my stride. All in good time.

In the meanwhile I found I was expected to address her as Lou. "Unlimited Lou" was her nickname among the initiate.

Now what I am anxious for everybody to understand is simply this. There’s hardly anybody who understands the way his mind works; no two minds are alike, as Horace or some old ass said; and, anyhow, the process of thinking is hardly ever what we imagine.

So, instead of recognising the girl as the owner of the eyes which had gripped me so strangely an hour earlier, the fact of the recognition simply put me off the recognition—I don’t know if I’m making myself clear. I mean that the plain fact refused to come to the surface. My mind seethed with questions. Where had I seen her before?

And here’s another funny thing. I don’t believe that I should have ever recognised her by sight. What put me on the track was the grip of her hand, though I had never touched it in my life before.

Now don’t think that I’m going off the deep end about this. Don’t dismiss me as a mystic-monger. Look back each one into your own lives, and if you can’t find half a dozen incidents equally inexplicable, equally unreasonable, equally repugnant to the better regulated type of mid-Victorian mind, the best thing you can do is to sleep with your forefathers. So that’s that. Good-night.

I told you that Lou was "quite an ordinary and not a particularly attractive girl." Remember that this was the first thought of my "carnal mind" which, as St. Paul says, is "enmity against God."

My real first impression had been the tremendous psychological experience for which all words are inadequate.

Seated by her side, at leisure to look while she babbled, I found my carnal mind reversed on appeal. She was certainly not a pretty girl from the standpoint of a music-hall audience. There was something indefinably Mongolian about her face. The planes were flat; the cheek-bones high; the eyes oblique; the nose wide, short, and vital; the mouth a long, thin, rippling curve like a mad sunset. The eyes were tiny and green, with a piquant elfin expression. Her hair was curiously colourless; it was very abundant; she had wound great ropes about her head. It reminded me of the armature of a dynamo. It produced a weird effect— this mingling of the savage Mongol with the savage Norseman type. Her strange hair fascinated me. It was that delicate flaxen hue, so fine—no, I don’t know how to tell you about it, I can’t think of it without getting all muddled up.

One wondered how she was there. One saw at a glance that she didn’t belong to that set. Refinement, aristocracy almost, were like a radiance about her tiniest gesture. She had no affectation about being an artist. She happened to like these people in exactly the same way as a Methodist old maid in Balham might take an interest in natives of Tonga, and so she went about with them. Her mother didn’t mind. Probably, too, the way things are nowadays, her mother didn’t matter.

You mustn’t think that we were any of us drunk, except old Owen. As a matter of fact, all I had had was a glass of white wine. Lou had touched nothing at all. She prattled on like the innocent child she was, out of the sheer mirth of her heart. In an ordinary way, I suppose, I should have drunk a lot more than I did. And I didn’t eat much either. Of course, I know now what it was—that much-derided phenomenon, love at first sight.

Suddenly we were interrupted. A tall man was shaking hands across the table with Owen. Instead of using any of the ordinary greetings, he said in a very low, clear voice, very clear and vibrant, as though tense with some inscrutable passion:—

"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.”

There was an uneasy movement in the group. In particular, the German woman seemed distressed by the man’s mere presence.

I looked up. Yes, I could understand well enough the change in the weather. Owen was saying—

"That’s all right, that’s all right, that's exactly what I do. You come and see my new group. I’ll do another sketch of you—same day, same time. That's all right.”

Somebody introduced the new-comer—Mr. King Lamus—and murmured our names.

"Sit down right here,” said Owen, "what you need is a drink. I know you perfectly well; I've known you for years and years and years, and I know you've done a good day's work, and you've earned a drink. Sit right down and I’ll get the waiter.”

I looked at Lamus, who had not uttered a word since his original greeting. There was something appalling in his eyes; they didn’t focus on the foreground. I was only an incident of utter insignificance in an illimitable landscape. His eyes were parallel; they were looking at infinity. Nothing mattered to him. I hated the beast!

By this time the waiter had approached.

"Sorry, sir," he said to Owen, who had ordered a ’65 brandy.

It appeared that it was now eight hours forty-three minutes thirteen and three-fifth seconds past noon.

I don't know what the law is; nobody in England knows what the law is—not even the fools that make the laws. We are not under the laws and do not enjoy the liberties which our fathers bequeathed us; we are under a complex and fantastic system of police administration nearly as pernicious as anything even in America.

"Don't apologise," said Lamus to the waiter in a tone of icy detachment. "This is the freedom we fought for."

I was entirely on the side of the speaker. I hadn’t wanted a drink all evening, but now I was told I couldn’t have one, I wanted to raid their damn cellars and fight the Metropolitan Police and go up in my 'plane and drop a few bombs on the silly old House of Commons. And yet I was in no sort of sympathy with the man. The contempt of his tone irritated me. He was inhuman, somehow; that was what antagonised me.

He turned to Owen.

"Better come round to my studio,” he drawled; "I have a machine gun trained on Scotland Yard."

Owen rose with alacrity.

"I shall be delighted to see any of you others," continued Lamus. "I should deplore it to the day of my death if I were the innocent means of breaking up so perfect a party."

The invitation sounded like an insult. I went red behind the ears; I could only just command myself enough to make a formal apology of some sort.

As a matter of fact, there was a very curious reaction in the whole party. The German Jew got up at once— nobody else stirred. Rage boiled in my heart. I understood instantly what had taken place. The intervention of Lamus had automatically divided the party into giants and dwarfs; and I was one of the dwarfs.

During the dinner, Mrs. Webster, the German woman, had spoken hardly at all. But as soon as the three men had turned their backs, she remarked acidly:—

"I don’t think we’re dependent for our drinks on Mr. King Lamus. Let’s go round to the Smoking Dog.”

Everybody agreed with alacrity. The suggestion seemed to have relieved the unspoken tension.

We found ourselves in taxis, which for some inscrutable reason are still allowed to ply practically unchecked in the streets of London. While eating and breathing and going about are permitted, we shall never be a really righteous race!
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:51 am


It was only about a quarter of an hour before we reached "The Dog"; but the time passed heavily. I had been annexed by the white maggot. Her presence made me feel as if I were already a corpse. It was the limit.

But I think the ordeal served to bring up in my mind some inkling of the true nature of my feeling for Lou.

The Smoking Dog, now ingloriously extinct, was a night club decorated by a horrible little cad who spent his life pushing himself into art and literature. The dancing room was a ridiculous, meaningless, gaudy, bad imitation of Klimmt.

Damn it all, I may not be a great flyer, but I am a fresh-air man. I detest these near-artists with their poses and their humbug and their swank. I hate shams.

I found myself in a state of furious impatience before five minutes had passed. Mrs. Webster and Lou had not arrived. Ten minutes—twenty—I fell into a blind rage, drank heavily of the vile liquor with which the place was stinking, and flung myself with I don’t know what woman into the dance.

A shrill-voiced Danish siren, the proprietress, was screaming abuse at one of her professional entertainers —some long, sordid, silly story of sexual jealousy, I suppose. The band was deafening. The fine edge of my sense was dulled. It was in a sort of hot nightmare that I saw, through the smoke and the stink of the club, the evil smile of Mrs. Webster.

Small as the woman was, she seemed to fill the doorway. She preoccupied the attention in the same way as a snake would have done. She saw me at once, and ran almost into my arms excitedly. She whispered something in my ear. I didn’t hear it.

The club had suddenly been, so to speak, struck dumb. Lou was coming through the door. Over her shoulders was an opera cloak of deep rich purple edged with gold, the garment of an empress, or (shall I say?) of a priestess.

The whole place stopped still to look at her. And I had thought she was not beautiful!

She did not walk upon the ground. "Vera incessu patuit dea,” as we used to say at school. And as she paced she chanted from that magnificent litany of Captain J. F. C. Fuller, "Oh Thou golden sheaf of desires, that art bound by a fair wisp of poppies! I adore thee, Evoe! I adore thee, I A O!"

She sang full-throated, with a male quality in her voice. Her beauty was so radiant that my mind ran to the breaking of dawn after a long night flight.

"In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly, but westward, look! the land is bright!"

As if in answer to my thought, her voice rolled forth again:—

"O Thou golden wine of the sun, that art poured over the dark breasts of night! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

The first part of the adoration was in a sort of Gregorian chant varying with the cadence of the words. But the chorus always came back to the same thing.

I a-dore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!

EE-AH-OH gives the enunciation of the last word. Every vowel is drawn out as long as possible. It seemed as if she were trying to get the last cubic millimetre of air out of her lungs every time she sang it.  

"O Thou crimson vintage of life, that art poured into the jar of the grave! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

Lou reached the table, with its dirty, crazy cloth, at which we were sitting. She looked straight into my eyes, though I am sure she did not see me.

"O Thou red cobra of desire, that art unhooded by the hands of girls! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

She went back from us like a purple storm-cloud, sun-crested, torn from the breasts of the morning by some invisible lightning.

"O Thou burning sword of passion, that art torn on the anvil of flesh! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

A wave of almost insane excitement swept through the club. It was like the breaking out of anti-aircraft guns. The band struck up a madder jazz.

The dancers raved with more tumultuous and breathless fury.

Lou had advanced again to our table. We three were detached from the world. Around us rang the shrieking laughter of the crazy crowd. Lou seemed to listen. She broke out once more.

"O Thou mad whirlwind of laughter, that art meshed in the wild locks of folly! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

I realised with nauseating clarity that Mrs. Webster was pouring into my ears an account of the character and career of King Lamus.

"I don't know how he dares to come to England at all," she said. "He lives in a place called Telepylus, wherever that is. He's over a hundred years old, in spite of his looks. He’s been everywhere, and done everything, and every step he treads is smeared with blood. He’s the most evil and dangerous man in London. He’s a vampire, he lives on ruined lives.”

I admit I had the heartiest abhorrence for the man. But this fiercely bitter denunciation of one who was evidently a close friend of two of the world’s greatest artists, did not make his case look blacker. I was not impressed, frankly, with Mrs. Webster as an authority on other people’s conduct.

"O Thou Dragon-prince of the air, that art drunk on the blood of the sunsets! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

A wild pang of jealousy stabbed me. It was a livid, demoniac spasm. For some reason or other I had connected this verse of Lou’s mysterious chant with the personality of King Lamus.

Gretel Webster understood. She insinuated another dose of venom.

"Oh yes, Mr. Basil King Lamus is quite the ladies’ man. He fascinates them with a thousand different tricks. Lou is dreadfully in love with him.”

Once again the woman had made a mistake. I resented her reference to Lou. I don’t remember what I answered. Part of it was to the effect that Lou didn’t seem to have been very much injured.

Mrs. Webster smiled her subtlest smile.

"I quite agree,” she said silkily, "Lou is the most beautiful woman in London to-night.”

"O Thou fragrance of sweet flowers, that art wafted over blue fields of air! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

The state of the girl was extraordinary. It was as if she possessed two personalities in their fullest possibilities—the divine and the human. She was intensely conscious of all that was going on around her, absolute mistress of herself and of her environment; yet at the same time she was lost in some unearthly form of rapture of a kind which, while essentially unintelligible to me, reminded me of certain strange and fragmentary experiences that I had had while flying.

I suppose every one has read The Psychology of Flying by L. de Giberne Sieveking. All I need do is to remind you of what he says:—

"All types of men who fly are conscious of this very obscure, subtle difference that it has wrought in them. Very few know exactly what it is. Hardly any of them can express what they feel. And none of them would admit it if they could. . . . One realises without any formation into words how that one is oneself, and that each one is entirely separate and can never enter into the recesses of another, which are his foundation of individual life.”

One feels oneself out of all relation with things, even the most essential. And yet one is aware at the same time that everything of which one has ever been aware is a picture invented by one’s own mind. The Universe is the looking-glass of the soul.

In that state one understands all sorts of nonsense.

"O Thou foursquare Crown of Nothing, that circlest the destruction of Worlds! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

I flushed with rage, understanding enough to know what Lou must be feeling as she rolled forth those passionate, senseless words from her volcanic mouth. Gretel’s suggestion trickled into my brain.

"This beastly alcohol brutalises men. Why is Lou so superb? She has breathed the pure snow of Heaven into her nostrils.”

"O Thou snow-white chalice of Love, that art filled up with the red lusts of man! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

I tingled and shivered as she sang; and then something, I hardly know what, made me turn and look into the face of Gretel Webster. She was sitting at my right; her left hand was beneath the table, and she was looking at it. I followed her glance.

In the little quadrilateral of the veins whose lower apex is between the first and middle fingers, was a tiny heap of sparkling dust. Nothing I had ever seen before had so attracted me. The sheer bright infinite beauty of the stuff! I had seen it before of course, often enough, at the hospital; but this was quite a different thing. It was set off by its environment as a diamond is by its setting. It seemed alive. It sparkled intensely. It was like nothing else in Nature, unless it be those feathery crystals, wind-blown, that glisten on the lips of crevasses.

What followed sticks in my memory as if it were a conjurer’s trick. I don’t know by what gesture she constrained me. But her hand slowly rose not quite to the level of the table; and my face, hot, flushed, angry and eager, had bent down towards it. It seemed pure instinct, though I have little doubt now that it was the result of an unspoken suggestion. I drew the little heap of powder through my nostrils with one long breath. I felt even then like a choking man in a coal mine released at the last moment, filling his lungs for the first time with oxygen.

I don’t know whether this is a common experience. I suspect that my medical training and reading, and hearing people talk, and the effect of all those ghoulish articles in the newspapers had something to do with it.

On the other hand, we must make a good deal of allowance, I think, for such an expert as Gretel Webster. No doubt she was worth her wage to the Boche. No doubt she had picked me out for part of "Die Rache.” I had downed some pretty famous flyers.  

But none of these thoughts occurred to me at the time. I do not think I have explained with sufficient emphasis the mental state to which I had been reduced by the appearance of Lou. She had become so far beyond my dreams—the unattainable.

Leaving out of account the effect of the alcohol, this had left me with an intolerable depression. There was something brutish, something of the baffled rat, in my consciousness.

"O Thou vampire Queen of the Flesh, wound as a snake around the throats of men! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

Was she thinking of Gretel or of herself? Her beauty had choked me, strangled me, torn my throat out. I had become insane with dull, harsh lust. I hated her. But as I raised my head; as the sudden, the instantaneous madness of cocaine swept from my nostrils to my brain—that's a line of poetry, but I can't help it—get on!—the depression lifted from my mind like the sun coming out of the clouds.

I heard as in a dream the rich, ripe voice of Lou:—

"O Thou fierce whirlpool of passion, that art sucked up by the mouth of the sun! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

The whole thing was different—I understood what she was saying, I was part of it. I recognised, for one swift second, the meaning of my previous depression. It was my sense of inferiority to her! Now I was her man, her mate, her master!

I rose to catch her by the waist; but she whirled away down the floor of the club like an autumn leaf before the storm. I caught the glance of Gretel Webster’s eyes. I saw them glitter with triumphant malice; and for a moment she and Lou and cocaine and myself were all inextricably interlocked in a tangled confusion of ruinous thought.

But my physical body was lifting me. It was the same old, wild exhilaration that one gets from rising from the ground on one’s good days. I found myself in the middle of the floor without knowing how I had got there. I, too, was walking on air. Lou turned, her mouth a scarlet orb, as I have seen the sunset over Belgium, over the crinkled line of shore, over the dim blue mystic curve of sea and sky; with the thought in my mind beating in tune with my excited heart. We didn’t miss the arsenal this time. I was the arsenal too. I had exploded. I was the slayer and the slain! And there sailed Lou across the sky to meet me.

"O Thou outrider of the Sun, that spurrest the bloody flanks of the wind! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

We came into each other’s arms with the inevitableness of gravitation. We were the only two people in the Universe—she and I. The only force that existed in the Universe was the attraction between us. The force with which we came together set us spinning.

We went up and down the floor of the club; but, of course, it wasn’t the floor of the club, there wasn’t the club, there wasn’t anything at all except a delirious feeling that one was everything, and had to get on with everything. One was the Universe eternally whirling. There was no possibility of fatigue; one's energy was equal to one’s task.

"O Thou dancer with gilded nails, that unbraidest the star hair of the night! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

Lou’s slim, lithe body lay in my arm. It sounds absurd, but she reminded me of a light overcoat. Her head hung back, the heavy coils of hair came loose.

All of a sudden the band stopped. For a second the agony was indescribable. It seemed like annihilation. I was seized with an absolute revulsion against the whole of my surroundings. I whispered like a man in furious haste who must get something vital done before he dies, some words to the effect that I couldn't "stick this beastly place any longer—"

"Let's get some air."

She answered neither yes nor no. I had been wasting words to speak to her at all.

"O Thou bird-sweet river of Love, that warblest through the pebbly gorge of Life! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

Her voice had sunk to a clear murmur. We found ourselves in the street. The chucker-out hailed us a taxi. I stopped her song at last. My mouth was on her mouth. We were driving in the chariot of the Sun through the circus of the Universe. We didn’t know where we were going, and we didn’t care. We had no sense of time at all. There was a sequence of sensations; but there was no means of regulating them. It was as if one’s mental clock had suddenly gone mad.

I have no gauge of time, subjectively speaking, but it must have been a long while before our mouths separated, for as this happened I recognised the fact that we were very far from the club.

She spoke to me for the first time. Her voice thrilled dark unfathomable deeps of being. I tingled in every fibre. And what she said was this:—

"Your kiss is bitter with cocaine."

It is quite impossible to give those who have no experience of these matters any significance of what she said.

It was a boiling caldron of wickedness that had suddenly bubbled over. Her voice rang rich with hellish glee. It stimulated me to male intensity. I caught her in my arms more fiercely. The world went black before my eyes. I perceived nothing any more. I can hardly even say that I felt. I was Feeling itself! I was all the possibilities of Feeling fulfilled to the uttermost. Yet, coincident with this, my body went on automatically with its own private affairs.

She was escaping me. Her face eluded mine.

"O Thou storm-drunk breath of the winds, that pant in the bosom of the mountains! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

Her breast sobbed out its song with weird intensity.

I understood in a flash that this was her way of resistance. She was trying to insist to herself that she was a cosmic force; that she was not a woman at all; that a man meant nothing to her. She fought desperately against me, sliding so serpent-like about the bounds of space. Of course, it was really the taxi— but I didn’t know it then, and I'm not quite sure of it now.

"I wish to God,” I said to myself in a fury, "I had one more sniff of that Snow. I’d show her!"

At that moment she threw me off as if I had been a feather. I felt myself all of a sudden no more good. Quite unaccountably I had collapsed, and I found myself, to my amazement, knocking out a little pile of cocaine from a ten-gramme bottle which had been in my trousers’ pocket, on to my hand, and sniffing it up into my nostrils with greedy relish.

Don’t ask me how it got there. I suppose Gretel Webster must have done it somehow. My memory is an absolute blank. That’s one of the funny things about cocaine. You never know quite what trick it is going to play you.

I was reminded of the American professor who boasted that he had a first-class memory whose only defect was that it wasn’t reliable.

I am equally unable to tell you whether the fresh supply of the drug increased my powers, or whether Lou had simply tired of teasing me, but of her own accord she writhed into my arms; her hands and mouth were heavy on my heart. There's some more poetry—that’s the way it takes one—rhythm seems to come natural—everything is one grand harmony. It is impossible that anything should be out of tune. The voice of Lou seemed to come from an enormous distance, a deep, low, sombre chant:—

"O Thou low moan of fainting maids, that art caught up in the strong sobs of Love! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

That was it—her engine and my engine for the first time working together! All the accidents had disappeared. There was nothing but the unison of two rich racing rhythms.

You know how it is when you are flying—you see a speck in the air. You can't tell by your eyes if it is your Brother Boche coming to pot you, or one of our own or one of the allied 'planes. But you can tell them apart, foe from friend, by the different beat of their engines. So one comes to apprehend a particular rhythm as sympathetic—another as hostile.

So here were Lou and I flying together beyond the bounds of eternity, side by side; her low, persistent throb in perfect second to my great galloping boom.

Things of this sort take place outside time and space. It is quite wrong to say that what happened in the taxi ever began or ended. What happened was that our attention was distracted from the eternal truth of this essential marriage of our souls by the chauffeur, who had stopped the taxi and opened the door.

"Here we are, sir,” he said, with a grin.

Sir Peter Pendragon and Lou Laleham automatically reappeared. Before all things, decorum!

The shock bit the incident deeply into my mind. I remember with the utmost distinctness paying the man off, and then being lost in absolute blank wonder as to how it happened that we were where we were.

Who had given the address to the man, and where were we?

I can only suppose that, consciously or subconsciously, Lou had done it, for she showed no embarrassment in pressing the electric bell. The door opened immediately. I was snowed under by an avalanche of crimson light that poured from a vast studio.

Lou’s voice soared high and clear:—

"O Thou scarlet dragon of flame, enmeshed in the web of a spider! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

A revulsion of feeling rushed over me like a storm; for in the doorway, with Lou’s arms round his neck, was the tall, black, sinister figure of King Lamus.

"I knew you wouldn’t mind our dropping in, although it is so late,” she was saying.

It would have been perfectly simple for him to acquiesce with a few conventional words. Instead, he was pontifical.

"There are four gates to one palace; the floor of that palace is of silver and gold; lapis-lazuli and jasper are there; and all rare scents; jasmine and rose, and the emblems of death. Let him enter in turn or at once the four gates; let him stand on the floor of the palace.”

I was unfathomably angry. Why must the man always act like a cad or a clown? But there was nothing to do but to accept the situation and walk in politely.

He shook hands with me formally, yet with greater intensity than is customary between well-bred strangers in England. And as he did so, he looked me straight in the face. His deadly inscrutable eyes burned their way clean through to the back of my brain and beyond. Yet his words were entirely out of keeping with his actions.

"What does the poet say?" he said loftily—"Rather a joke to fill up on coke —or words to that effect, Sir Peter.”

How in the devil’s name did he know what I had been taking?

"Men who know things have no right to go about the world,” something said irritably inside myself. But something else obscurely answered it.

"That accounts for what the world has always done —made martyrs of its pioneers.”

I felt a little ashamed, to tell the truth; but Lamus put me at my ease. He waved his hand towards a huge arm-chair covered with Persian tapestries. He gave me a cigarette and lighted it for me. He poured out a drink of Benedictine into a huge curved glass, and put it on a little table by my side. I disliked his easy hospitality as much as anything else. I had an uncomfortable feeling that I was a puppet in his hands.

There was only one other person in the room. On a settee covered with leopard skins lay one of the strangest women I had ever seen. She wore a white evening dress with pale yellow roses, and the same flowers were in her hair. She was a half-blood negress from North Africa.

"Miss Fatma Hallaj,” said Lamus.

I rose and bowed. But the girl took no notice. She seemed in utter oblivion of sublunary matters. Her skin was of that deep, rich night-sky blue which only very vulgar eyes imagine to be black. The face was gross and sensual, but the brows wide and commanding.

There is no type of intellect so essentially aristocratic as the Egyptian when it happens to be of the rare right strain.

"Don’t be offended,” said Lamus, in a soft voice, "she includes us all in her sublime disdain.”

Lou was sitting on the arm of the couch; her ivory-white, long crooked fingers groping the dark girl’s hair. Somehow or other I felt nauseated; I was uneasy, embarrassed. For the first time in my life I didn’t know how to behave.

A thought popped into my mind: it was simply fatigue—I needn't bother about that.

As if in answer to my thought, Lou took a small cut-glass bottle with a gold-chased top from her pocket, unscrewed it and shook out some cocaine on the back of her hand. She flashed a provocative glance in my direction.

The studio suddenly filled with the reverberation of her chant:—

"O Thou naked virgin of love, that art caught in a net of wild roses! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

"Quite so,” agreed King Lamus cheerfully. "You’ll excuse me, I know, if I ask whether you have any great experience of the effects of cocaine.”

Lou glowered at him. I preferred to meet him frankly. I deliberately put a large dose on the back of my hand and sniffed it up. Before I had finished, the effect had occurred. I felt myself any man’s master.

"Well, as a matter of fact,” I said superciliously, "to-night’s the first time I ever took it, and it strikes me as pretty good stuff.”

Lamus smiled enigmatically.

“Ah, yes, what does the old poet say? Milton, is it?

‘Stab your demoniac smile to my brain,
Soak me in cognac, love, and cocaine.’"

"How silly you are,” cried Lou. "Cocaine wasn't invented in the time of Milton.”

"Was that Milton’s fault?" retorted King Lamus. The inaptitude, the disconnectedness, of his thought was somehow disconcerting.

He turned his back on her and looked me straight in the face.

"It strikes you as pretty good stuff, Sir Peter," he said, "and so it is. I’ll have a dose myself to show there’s no ill-feeling.”

He suited the action to the words.

I had to admit that the man began to intrigue me. What was his game?

"I hear you're one of our best flying men, Sir Peter,” he went on.

”I have flown a bit now and then,” I admitted.

"Well, an aeroplane’s a pretty good means of travel, but unless you're an expert, you’re likely to make a pretty sticky finish.”

"Thank you very much,” I said, nettled at his tone." As it happens, I’m a medical student.”

"Oh, that’s all right, then, of course.”

He agreed with a courtesy which somehow cut deeper into my self-esteem than if he had openly challenged my competence.

”In that case,” he continued, "I hope to arouse your professional interest in a case of what I think you will agree is something approaching indiscretion. My little friend here arrived to-night, or rather last night, full up to the neck with morphia. Dissatisfied with results, she swallowed a large dose of Anhalonium Lewinii, reckless of the pharmaceutical incompatability. Presumably to pass away the time, she has drunk an entire bottle of Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge; and now, feeling herself slightly indisposed, for some reason at which it would be presumptuous to guess, she is setting things right by an occasional indulgence in this pretty good stuff of yours.”

He had turned away from me and was watching the girl intently. My glance followed his. I saw her deep blue skin fade to a dreadful pallor. She had lost her healthy colour; she suggested a piece of raw meat which is just beginning to go bad.

I jumped to my feet. I knew instinctively that the girl was about to collapse. The owner of the studio was bending over her. He looked at me over his shoulder out of the corners of his eyes.

"A case of indiscretion,” he observed, with bitter irony.

For the next quarter of an hour he fought for the girl’s life. King Lamus was a very skilled physician, though he had never studied medicine officially.

But I was not aware of what was going on. Cocaine was singing in my veins. I cared for nothing. Lou came over impulsively and flung herself across my knees. She held the goblet of Benedictine to my mouth, chanting ecstatically:—

"O Thou sparkling wine-cup of light, whose foaming is the heart’s blood of the stars! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

We swooned into a deep, deep trance. Lamus interrupted us.

"You mustn’t think me inhospitable,” he said. "She’s come round all right; but I ought to drive her home. Make yourselves at home while I’m away, or let me take you where you want to go.”

Another interruption occurred. The bell rang. Lamus sprang to the door. A tall old man was standing on the steps.

"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,” said Lamus.

"Love is the law, love under will,” replied the other.

It was like a challenge and countersign.

"I’ve got to talk to you for an hour.”

"Of course, I’m at your service,” replied our host. "The only thing is-” He broke off.

My brain was extraordinarily clear. My self- confidence was boundless. I felt inspired. I saw the way out.

A little devil laughed in my heart: "What an excellent scheme to be alone with Lou!"

"Look here, Mr. Lamus,” I said, speaking very quickly, "I can drive any kind of car. Let me take Miss Hallaj home.”

The Arab girl was on her feet behind me.

"Yes, yes,” she said, in a faint, yet excited voice. "That will be much the best thing. Thanks awfully.”

They were the first words she had spoken.

“Yes, yes,” chimed in Lou. "I want to drive in the moonlight.”

The little group was huddled in the open doorway. On one side the dark crimson tides of electricity; on the other, the stainless splendour of our satellite.

"O Thou frail bluebell of moonlight, that art lost in the gardens of the stars

The scene progressed with the vivid rapidity of a dream. We were in the garage—out of it—into the streets—at the Egyptian girl’s hotel—and then—
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:54 am


Lou clung to me as I gripped the wheel. There was no need for us to speak. The trembling torrent of our passion swept us away. I had forgotten all about Lamus and his car. We were driving like the devil to Nowhere. A mad thought crossed my mind. It was thrown up by my "Unconscious,’’ by the essential self of my being. Then some familiar object in the streets reminded me that I was not driving back to the studio. Some force in myself, of which I was not aware, had turned my face towards Kent. I was interpreting myself to myself. I knew what I was going to do. We were bound for Barley Grange; and then, oh, the wild moonlight ride to Paris!

The idea had been determined in me without any intervention of my own. It had been, in a way, the solution of an equation of which the terms were: firstly, a sort of mad identification of Lou with all one’s romantic ideas of moonlight; then my physical habit as a flying man; and thirdly, the traditional connection of Paris with extravagant gaiety and luxuriant love.

I was quite aware at the time that my moral sense and my mental sense had been thrown overboard for the moment; but my attitude was simply: "Goodbye, Jonah!"

For the first time in my life I was being absolutely myself, freed from all the inhibitions of body, intellect, and training which keep us, normally, in what we call sane courses of action.

I seem to remember asking myself if I was insane, and answering, "Of course I am—sanity is a compromise. Sanity is the thing that keeps one back.”

It would be quite useless to attempt to describe the drive to Barley Grange. It lasted barely half a second. It lasted age-less aeons.

Any doubts that I might have had about myself were stamped under foot by the undeniable facts. I had never driven better in my life. I got out the seaplane as another man might get out a cigarette from his case. She started like an eagle. With the whirr of the engine came Lou’s soft smooth voice in exquisite antiphony:—

"O Thou trembling breast of the night, that gleamest with a rosary of moons! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

We soared towards the dawn. I went straight to over three thousand. I could hear the beat of my heart. It was one with the beat of the engine.

I took the pure unsullied air into my lungs. It was an octave to cocaine; the same invigorating spiritual force expressed in other terms.

The magnificently melodious words of Sieveking sprang into my mind. I repeated them rapturously. It is the beat of the British engine.

"Deep lungfuls! Deep mouthfuls! Deep, deep mental mouthfuls!"

The wind of our speed abolished all my familiar bodily sensations. The cocaine combined with it to anaesthetise them. I was disembodied; an eternal spirit; a Thing supreme, apart.

"Lou, sweetheart! Lou, sweetheart! Lou, Lou, perfect sweetheart!"

I must have shouted the refrain. Even amid the roar, I heard her singing back.

"O Thou summer softness of lips, that glow hot with the scarlet of passion! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

I could not bear the weight of the air. Let us soar higher, ever higher! I increased the speed.

"Fierce frenzy! Fierce folly! Fierce, fierce, frenzied folly!"

"O Thou tortured shriek of the storm, that art whirled up through the leaves of the woods! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

And I felt that we were borne on some tremendous tempest. The earth dropped from beneath us like a stone into blind nothingness. We were free, free for ever, from the fetters of our birth!

"Soar swifter! Soar swifter! Soar, soar swifter, swifter!"

Before us, high in the pale gray, stood Jupiter, a four-square sapphire spark.

"O Thou bright star of the morning, that art set betwixt the breasts of the Night! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

I shouted back.

"Star seekers! Star finders! Twin stars, silver shining!"

Up, still up, I drove. There hung a mass of thundercloud between me and the dawn. Damn it, how dared it! It had no business to be there. I must rise over it, trample it under my feet.

"O Thou purple breast of the storm, that art scarred by the teeth of the lightning! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

Frail waifs of mist beset us. I had understood Lou’s joy in the cloud. It was I that was wrong. I had not had enough cocaine to be able to accept everything as infinite ecstasy. Her love carried me out of myself up to her triumphal passion. I understood the mist.

"O Thou unvintageable dew, that art moist on the lips of the Morn! I adore Thee, Evoe! I adore Thee, I A O!"

At that moment, the practical part of me asserted itself with startling suddenness. I saw the dim line of the coast. I knew the line as I know the palm of my hand. I was a little out of the shortest line for Paris. I swerved slightly to the south.

Below, gray seas were tumbling. It seemed to me (insanely enough) that their moving wrinkles were the laughter of a very old man. I had a sudden intuition that something was wrong; and an instant later came an unmistakable indication of the trouble. I was out of gas.

My mind shot back with a vivid flash of hatred toward King Lamus. "A case of indiscretion!" He'd as good as called me a fool to my face. I thought of him as the sea, shaking with derisive laughter.

All the time I had been chuckling over my dear old squad commander. Not a great flyer, am I? This will show him! And that was true enough. I was incomparably better than I had ever been before. And yet I had omitted just one obvious precaution.

I suddenly realised that things might be exceedingly nasty. The only thing to be done was to shut off, and volplane down to the straits. And there were points in the problem which appalled me.

Oh, for another sniff! As we swooped down towards the sea in huge wide spirals, I managed to extract my bottle. Of course, I realised instantly the impossibility of taking it by the nose in such a wind. I pulled out the cork, and thrust my tongue into the neck of the bottle.

We were still three thousand feet or more above the sea. I had plenty of time, infinite time, I thought, as the drug took hold, to make my decision. I acted with superb aplomb. I touched the sea within a hundred yards of a fishing smack that had just put out from Deal.

We were picked up as a matter of course within a couple of minutes. They put back and towed the 'plane ashore.

My first thought was to get more gas and go on, despite the absurdity of our position. But the sympathy of the men on the beach was mixed with a good deal of hearty chaff. Dripping, in evening dress, at four o’clock in the morning! Like Hedda Gabler, "one doesn’t do these things.”

But the cocaine helped me again. Why the devil should I care what anybody thought?

"Where can I get gas?" I said to the captain of the smack.

He smiled grimly.

”She’ll want a bit more than gas.”

I glanced at the ’plane. The man was perfectly right. A week’s repairs, at the least.

"You’d better go to the hotel, sir, and get some warm clothes. Look how the lady’s shivering.”

It was perfectly true. There was nothing else to be done. We went together slowly up the beach.

There was no question of sleeping, of course. Both of us were as fresh as paint. What we needed was hot food and lots of it.

We got it.

It seemed as if we had entered upon an entirely new phase. The disaster had purged us of that orchestral oratorio business; but, on the other hand, we were still full of intense practical activity.

We ate three breakfasts each. And as we ate we talked; talked racy, violent nonsense, most of it. Yet we were both well aware that the whole thing was camouflage. What we had to do was to get married as quickly as we could, and lay in a stock of cocaine, and go away and have a perfectly glorious time for ever and ever.

We sent for emergency clothes in the town, and went stalking a parson. He was an old man who had lived for years out of the world. He saw nothing particularly wrong with us except youth and enthusiasm, and he was very sorry that it would take three weeks to turn us off.

The good old boy explained the law.

"Oh, that’s easy,” we said in a breath. "Let’s get the first train to London.”

There are no incidents to record. We were both completely anaesthetised. Nothing bothered us. We didn’t mind the waiting on the platform, or the way the old train lumbered up to London.

Everything was part of the plan. Everything was perfect pleasure. We were living above ourselves, living at a tremendous pace. The speed of the ’plane became merely a symbol, a physical projection of our spiritual sublimity.

The next two days passed like pantomime. We were married in a dirty little office by a dirty little man. We took back his car to Lamus. I was amused to discover that I had left it standing in the open half over the edge of the lake.

I made a million arrangements in a kind of whirling wisdom. Before forty-eight hours had passed we were packed and off for Paris.

I did not remember anything in detail. All events were so many base metals fused into an alloy whose name was Excitement. During the whole time we only slept once, and then we slept well and woke fresh, without one trace of fatigue.

We had called on Gretel and obtained a supply of cocaine. She wouldn’t accept any money from her dear Sir Peter, and she was so happy to see Lou Lady Pendragon, and wouldn’t we come and see her after the honeymoon?

That call is the one thing that sticks in my mind. I suppose I realised obscurely somehow that the woman was in reality the mainspring of the whole manoeuvre.

She introduced us to her husband, a heavy, pursy old man with a paunch and a beard, a reputation for righteousness, and an unctuous way of saying the right kind of nothing. But I divined a certain shrewdness in his eyes; it belied his mask of ostentatious innocence.

There was another man there too, a kind of half-baked Nonconformist parson, one Jabez Platt, who had realised early in life that his mission was to go about doing good. Some people said that he had done a great deal of good—to himself. His principle in politics was a very simple one: If you see anything, stop it; everything that is, is wrong; the world is a very wicked place.

He was very enthusiastic about putting through a law for suppressing the evil of drugs.  

We smiled our sympathetic assent, with sly glances at our hostess. If the old fool had only known that we were full of cocaine, as we sat and applauded his pompous platitudes!

We laughed our hearts out over the silly incident as we sat in the train. It doesn’t appear particularly comic in perspective; but it’s very hard to tell, at any time, what is going to tickle one’s sense of humour. Probably anything else would have done just as well. We were on the rising curve. The exaltation of love was combined with that of cocaine; and the romance and adventure of our lives formed an exhilarating setting for those superb jewels.

"Every day, in every way, I get better and better.”

M. Coue's now famous formula is the precise intellectual expression of the curve of the cocaine honeymoon. Normal life is like an aeroplane before she rises. There is a series of little bumps; all one can say is that one is getting along more or less. Then she begins to rise clear of earth. There are no more obstacles to the flight.

But there are still mental obstacles; a fence, a row of houses, a grove of elms or what not. One is a little anxious to realise that they have to be cleared. But as she soars into the boundless blue, there comes that sense of mental exhilaration that goes with boundless freedom.

Our grandfathers must have known something about this feeling by living in England before the liberty of the country was destroyed by legislation, or rather the delegation of legislation to petty officialdom.

About six months ago I imported some tobacco, rolls of black perique, the best and purest in the world. By-and-by I got tired of cutting it up, and sent it to a tobacconist for the purpose.

Oh, dear no, quite impossible without a permit from the Custom House!

I suppose I really ought to give myself up to the police.

Yes, as one gets into the full swing of cocaine, one loses all consciousness of the bumpy character of this funny old oblate spheroid. One is really very much more competent to deal with the affairs of life, that is, in a certain sense of the word.

M. Coue is perfectly right, just as the Christian Scientists and all those people are perfectly right, in saying that half our troubles come from our consciousness of their existence, so that if we forget their existence, they actually cease to exist!

Haven’t we got an old proverb to the effect that "what the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn't grieve over?"

When one is on one’s cocaine honeymoon, one is really, to a certain extent, superior to one’s fellows. One attacks every problem with perfect confidence. It is a combination of what the French call elan and what they call insouciance.

The British Empire is due to this spirit. Our young men went out to India and all sorts of places, and walked all over everybody because they were too ignorant to realise the difficulties in their way. They were taught that if one had good blood in one’s veins, and a public school and university training to habituate one to being a lord of creation, and to the feeling that it was impossible to fail, and to not knowing enough to know when one was beaten, nothing could ever go wrong.

We are losing the Empire because we have become "sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought.” The intellectuals have made us like "the poor cat i’ the adage.” The spirit of Hamlet has replaced that of Macbeth. Macbeth only went wrong because the heart was taken out of him by Macduff’s interpretation of what the witches had said.

Coriolanus only failed when he stopped to think. As the poet says, "The love of knowledge is the hate of life.”

Cocaine removes all hesitation. But our forefathers owed their freedom of spirit to the real liberty which they had won; and cocaine is merely Dutch courage. However, while it lasts, it’s all right.
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:56 am


I can’t remember any details of our first week in Paris. Details had ceased to exist. We whirled from pleasure to pleasure in one inexhaustible rush. We took everything in our stride. I cannot begin to describe the blind, boundless beatitude of love. Every incident was equally exquisite.

Of course, Paris lays herself out especially to deal with people in just that state of mind. We were living at ten times the normal voltage. This was true in more senses than one. I had taken a thousand pounds in cash from London, thinking as I did so how jolly it was to be reckless. We were going to have a good time, and damn the expense!

I thought of a thousand pounds as enough to paint Paris every colour of the spectrum for a quite indefinitely long period; but at the end of the week the thousand pounds was gone, and so was another thousand pounds for which I had cabled to London; and we had absolutely nothing to show for it except a couple of dresses for Lou, and a few not very expensive pieces of jewellery.

We felt that we were very economical. We were too happy to need to spend money. For one thing, love never needs more than a pittance, and I had never before known what love could mean.

What I may call the honeymoon part of the honeymoon seemed to occupy the whole of our waking hours. It left us no time to haunt Montmartre. We hardly troubled to eat, we hardly knew we were eating. We didn’t seem to need sleep. We never got tired.

The first hint of fatigue sent one’s hand to one’s pocket. One sniff which gave ns a sensation of the most exquisitely delicious wickedness, and we were on fourth speed again!

The only incident worth recording is the receipt of a letter and a box from Gretel Webster. The box contained a padded kimono for Lou, one of those gorgeous Japanese geisha silks, blue like a summer sky with dragons worked all over it in gold, with scarlet eyes and tongues.

Lou looked more distractingly, deliriously glorious than ever.

I had never been particularly keen on women. The few love affairs which had come my way had been rather silly and sordid. They had not revealed the possibilities of love; in fact, I had thought it a somewhat overrated pleasure, a brief and brutal blindness with boredom and disgust hard on its heels.

But with cocaine, things are absolutely different.

I want to emphasise the fact that cocaine is in reality a local anaesthetic. That is the actual explanation of its action. One cannot feel one’s body. (As every one knows, this is the purpose for which it is used in surgery and dentistry.)

Now don’t imagine that this means that the physical pleasures of marriage are diminished, but they are utterly etherealised. The animal part of one is intensely stimulated so far as its own action is concerned; but the feeling that this passion is animal is completely transmuted.

I come of a very refined race, keenly observant and easily nauseated. The little intimate incidents inseparable from love affairs, which in normal circumstances tend to jar the delicacy of one’s sensibilities, do so no longer when one’s furnace is full of coke. Everything soever is transmuted as by "heavenly alchemy" into a spiritual beatitude. One is intensely conscious of the body. But as the Buddhists tell us, the body is in reality an instrument of pain or discomfort. We have all of us a subconscious intuition that this is the case; and this is annihilated by cocaine.

Let me emphasise once more the absence of any reaction. There is where the infernal subtlety of the drug comes in. If one goes on the bust in the ordinary way on alcohol, one gets what the Americans call "the morning after the night before.” Nature warns us that we have been breaking the rules; and Nature has given us common sense enough to know that although we can borrow a bit, we have to pay back.

We have drunk alcohol since the beginning of time; and it is in our racial consciousness that although "a hair of the dog" will put one right after a spree, it won’t do to choke oneself with hair.

But with cocaine, all this caution is utterly abrogated. Nobody would be really much the worse for a night with the drug, provided that he had the sense to spend the next day in a Turkish bath, and build up with food and a double allowance of sleep. But cocaine insists upon one’s living upon one’s capital, and assures one that the fund is inexhaustible.

As I said, it is a local anaesthetic. It deadens any feeling which might arouse what physiologists call inhibition. One becomes absolutely reckless. One is bounding with health and bubbling with high spirits. It is a blind excitement of so sublime a character that it is impossible to worry about anything. And yet, this excitement is singularly calm and profound. There is nothing of the suggestion of coarseness which we associate with ordinary drunkenness. The very idea of coarseness or commonness is abolished. It is like the vision of Peter in the Acts of the Apostles in which he was told, "There is nothing common or unclean.”

As Blake said, "Everything that lives is holy.” Every act is a sacrament. Incidents which in the ordinary way would check one or annoy one, become merely material for joyous laughter. It is just as when you drop a tiny lump of sugar into champagne, it bubbles afresh.

Well, this is a digression. But that is just what cocaine does. The sober continuity of thought is broken up. One goes off at a tangent, a fresh, fierce, fantastic tangent, on the slightest excuse. One’s sense of proportion is gone; and despite all the millions of miles that one cheerily goes out of one’s way, one never loses sight of one’s goal.

While I have been writing all this, I have never lost sight for a moment of the fact that I am telling you about the box and the letter from Gretel.

We met a girl in Paris, half a Red Indian, a lovely baby with the fascination of a fiend and a fund of the foulest stories that ever were told. She lived on cocaine. She was a more or less uneducated girl; and the way she put it was this: "I’m in a long, lovely garden, with my arms full of parcels, and I keep on dropping one; and when I stoop to pick it up, I always drop another, and all the time I am sailing along up the garden.”

So this was Gretel's letter.

"My Darling Lou, —I could not begin to tell you the other day how delighted I was to see you My Lady and with such a splendid man for your husband. I don’t blame you for getting married in such a hurry; but, on the other hand, you mustn’t blame your old friends for not being prophets! So I could not be on hand with the goods. However, I have lost no time. You know how poor I am, but I hope you will value the little present I am sending you, not for its own sake, but as a token of my deep affection for the loveliest and most charming girl I know. A word in your ear, my dear Lou: the inside is sometimes better than the outside. With my very kindest regards and best wishes to dear Sir Peter and yourself, though I can’t expect you to know that I even exist at the present,

"Yours ever devotedly,


Lou threw the letter across the table to me. For some reason or no reason, I was irritated. I didn’t want to hear from people like that at all. I didn’t like or trust her.

"Queer fish,” I said rather snappily.

It wasn’t my own voice; it was, I fancy, some deep instinct of self-preservation speaking within me.

Lou, however, was radiant about it. I wish I could give you an idea of the sparkling quality of everything she said and did. Her eyes glittered, her lips twittered, her cheeks glowed like fresh blown buds in spring. She was the spirit of cocaine incarnate; cocaine made flesh.. Her mere existence made the Universe infinitely exciting. Say, if you like, she was possessed of the devil!

Any good person, so-called, would have been shocked and scared at her appearance. She represented the siren, the vampire, Melusine, the dangerous, delicious devil that cowards have invented to explain their lack of manliness. Nothing would suit her mood but that we should dine up there in the room, so that she could wear the new kimono and dance for me at dinner.

We ate gray caviare, spoonful by spoonful. Who cared that it was worth three times its weight in gold? It’s no use calling me extravagant; if you want to blame any one, blame the Kaiser. He started the whole fuss; and when I feel like eating gray caviare, I’m going to eat gray caviare.

We wolfed it down. It’s silly to think that things matter.

Lou danced like a delirious demon between the courses. It pleased her to assume the psychology of the Oriental pleasure-making woman. I was her Pasha-with-three-tails, her Samurai warrior, her gorgeous Maharaja, with a scimitar across my knee, ready to cut her head off at the first excuse.

She was the Ouled Nail with tatooed cheeks and chin, with painted antimony eyebrows, and red smeared lips.

I was the masked Toureg, the brigand from the desert, who had captured her.

She played a thousand exquisite crazy parts.

I have very little imagination, my brain runs entirely to analysis; but I revel in playing a part that is devised for me. I don’t know how many times during that one dinner I turned from a civilised husband in Bond Street pyjamas into a raging madman.

It was only after the waiters had left us with the coffee and liqueurs—which we drank like water without being affected—that Lou suddenly threw off her glittering garment.

She stood in the middle of the room, and drank a champagne glass half full of liqueur brandy. The entrancing boldness of her gesture started me screaming inwardly. I jumped up like a crouching tiger that suddenly sees a stag.

Lou was giggling all over with irrepressible excitement. I know "giggling all over " isn’t English; but I can’t express it any other way.

She checked my rush as if she had been playing full back in an International Rugger match.

"Get the scissors," she whispered.

I understood in a second what she meant. It was perfectly true—we had been playing it a bit on the heavy side with that snow. I think it must have been about five sniffs. If you’re curious, all you have to do is to go back and count it up—to get me to ten thousand feet above the poor old Straits of Dover, God bless them! But it was adding up like the price of the nails in the horse’s shoes that my father used to think funny when I was a kid. You know what I mean—Martingale principle and all that sort of thing. We certainly had been punishing the snow.

Five sniffs! it wasn’t much in our young lives after a fortnight.

Gwendolen Otter says:—

"Heart of my heart, in the pale moonlight,
Why should we wait till to-morrow night?"

And that’s really very much the same spirit.

"Heart of my heart, come out of the rain,
Let’s have another go of cocaine.”

I know I don’t count when it comes to poetry, and the distinguished authoress can well afford to smile, if it’s only the society smile, and step quietly over my remains. But I really have got the spirit of the thing.

"Always go on till you have to stop,
Let’s have another sniff, old top!"

No, that’s undignified.

"Carry on! over the top!"

would be better. It’s more dignified and patriotic, and expresses the idea much better. And if you don’t like it, you can inquire elsewhere.

No, I won’t admit that we were reckless. We had substantial resources at our command. There was nothing whatever of the "long firm" about us.

You all know perfectly well how difficult it is to keep matches. Perfectly trivial things, matches— always using them, always easy to replace them, no matter at all for surprise if one should find one’s box empty; and I don’t admit for one moment that I showed any lack of proportion in the matter.

Now don’t bring that moonlight flight to Paris up against me. I admit I was out of gas; but every one knows how one’s occupation with one’s first love affair is liable to cause a temporary derangement of one’s ordinary habits.

What I liked about it was that evidently Gretel was a jolly good sport, whatever people said about her. And she wasn’t an ordinary kind of good old sport either. I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t admit that she is what you may call a true friend in the most early Victorian sense of the word you can imagine.

She was not only a true friend, but a wise friend. She had evidently foreseen that we were going to run short of good old snow.

Now I want all you fellows to take it as read that a man, if he calls himself a man, isn’t the kind of man that wants to stop a honeymoon with a girl in a Japanese kimono of the variety described, to have to put on a lot of beastly clothes and hunt all around Paris for a dope peddler.

Of course, you’ll say at once that I could have rung for the waiter and have him bring me a few cubic kilometres. But that’s simply because you don’t understand the kind of hotel at which we were unfortunate enough to be staying. We had gone there thinking no harm whatever. It was right up near the Etoile, and appeared to the naked eye an absolutely respectable first-class family hotel for the sons of the nobility and gentry.

Now don’t run away with the idea that I want to knock the hotel. It was simply because France had been bled white; but the waiter on our floor was a middle-aged family man and probably read Lamartine and Pascal and Taine and all those appalling old bores when he wasn’t doing shot drill with the caviare. But it isn’t the slightest use my trying to conceal from you the fact that he always wore a slightly shocked expression, especially in the way he cut his beard. It was emphatically not the thing whenever he came into the suite.

I am a bit of a psychologist myself, and I know perfectly well that that man wouldn’t have got us cocaine, not if we’d offered him a Bureau de Tabac for doing it.

Now, of course, I’m not going to ask you to believe that Gretel Webster knew anything about that waiter— beastly old prig! All she had done was to exhibit wise forethought and intelligent friendship. She had experience, no doubt, bushels of it, barrels of it, hogsheads of it, all those measures that I couldn’t learn at school.

She had said to herself, in perfectly general terms, without necessarily contemplating any particular train of events as follows:—

"From one cause or another, those nice kids may find themselves shy on snow at a critical moment in their careers, so it’s up to me to see that they get it.”

While these thoughts were passing through my mind, I had got the manicure scissors, and Lou was snipping the threads of her kimono lining round those places where those fiercely fascinating fingers of hers had felt what we used to call in the hospital a foreign body.

Yes, there was no mistake. Gretel had got our psychology, we had got her psychology, everything was going as well as green peas go with a duck.

Don’t imagine we had to spoil the kimono. It was just a tuck in the quilting. Out comes a dear little white silk bag; and we open that, and there's a heap of snow that I’d much rather see than Mont Blanc.

Well, you know, when you see it, you've got to sniff it. What’s it for? Nobody can answer that. Don’t tell me about "use in operations on the throat.” Lou didn’t need anything done to her throat. She sang like Melba, and she looked like a peach; and she was a Peche-Melba, just like two and two makes four.

You bet we sniffed! And then we danced all round the suite for several years—probably as much as eight or nine minutes by the clock—but what’s the use of talking about clocks when Einstein has proved that time is only another dimension of space? What’s the good of astronomers proving that the earth wiggles round 1000 miles an hour, and wiggles on 1000 miles a minute, if you can’t keep going?

It would be absolutely silly to hang about and get left behind, and very likely find ourselves on the moon, and nobody to talk to but Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, and that crowd.

Now I don't want you to think that that white silk packet was very big.

Lou stooped over the table, her long thin tongue shot out of her mouth like an ant-eater in the Dictionary of National Biography or whatever it is, and twiddled it round in that snow till I nearly went out of my mind.

I laughed like a hyena, to think of what she'd said to me. "Your kiss is bitter with cocaine." That chap Swinburne was always talking about bitter kisses. What did he know, poor old boy?

Until you've got your mouth full of cocaine, you don't know what kissing is. One kiss goes on from phase to phase like one of those novels by Balzac and Zola and Remain Rolland and D. H. Lawrence and those chaps. And you never get tired! You’re on fourth speed all the time, and the engine purrs like a kitten, a big white kitten with the stars in its whiskers. And it’s always different and always the same, and it never stops, and you go insane, and you stay insane, and you probably don’t know what I’m talking about, and I don't care a bit, and I’m awfully sorry for you, and you can find out any minute you like by the simple process of getting a girl like Lou and a lot of cocaine.

What did that fellow Lamus say?

"Stab your demoniac smile to my brain,
Soak me in cognac, kisses, cocaine."

Queer fish, that chap Lamus! But seems to me that's pretty good evidence he knew something about it. Why, of course he did. I saw him take cocaine myself. Deep chap! Bet you a shilling. Knows a lot. That's no reason for suspicion. Don’t see why people run him down the way they do. Don’t see why I got so leary myself. Probably a perfectly decent chap at bottom. He’s got his funny little ways—man’s no worse for that.

Gad, if one started to get worried about funny little ways, what price Lou! Queerest card in the pack, and I love her.

"Give me another sniff off your hand."

Lou laughed like a chime of bells in Moscow on Easter morning. Remember, the Russian Easter is not the same time as our Easter. They slipped up a fortnight one way or the other—I never can remember which— as long as you know what I mean.

She threw the empty silk bag in the air, and caught it in her teeth with a passionate snap, which sent me nearly out of my mind again. I would have loved to be a bird, and have my head snapped off by those white, small, sharp incisors.

Practical girl, my Lady Pendragon! Instead of going off the deep end, she was cutting out another packet, and when it was opened, instead of the birds beginning to sing, she said in shrill excitement, "Look here, Cockie, this isn’t snow.”

I ought to explain that she calls me Cockie in allusion to the fact that my name is Peter.

I came out of my trance. I looked at the stuff with what I imagine to have been a dull, glazed eye. Then my old training came to my rescue.

It was a white powder with a tendency to form little lumps rather like chalk. I rubbed it between my finger and thumb. I smelt it. That told me nothing. I tasted it. That told me nothing, either, because the nerves of my tongue were entirely anaesthetised by the cocaine.

But the investigation was a mere formality. I know now why I made it. It was the mere gesture of the male. I wanted to show off to Lou. I wished to impress upon her my importance as a man of science; and all the time I knew, without being told, what it was.

So did she. The longer I have known Lou, the more impressed I am with the extent and variety of her knowledge.

Oh, Gretel is too sweet,” she chirped. "She guessed we might get tired of coco, 'grateful and comforting’ as it is. So the dear old thing sent us some heroin. And there are still some people who tell us that life is not worth living!"

"Ever try it?" I asked, and delayed the answer with a kiss.

When the worst was over, she told me that she had only taken it once, and then, in a very minute dose, which had had no effect on her as far as she knew.  

"That's all right," I said, from the height of my superior knowledge. "It's all a question of estimating the physiological dose. It's very fine indeed. The stimulation is very much better than that of morphine. One gets the same intense beatific calm, but without the languor. Why, Lou, darling, you’ve read De Quincey and all those people about opium, haven’t you? Opium’s a mixture, you know—something like twenty different alkaloids in it. Laudanum: Coleridge took it, and Clive—all sorts of important people. It's a solution of opium in alcohol. But morphia is the most active and important of the principles in opium. You could take it in all sorts of ways. Injection gives the best results; but it’s rather a nuisance, and there’s always danger of getting dirt in. You have to look out for blood-poisoning all the time. It stimulates the imagination marvellously. It kills all pain and worry like a charm. But at the very moment when you have the most gorgeous ideas, when you build golden palaces of what you are going to do, you have a feeling at the same time that nothing is really worth doing, and that itself gives you a feeling of terrific superiority to everything else in the world. And so, from the objective point of view, it comes to nothing. But heroin does all that morphia does. It’s a derivative of morphia, you know—Diacetyl-Morphine is the technical name. Only instead of bathing you in philosophical inertia, you are as keen as mustard on carrying out your ideas. I’ve never taken any myself. I suppose we might as well start now."

I had a vision of myself as a peacock strutting and preening. Lou, her mouth half open, was gazing at me fascinated with enormous eyes; the pupils dilated by cocaine. It was just the male bird showing off to his mate. I wanted her to adore me for my little scraps of knowledge; the fragments I had picked up in my abandoned education.

Lou is. always practical; and she puts something of the priestess into everything she does. There was a certain solemnity in the way in which she took up the heroin on the blade of a knife and put it on to the back of her hand.

My Knight, she said, with flashing eyes, "your Lady arms you for the fight."

And she held out her fist to my nostrils. I snuffed up the heroin with a sort of ritualistic reverence. I can’t imagine, where the instinct came from. Is it the sparkle of cocaine that excites one to take it greedily, and the dullness of the heroin which makes it seem a much more serious business?

I felt as if I were going through some very important ceremony. When I had finished, Lou measured a dose tor herself. She took it with a deep, grave interest.

I was reminded of the manner of my old professor at U.C.H. when he came to inspect a new case; a case mysterious but evidently critical. The excitement of the cocaine had somehow solidified. Our minds had stopped still, and yet their arrest was as intense as their previous motion.

We found ourselves looking into each other’s eyes with no less ardour than before; but somehow it was a different kind of ardour. It was as if we had been released from the necessity of existence in the ordinary sense of the word. We were both wondering who we were and what we were and what was going to happen; and, at the same time, we had a positive certainty that nothing could possibly happen.

It was a most extraordinary feeling. It was of a kind quite unimaginable by any ordinary mind. I will go a bit further than that. I don’t believe the greatest artist in the world could invent what we felt, and if he could he couldn’t describe it.

I’m trying to describe it myself, and I feel that I’m not making out very well. Come to think of it, the English language has its limitations. When mathematicians and men of science want to exchange thoughts, English isn’t much good. They’ve had to invent new words, new symbols. Look at Einstein’s equations.

I knew a man once that knew James Hinton, who invented the fourth dimension. Pretty bright chap, he was, but Hinton thought, on the most ordinary subjects, at least six times as fast as he did, and when it came to Hinton's explaining himself, he simply couldn’t do it.

That’s the great trouble when a new thinker comes along. They all moan that they can’t understand him; the fact annoys them very much; and ten to one they persecute him and call him an Atheist or a Degenerate or a Pro-German or a Bolshevik, or whatever the favourite term of abuse happens to be at the time.

Wells told us a bit about this in that book of his about giants, and so does Bernard Shaw in his Back to Methuselah. It’s nobody’s fault in particular, but there it is, and you can’t get over it.

And here was I, a perfectly ordinary man, with just about the average allowance of brains, suddenly finding myself cut off from the world, in a class by myself— I felt that I had something perfectly tremendous to tell, but I couldn't tell even myself what it was.

And there was Lou standing right opposite, and I recognised instinctively, by sympathy, that she was just in the same place.

We had no need of communicating with each other by means of articulate speech. We understood perfectly; we expressed the fact in every subtle harmony of glance and gesture.

The world had stopped suddenly still. We were alone in the night and the silence of things. We belonged to eternity in some indefinable way; and that infinite silence blossoms inscrutably into embrace.

The heroin had begun to take hold. We felt ourselves crowned with colossal calm. We were masters; we had budded from nothingness into existence! And now, existence slowly compelled us to action. There was a necessity in our own natures which demanded expression and after the first intense inter-penetration of our individualities, we had reached the resultant of all the forces that composed us.

In one sense, it was that our happiness was so huge that we could not bear it; and we slid imperceptibly into conceding that the ineffable mysteries must be expressed by means of sacramental action.

But all this took place at an immense distance from reality. A concealed chain of interpretation linked the truth with the obvious commonplace fact that this was a good time to go across to Montmartre and make a night of it.

We dressed to go out with, I imagine, the very sort of feeling as a newly made bishop would have the first time he puts on his vestments.

But none of this would have been intelligible to, or suspected by, anybody who had seen us. We laughed and sang and interchanged gay nothings while we dressed.

When we went downstairs, we felt like gods descending upon earth, immeasurably beyond mortality.

With the cocaine, we had noticed that people smiled rather strangely. Our enthusiasm was observed. We even felt a little touch of annoyance at everybody not going at the same pace; but this was perfectly different. The sense of our superiority to mankind was constantly present. We were dignified beyond all words to express. Our own voices sounded far, far off. We were perfectly convinced that the hotel porter realised that he was receiving the orders of Jupiter and Juno to get a taxi.

We never doubted that the chauffeur knew himself to be the charioteer of the sun.

"This is perfectly wonderful stuff," I said to Lou as we passed the Arc de Triomphe. "I don’t know what you meant by saying the stuff didn’t have any special effect upon you. Why, you’re perfectly gorgeous!"

“You bet I am," laughed Lou. "The king’s daughter is all-glorious within; her raiment is of wrought gold, and she thrusts her face out to be kissed, like a comet pushing its way to the sun. Didn’t you know I was the king’s daughter?’’ she smiled, with such seductive sublimity that something in me nearly fainted with delight.

"Hold up, Cockie,’’ she chirped. "It’s all right. You’re it, and I’m it, and I'm your little wife."

I could have torn the upholstery out of the taxi. I felt myself a giant. Gargantua was a pigmy. I felt the need of smashing something into matchwood, and I was all messed up about it because it was Lou that I wanted to smash, and at the same time she was the most precious and delicate piece of porcelain that ever came out of the Ming dynasty or whatever the beastly period is.

The most fragile, exquisite beauty! To touch her was to profane her. I had a sudden nauseating sense of the bestiality of marriage.

I had no idea at the time that this sudden revulsion of feeling was due to a mysterious premonition of the physiological effects of heroin in destroying love. Definitely stimulating things like alcohol, hashish and cocaine give free range to Cupid. Their destructive effect on him is simply due to the reaction. One is in debt, so to speak, because one has outrun the constable.

But what I may call the philosophical types of dope, of which morphine and heroin are the principal examples, are directly inimical to active emotion and emotional action. The normal human feelings are transmuted into what seem on the surface their spiritual equivalents. Ordinary good feeling becomes universal benevolence; a philanthropy which is infinitely tolerant because the moral code has become meaningless for it. A more than Satanic pride swells in one's soul. As Baudelaire says. Hast thou not sovereign contempt, which makes the soul so kind?"

As we drove up the Butte Montmartre towards the Sacre Coeur, we remained completely silent, lost in our calm beatitude. You must understand that we were already excited to the highest point. The effect of the heroin had been to steady us in that state.

Instead of beating passionately up the sky with flaming wings, we were poised aloft in the illimitable ether. We took fresh doses of the dull soft powder now and again. We did so without greed, hurry or even desire. The sensation was of infinite power which could afford infinite deliberation. Will itself seemed to have been abolished. We were going nowhere in particular, simply because it was our nature so to do. Our beatitude became more absolute every moment.

With cocaine, one is indeed master of everything but everything matters intensely.

With heroin, the feeling of mastery increases to such a point that nothing matters at all. There is not even, the disinclination to do what one happens to be doing which keeps the opium smoker inactive.

I he body is left to itself so perfectly that one is not worried by its natural activities.

Again, despite our consciousness of infinity, we maintained, concurrently, a perfect sense of proportion in respect of ordinary matters.
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:58 am


I stopped the taxi in the Place du Tertre. We wanted to walk along the edge of the Butte and let our gaze wander over Paris.

The night was delicious. Nowhere but in Paris does one experience that soft suave hush; the heat is dry, the air is light, it is quite unlike anything one ever gets in England.

A very gentle breeze, to which our fancy attributed the redolence of the South, streamed up from the Seine. Paris itself was a blur of misty blue; the Pantheon and the Eiffel Tower leapt from its folds. They seemed like symbols of the history of mankind; the noble, solid past and the mechanical efficient future.

I leant upon the parapet entranced. Lou's arm was around my neck. We were so still that I could feel her pulses softly beating.

"Great Scott, Pendragon!"

For all its suggestion of surprise, the voice was low and winsome. I looked around.

Had I been asked, I should have said, no doubt, that I should have resented any disturbance; and here was a sudden, violent, unpleasant disturbance; and it did not disturb me. There was a somewhat tentative smile on the face of the man who had spoken. I recognised him instantly, though I had not seen him since we were at school together. The man's name was Elgin Feccles. He had been in the mathematical sixth when I was in the lower school.

In my third term he had become head prefect; he had won a scholarship at Oxford—one of the best things going. Then, without a moment's warning, he had disappeared from the school. Very few people knew why, and those who did pretended not to. But he never went to Oxford.

I had only heard of the man once since. It was in the club. His name came up in connection with some vague gossip about some crooked financial affair. I had it in my mind, vaguely enough, that that must have had something to do with the trouble at school. He was not the sort of boy to be expelled for any of the ordinary reasons. It was certainly something to do with the subtlety of his intellect. To tell you the truth, he had been a sort of hero of mine at school. He possessed all the qualities I most admired—and lacked—in their fullest expansion.

I had known him very slightly; but his disappearance had been a great shock. It had stuck in my mind when many more important things had left no trace.

He had hardly changed from when I had last seen him. Of middle height, he had a long and rather narrow face. There was a touch of the ecclesiastic in his expression. His eyes were small and gray; he had a trick of blinking. The nose was long and beaked like Wellington's; the mouth was thin and tense; the skin was fresh and rosy. He had not developed even the tiniest wrinkle.

He kept the old uneasy nervous movement which had been so singular in him as a boy. One would have said that he was constantly on the alert, expecting something to happen, and yet the last thing that any one could have said about him was that he was ill at ease. He possessed superb confidence.

Before I had finished recognising him, he had shaken hands with me^ and was prattling about the old days.

"I hear you’re Sir Peter now, by the way," he said. "Good for you. I always picked you for a winner."

"I think I've met you, interrupted Lou. "Surely, it's Mr. Feccles."

"Oh, yes, I remember you quite well. Miss Laleham, isn't it? "

"Please let’s forget the past,” smiled Lou, taking my arm.

I don’t know why I should have felt embarrassed at explaining that we were married.

Feccles rattled off a string of congratulations.

”May I introduce Mademoiselle Haidee Lamoureux?"

The girl beside him smiled and bowed.

Haidee Lamoureux was a brilliant brunette with a flashing smile and eyes with pupils like pin-points. She was a mass of charming contradictions. The nose and mouth suggested more than a trace of Semitic blood, but the wedge-shaped contour of the face betokened some very opposite strain. Her cheeks were hollow, and crows' feet marred the corners of her eyes. Dark purple rims suggested sensual indulgence pushed to the point of weariness. Though her hair was luxuriant, the eyebrow's were almost non-existent. She had pencilled fine black arches above them. She was heavily and clumsily painted. She wore a loose and rather daring evening dress of blue with silver sequins, and a yellow sash spotted with black. Over this she had thrown a cloak of black lace garnished with vermilion tassels. Her hands were deathly thin. There w r as something obscene in the crookedness of her fingers, which were covered with enormous rings of sapphires and diamonds.

Her manner was one of vivid languor. It seemed as if she always had to be startled into action, and that the instant the first stimulus had passed she relapsed into her own deep thoughts.

Her cordiality was an obvious affectation; but both Lou and myself, as we shook hands, were aware of a subtle and mysterious sympathy which left behind it a stain of inexpressible evil.

I also felt sure that Feccles understood this unspoken communion, and that for some reason or other it pleased him immensely. His manner changed to one of peculiarly insinuating deference, and I felt that he was somehow taking command of the party when he said:—

"May I venture to suggest that you and Lady Pen- dragon take supper with us at the Petit Savoyard?"

Haidee slipped her arm into mine, and Lou led the way with Feccles.

"We were going there ourselves," she told him, "and it will be perfectly delightful to be with friends! I see you're quite an old friend of my husband’s."

He began to tell her of the old school. As if by accident, he gave an account of the circumstances which had led to his leaving.

"My old man was in the city, you know," I heard mm say, and he dropped his pile ‘somewhere in Lombard Street’ " (he gave a false little laugh), "where he couldn’t pick it up, so that was the end of my academic career. He persuaded old Rosenbaum, the banker, that I had a certain talent for finance, and got me a job as private secretary. I really did take to it like a duck to water, and things have gone very well for me ever since. But London isn’t the place for men with real ambition. It doesn’t afford the scope. It’s either Paris or New York for yours sincerely, Elgin Feccles."

I don t know why I didn’t believe a word of the tale; but I didn’t. The heroin was working beautifully. I hadn't the slightest inclination to talk to Haidee In the same way she took no notice of me. She never uttered a word.

Lou was in the same condition. She was apparently listening to what Feccles was saying; but she made no remark, and preserved a total detachment The whole scene had not taken three minutes. We reached the Petit Savoyard and took our seats.

The patron appeared to know our friends very well He welcomed them with even more than the usual French fussiness. We sat down by the window.

The restaurant overhangs the steep slopes of the Montmartre like an eyrie. We ordered supper, Feccles with bright intelligence, the rest of us with utter listlessness. I looked at Lou across the table. I had never seen the woman before in my life. She meant nothing whatever to me. I felt a sudden urgent desire to drink a great deal of water. I couldn't trouble to pour myself out a glass. I couldn’t trouble to call the waiter, but I think I must have said the word" water,” for Haidee filled my goblet. A smile wriggled across her face. It was the first sign of life she had given. Even the shaking hands had been in the nature of a mechanical reflex rather than of a voluntary action. There was something sinister and disquieting in her gesture. It was as if she had the after-taste in her mouth of some abominable bitterness.

I looked across at Lou. I saw she had changed colour. She looked dreadfully ill. It mattered nothing to me. I had a little amusing cycle of thoughts on the subject. I remembered that I loved her passionately; at the same time she happened not to exist. My indifference was a source of what I can only call diabolical beatitude.

It occurred to me as a sort of joke that she might have poisoned herself. I was certainly feeling very unwell. That didn’t disturb me either.

The waiter brought a bowl of mussels. We ate them dreamily. It was part of the day's work. We enjoyed them because they were enjoyable; but nothing mattered, not even enjoyment. It struck me as strange that Haidee was simply pretending to eat, but I attributed this to preoccupation.

I felt very much better. Feccles talked easily and lightly about various matters of no importance. Nobody took any notice. He did not appear to observe, for his own part, any lack of politeness.

I certainly was feeling tired. I thought the Chambertin would pick me up, and swallowed a couple of glasses.

Lou kept on looking up at me with a sort of anxiety as if she wanted advice of some kind and didn’t know how to ask for it. It was rather amusing.

We started the entree. Lou got suddenly up from her seat. Feccles, with pretended alarm on his face, followed her hastily. I saw the waiter had hold of her other arm. It was really very amusing. That’s always the way with girls—they never know what's enough.

And then I realised with startling suddenness that the case was not confined to the frailer sex. I got out just in time.

If I pass over in silence the events of the next hour, it is not because of the paucity of incident. At its conclusion we were seated once more at the table.

We took little sips of very old Armagnac; it pulled us together. But all the virtue had gone out of us; we might have been convalescents from some very long and wasting illness.

"There's nothing to be alarmed about," said Feccles, with his curious little laugh. "A trifling indiscretion."

I winced at the word. It took me back to King Lamus. I hated that fellow more than ever. He had begun to obsess me. Confound him!

Lou had confided the whole story to our host, who admitted that he was familiar with these matters.

"You see, my dear Sir Peter," he said, " you can't take H. like you can C., and when you mix your drinks there's the devil to pay. It's like everything else in life; you’ve got to find out your limit. It's very dangerous to move about when you're working H. or M., and it's almost certain disaster to eat."

I must admit I felt an awful fool. After all, I had studied medicine pretty seriously; and this was the second time that a layman had read me the Riot Act.

But Lou nodded cheerfully enough. The brandy had brought back the colour in her cheeks.

"Yes," she said, "I’d heard that all before, but you know it’s one thing to hear a thing and another to go through it yourself."

"Experience is the only teacher," admitted Feccles. "All these things are perfectly all right, but the main thing is to go slow at first, and give yourself a chance to learn the ropes.”

All this time Haidee had been sitting there like a statue. She exhaled a very curious atmosphere. There was a certain fascination in her complete lack of fascination.

Please excuse this paradoxical way of putting it. I mean that she had all the qualities which normally attract. She had the remains of an astonishing, if bizarre, beauty. She had obviously a vast wealth of experience. She possessed a quiet intensity which should have made her irresistible; and yet she was absolutely devoid of what we call magnetism. It isn't a scientific word—so much the worse for science. It describes a fact in nature, and one of the most important facts in practical affairs. Everything of human interest, from music-hall turns to empires, is run on magnetism and very little else. And science ignores it because it can't be measured by mechanical instruments!

The whole of the woman's vitality was directed to some secret interior shrine of her own soul.

Now she began to speak for the first time. The only subject that interested her in this wide universe was heroin. Her voice was monotonous.

Lou told me later that it reminded her of a dirge droned by Tibetan monks far off across implacable snow.

"It’s the only thing there is," she said, in a tone of extraordinary ecstatic detachment. One could divine an infinite unholy joy derived from its own sadness. It was as if she took a morbid pleasure in being something melancholy, something monstrous; there was, in fact, a kind of martyred majesty in her mood.

"You mustn’t expect to get the result at once," she went on. "You have to be born into it, married with it, and dead from it before you understand it. Different people are different. But it always takes some months at least before you get rid of that stupid nuisance—life. As long as you have animal passions, you are an animal. How disgusting it is to think of eating and loving and all those appetites, like cattle! Breathing itself would be beastly if one knew one were doing it. How intolerable life would be to people of even mediocre refinement if they were always acutely conscious of the process of digestion.’’

She gave a little shiver.

"You’ve read the Mystics, Sir Peter?" interrupted Feccles.

"I’m afraid not, my dear man,” I replied. "Fact is, I haven’t read anything much unless I had to.”

”I went into it rather for a couple of years,” he returned, and then stopped short and flushed.

The thought had apparently called up some very unpleasant memories. He tried to cover his confusion by volubility, and began an elaborate exposition of the tenets of St. Teresa, Miguel de Molinos, and several others celebrated in that line.

"The main point, you see,” he recapitulated finally, "is the theory that everything human in us is before ail things an obstacle in the way of holiness. That is the secret of the saints, that they renounce everything for one thing which they call the divine purity. It is not simply those things which we ordinarily call sins or vices—those are merely the elementary forms of iniquity—exuberant grossness. The real difficulty hardly begins till things of that sort are dismissed for ever. On the road to saintship, every bodily or mental manifestation is in itself a sin, even when it is something which ordinary piety would class as a virtue. Haidee here has got the same idea.”

She nodded serenely.

”I had no idea,” she said," that those people had got so much sense. I’ve always thought of them as tangled up with religious ideas. I understand now. Yes, it’s the life of holiness, if you have to go to the trouble of putting it in the terms of morality, as I suppose you English people have to. I feel that contact of any sort, even with myself, contaminates me. I was the chief of sinners in my time, in the English sense of the word. Now I’ve forgotten what love means, except for a faint sense of nausea when it comes under my notice. I hardly eat at all—it’s only brutes that want to wallow in action that need three meals a day. I hardly ever talk—words seem such waste, and they are none of them true. No one has yet invented a language from my point of view. Human life or heroin life? I’ve tried them both; and I don’t regret having chosen as I did.”

I said something about heroin shortening life. A wan smile flickered on her hollow cheeks. There was something appalling in its wintry splendour. It silenced us.

She looked down at her hands. I noticed for the first time with extreme surprise that they were extraordinarily dirty. She explained her smile.

”Of course, if you count time by years, you’re very likely right. But what have the calculations of astronomers to do with the life of the soul? Before I started heroin, year followed year, and nothing worth while happened. It was like a child scribbling in a ledger. Now that I’ve got into the heroin life, a minute or an hour—I don’t know which and I don’t care— contains more real life than any five years’ period in my unregenerate days. You talk of death. Wiry shouldn’t you? It’s perfectly all right for you. You animals have got to die, and you know it. But I am very far from sure that I shall ever die; and I’m as indifferent to the idea as I am to any other of your monkey ideas.”

She relapsed into silence, leaned back and closed her eyes once more.

I make no claim to be a philosopher of any kind; but it was quite evident to the most ordinary common sense that her position was unassailable if any one chose to take it. As G. K. Chesterton says, "You cannot argue with the choice of the soul.”

It has often been argued, in fact, that mankind lost the happiness characteristic of his fellow-animals when he acquired self-consciousness. This is in fact the meaning of the legend of "The Fall.” We have become as gods, knowing good and evil, and the price is that we live by labour, and—" In his eves foreknowledge of death.”

Feccles caught my thought. He quoted with slow emphasis: --

He weaves and is clothed with derision
Sows and he shall not reap.
His life is a watch or a vision,
Between a sleep and a sleep!”

The thought of the great Victorian seemed to chill him He threw off his depression, lighting a cigarette and strong pull at his brandy.

"Haidee, he said, with assumed lightness "lives in open sin with a person named Baruch de Espinosa. I think it's Schopenhauer who calls him 'Der Gottbetrunkene Mann.'"

"The God-intoxicated man,” murmured Lou faintly shooting a sleepy glance at Haidee from beneath her heavy blue-veined eyelids.

"Yes," went on Feccles. "She always carries about one of his books. She goes to sleep on his words; and when her eyes open, they fall upon the page."

He tapped the table as he spoke. His quick intuition had understood that this strange incident was disquieting to us. He wriggled his thumb and forefinger tin he air towards the waiter. The man interpreted the gesture as a request for the bill, and went off to get it.

"Let me drive you and Sir Peter back to your hotel," said our host to Lou. "You've had a rather rough time. I prescribe a good night’s rest. You’ll find a dose of H. a very useful pick-me-up in the morning, but for Heaven s sake, don’t flog a willing horse. Just the minutest sniff and then coke up gradually when you begin to feel like getting up. By lunch time you'll be feeling like a couple of two-year-olds.”

He paid the bill, and we went out. As luck would have it a taxi had just discharged a party at the door. So we drove home without any trouble.

Lou and I both felt absolutely washed out. She lay upon my breast and held my hand. I felt my strength come back to me when it was called on to support her weakness. And our love grew up anew out of that waste of windy darkness. I felt myself completely purged of all passion; and in that lustration we were baptised anew and christened with the name of Love.

But although nature had done her best to get rid of the excess of the poison we had taken, there remained a residual effect. We had arrived at the hotel very weary, though as a matter of course we had insisted on Feccles and Haidee coming upstairs for a final drink. But we could hardly keep our eyes open; and as soon as they were gone we made all possible haste to get between the sheets of the twin beds.

I need hardly tell my married friends that on previous nights the process of going to bed had been a very elaborate ritual. But on this occasion it was a mere attempt to break the record for speed. Within five minutes from the departure of Feccles and Haidee the lights were out.

I had imagined that I should drop off to sleep instantly. In fact, it took me some time to realise that I had not done so. I was in an anaesthetic condition which is hard to distinguish from dreaming. In fact, if one started to lay down definitions and explained the differences, the further one got the more obscure would the controversy become.

But my eyes were certainly wide open; and I was lying on my back, whereas I can never sleep except on my right side, or else, strangely enough, in a sitting position. And the thoughts began to make themselves more conscious as I lay.

You know how thoughts fade out imperceptibly as one goes to sleep. Well, here they were, fading in.

I found myself practically deprived of volition on the physical plane. It was as if it had become impossible for me to wish to move or to speak. I was bathed m an ocean of exceeding calm. My mind was very active, but only so within peculiar limits. I did not seem to be directing the current of my thoughts.

In an ordinary way that fact would have annoyed me intensely. But now it merely made me curious. 1 tried, as an experiment, to fix my mind on something definite. I was technically able to do so, but at the same time I was aware that I considered the effort not worth making. I noticed, too, that my thoughts were uniformly pleasant.

Curiosity impelled me to fix my mind on ideas which are normally the source of irritation and worry. There was no difficulty in doing so, but the bitterness had disappeared.

I went over incidents in the past which I had almost forgotten by virtue of that singular mental process which protects the mind from annoyance.

I discovered that this loss of memory was apparent and not real. I recollected every detail with the most minute exactitude. But the most vexatious and humiliating items meant nothing to me any more. I took the same pleasure in recalling them as one has in reading a melancholy tale. I might almost go so far as to say that the unpleasant incidents were preferable to the others.

The reason is, I think, that they leave a deeper mark on the mind. Our souls have invented our minds so to speak, with the object of registering conscious experiences, and therefore the more deeply an experience is felt the better our minds are carrying out the intention of our souls.

"Forsitan haec olim meminisse juvabit,” says AEneas in Virgil when recounting his hardships. (Quaint, by the way! I haven’t thought of a Latin tag a dozen times since I left school. Drugs, like old age, strip off one's recent memories, and leave bare one's forgotten ideas.)

The most deeply seated instinct in us is our craving for experience. And that is why the efforts of the Utopians to make life a pleasant routine always arouse subconscious revolt in the spirit of man.

It was the progressive prosperity of the Victorian age that caused the Great War. It was the reaction of the schoolboy against the abolition of adventure.

This curious condition of mind possessed an eternal quality; the stream of thoughts flowed through my brain like a vast irresistible river. I felt that nothing could ever stop it, or even change the current in any important respect. My consciousness had something of the quality of a fixed star proceeding through space by right of its eternal destiny. And the stream carried me on from one set of thoughts to another, slowly and without stress; it was like a hushed symphony. It included all possible memories, changing imperceptibly from one to another without the faintest hint of jarring.

I was aware of the flight of time, because a church clock struck somewhere far off at immense incalculable intervals. I knew, therefore, that I was making a white night of it. I was aware of dawn through the open French windows on the balcony.

Ages, long ages, later, there was a chime of bells announcing early Mass; and gradually my thought became more slow, more dim; the active pleasure of thinking became passive. Little by little the shadows crept across my reverie, and then I knew no more.
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Thu Sep 05, 2019 2:00 am


I woke to find Lou fully dressed. She was sitting on the edge of my bed. She had taken hold of my hand, and her face was bending over mine like a pallid flower. She saw that I was awake, and her mouth descended upon mine with exquisite tenderness. Her lips were soft and firm; their kiss revived me into life.

She was extraordinarily pale, and her gestures were limp and languid. I realised that I was utterly exhausted.

"I couldn’t sleep at all," she said, after what seemed a very long time in which I tried to pull myself together. My mind went running on like mad—I've had a perfectly ripping time—perfectly top-hole! I simply couldn't get up till I remembered what that man Feccles said about a hair of the dog. So I rolled out of bed and crawled across to the H. and took one little sniff, and sat on the floor till it worked. It's great stuff when you know the ropes. It picked me up in a minute. So I had a bath, and got these things on. I m still a bit all in. You know we did overdo it didn’t we, Cockie?"

"You bet," I said feebly. "I’m glad I’ve got a nurse.”

Right-o,” she said, with a queer grin." It’s time for your majesty’s medicine.”

She went over to the bureau, and brought me a dose of heroin. The effect was surprising! I had felt as if I couldn't move a muscle, as if all the springs of my nerves had given way. Yet, in two minutes, one small sniff restored me to complete activity.

There was in this, however, hardly any element of joy. I was back to my normal self, but not to what you might call good form. I was perfectly able to do anything required, but the idea of doing it didn’t appeal. I thought a bath and a shower would put me right; and I certainly felt a very different man by the time I had got my clothes on.

When I came back into the sitting-room, I found Lou dancing daintily round the table. She went for me like a bull at a gate; swept me away to the couch and knelt at my side as I lay, while she overwhelmed me with passionate kisses.

She divined that I was not in any condition to respond.

“You still need your nurse,” she laughed merrily, with sparkling eyes and flashing teeth and nostrils twitching with excitement. I saw on the tip of one delicious little curling hair a crystal glimmer that I knew.

She had been out in the snowstorm!

My cunning twisted smile told her that I was wise to the game.

"Yes,” she said excitedly, "I see how it’s done now. You pull yourself together with H. and then you start the buzz-wagon with C. Come along, put in the clutch.”

Her hand was trembling with excitement. But on the back of it there shimmered a tiny heap of glistening snow.

I sniffed it with suppressed ecstasy. I knew that it was only a matter of seconds before I caught the contagion of her crazy and sublime intoxication.

Who was it that said you had only to put salt on the tail of a bird, and then you could catch it? Probably that fellow thought that he knew all about it, but he got the whole thing wrong. What you have to do is to get snow up your own nose, and then you can catch the bird all right.

What did Maeterlinck know about that silly old Blue Bird?

Happiness lies within one’s self, and the way to dig it out is cocaine.

But don't you go and forget what I hope you won’t mind my calling ordinary prudence. Use a little common sense, use precaution, exercise good judgment However hungry you may happen to be, you don’t want to eat a dozen oxen en brochette. Natura non facit saltum.

It's only a question of applying knowledge in a reasonable manner. We had found out how to work the machine, and there was no reason in the world why we shouldn’t fly from here to Kalamazoo.

So I took three quite small sniffs at reasonable intervals, and I was on the job once more.

I chased Lou around the suite; and I dare say we aid upset a good deal of the furniture, but that doesn’t matter, for we haven’t got to pick it up.

The important thing was that I caught Lou; and by-and-by we found ourselves completely out of breath; and then, confound it, just when I wanted a quiet pipe before lunch, the telephone rang, and the porter wanted to know if we were at home to Mr. Elgin Feccles Well, I told you before that I didn’t care for the man so much as that. As Stevenson observes, if he were the only tie that bound one to home, I think most of us would vote for foreign travel. But he’d played the game pretty straight last night; and hang it, one couldn't do less than invite the fellow to lunch He might have a few more tips about the technique of this business anyhow. I'm not one of those cocksure fellows that imagine when they have one little scrap of knowledge, that they have drained the fount of wisdom dry.

So I said, Ask him to be good enough to come up by all means."

Lou flew to the other room to fix her hair and her face and all those things that women always seem to be having to fix, and up comes Mr. Feccles with the most perfect manner that I have ever observed in any human being, and a string of kind inquiries and apologies on the tip of his tongue.

He said he wouldn’t have bothered us by calling at all so soon after the case of indiscretion, only he felt sure he had left his cigarette case with us, and he valued it very much because it had been given him by his Aunt Sophronia.

Well, you know, there it was, right on the table, or rather, under the table, because the table was on top of it.

When we got the table on its legs again, we saw quite plainly that the cigarette case had been under it, and therefore must have been on top of it before it was overturned.

Feccles laughed heartily at the humorous character of the incident. I suppose it was funny in a sort of way. On the other hand, I don’t think it was quite the thing to call attention to. However, I suppose the fellow had to have his cigarette case, and after all, when you do find a table upside down, it’s not much good pretending that you don’t notice it. And very likely, on the whole, the best way to pass over the incident pleasantly is to turn it into a kind of joke.

And I must say that Feccles showed the tact of a perfect gentleman in avoiding any direct allusion to the circumstances that caused the circumstances that were responsible for the circumstances that gave rise to the circumstances which it was so difficult to overlook.

Well, you know, this man Feccles had been a perfect dear the night before. He had seen Lou through the worst of the business with the utmost good taste at the moment when her natural protector, myself, was physically unable to apply the necessary what-you-may-call-it.

Well, of course, the way things were at the moment, I wished Feccles in the place that modern Christianity has decided to forget. But the least I could do was to ask him to lunch. But before I had time to put this generous impulse into words, Lou sailed in like an angel descending from heaven.

She went straight up to Feccles, and she positively kissed him before my eyes, and begged him to stay and have lunch. She positively took the words out of my mouth.

But I must admit that I wanted to be alone with Lou not only then, but for ever; and I was most consumedly glad when I heard Feccles say: --

"Why, really, that’s too kind of you, Lady Pendragon, and I hope you repeat the invitation some other day, but I've got to lunch with two birds from the Bourse. We have a tremendous deal coming off. Sir Peter's got more money already than he knows what to do with, otherwise I'd be only too glad to let him in on the rez-de-chaussee.”

Well, you know that’s all right about my being a millionaire, and all that. It’s one thing being a single man running round London perfectly happy with a shilling cigar and a stall at the Victoria Palace, and it's quite another being on a honeymoon with a girl whom her most intimate friends call "Unlimited Lou.”

Feccles did not know that I had spent more than a third of my annual income in a fortnight. But of course, I couldn't tell the man how I was situated. We Pendragons are a pretty proud lot, especially since Sir Thomas Malory gave us that write-up in the time of Henry VIII. We’ve always been a lit above ourselves. That s where my poor old dad went gaga.

However the only thing to do was to beg the man to find a date in the near future to fight Paillard to a finish.

I think Paillard is the best restaurant in Paris, don’t you?

So out comes a little pocket-book, and there is Mr. Feccles biting his pencil between his lips, and then cocking his head, first on one side and then on the other.

"Confound Paris!" he said at last. "A man gets simply swept away by social engagements. I haven’t a thing for a week.”

And just then the telephone rang. Lou did a two-step across to the instrument.

"Oh, it’s for you, Mr. Feccles,” she said. "However did any one know you were here?"

He gave his funny little laugh.

"It’s just what I've been telling you, Lady Pendragon,” he said, as he walked over to the receiver. "I'm a very much wanted man. Every one seems to want me but the police,” he giggled, "and they may get on to me any minute now, the Lord knows.”

He became suddenly serious as he talked on the phone.

“Oh, yes,” he said to the caller. "Very annoying indeed. What’s that? Four o’clock? All right, I’ll be round.”

He hung up. He came back to us radiant, holding out his hands.

"My dear friends,” he said. "This is a special providence—nothing less. The lunch is off. If your invitation holds, I shall be the happiest man in Europe.”

Well, of course, there couldn’t be two men like that in Europe. I was infernally bored. But there was nothing to do except to express the wildest joy.

It didn’t add to my pleasure to see that Lou was really pleased. She broke out into a swift sonata.

"Let’s lunch up here,” she said. "It’s more intime. I hate feeding in public. I want to dance between the courses.”

She rang down for the head-waiter while I gave Feccles a cigarette, lamenting my lack of forethought in not having insinuated a charge of trinitro-toluol amid the tobacco.

Lou had a passionate controversy with the head waiter. She won on points at the end of the sixth round. Half an hour later we started the gray caviare.

I don’t know why every one has to rejoice on gray caviare; but it’s no use trying to interfere with the course of civilisation. I ate it; and if I were in similar circumstances to-morrow, I would do it again.

In the immortal words of Browning, " You lied. D'Ormea, I do not repent.” Beside which, this was no ordinary lunch. It was big with the future.

It was an unqualified success from the start. We were all in our best form. Feccles talked freely and irresponsibly with the lightness of champagne. He talked about himself and his amazing luck in financial matters; but he never stayed long enough on any subject to make a definite impression or, you might say, to allow of a reply. He interspersed his remarks with the liveliest anecdotes, and apologised towards the end of the meal for having been preoccupied with the deal which he had on at the moment.

"I'm afraid it’s literally obsessing me,” he said. "But you know it makes, or rather will make, a big difference to my prospects. Unfortunately, I’m not a millionaire like you, old thing. I’ve been doing very well, but somehow, it’s gone as easy as it came. But I've scraped up twenty thousand of the best to buy an eighth share in this oil proposition that I told you about.”

"No," put in Lou," you didn’t tell us what it was.”

"1 made sure I had,” he laughed back; "I’ve got it fairly on the brain, especially since that lunch was put off. I need another five thou’, you see, and I was going to dig it out of those birds. The only difficulty was that I can’t exactly borrow it on my face, can I? and I don’t want to let those birds into ‘the know’— they'd simply snap the whole thing up for themselves. By the way, that reminds me of a very good thing I heard of the other day-” and he rattled off an amusing story which had no connection with what he had been saying before.

I didn't listen to what it was. My brain was working very fast with the champagne on top of the other things. His talk had brought to my mind that I should have to wire for another thousand to-day or to-morrow. I was aware of a violent subconscious irritation. The man’s talk had dealt so airily with millions that I couldn’t help recognising that I was a very poor man indeed, by modern standards. Five or six thousand a year, and perhaps another fifteen hundred from the rents of the Barley Grange estate, and that infernal income-tax and so on—I was really little better than a pauper, and there was Lou to be considered.

I had always thought jewellery vulgar; a signet ring and a tie pin for a man—for a woman, a few trinkets, very quiet, in good taste—that was the limit.

But Lou was absolutely different. She could wear any amount of the stuff and carry it off superbly. I had bought her a pair of ear-rings in Cartier’s yesterday afternoon—three diamonds in a string, the pendant being a wonderful pear-shaped blue-white, and as she ate, and drank, and talked, they waggled behind the angle of her jaw in the most deliciously fascinating way, and it didn’t vulgarise her at all.

I realised that, as a married man, it was my duty to buy her that string of pearls with the big black pearl as a pendant, and there was that cabochon emerald ring! How madly that would go with her hair. And then, of course, when we got back to England, she must be presented at Court, not but what we Pendragons don’t feel it a little humiliating—that meant a tiara, of course.

And then you know what dressmakers are!

There’s simply no end to the things that a civilised man has to have when he’s married! And here was I, to all intents and purposes, a case for out-door relief.

I came out of my reverie with a start. My mind was made up.

Lou was laughing hysterically at some story of a blind man and a gimlet.

"Look here, Feccles,” I said. "I wish you’d tell me a little more about this oil business. To tell you the truth, I’m not the rich man you seem to think-"

"My dear fellow—” said Feccles.

In fact, I assure you,” said I. "Of course, it was all very well when I was a bachelor. Simple tastes, you know. But this little lady makes all the dif'."

"Why, certainly,” replied Feccles, very seriously. ”Yes, I see that perfectly. In fact, if I may say so, it's really a duty to yourself and your heirs, to put yourself on Easy Street. But money’s been frightfully tight since the war, as you know. What with the collapse in the foreign exchanges, the decrease in the purchasing power of money, and the world’s gold all locked up in Washington, things are pretty awkward. But then, you know, it’s just that sort of situation which provides opportunities to a man with real brains. Victorian prosperity made us all rich without our knowing anything about it or doing anything for it.”

"Yes,” I admitted, "the gilt edges seem to have come off the gingerbread securities.”

"Well, look here, Pendragon,” he said, pulling his chair half round so as to face me squarely, and making his points by tapping his Corona on a plate, "the future lies with just two things as far as big money’s concerned. One s oil, and the other is cotton. Now, I don’t know a thing about cotton, but I’ll give any sperm whale that ever blew four thousand points in twelve thousand up about oil, and you can lay your shirt on the challenger.”

Yes, I see that, I replied brightly. "Of course, I don t know the first thing about finance; but what you say is absolutely common sense. And I’ve got a sort of flair for these things, I believe.”

"Why, it’s very curious you should say that,” returned Feccles, as in great surprise. "I was thinking the same thing myself. We know you’ve got pluck, and that s the first essential in any game. And making money is the greatest game there is. But beside that, I've got a hunch that you’ve got the right kind of brain for this business. You’re as shrewd as they make 'em, and you’ve got a good imagination. I don’t mean the wild fancies that you find in a crank, but a good, wholesome, sound imagination.”

In the ordinary way, I should have been embarrassed by so direct a compliment from a man who was so evidently in the know, a man who was holding his own with the brightest minds all over the world. But in my present mood I took it as perfectly natural.

Lou laughed in my ear. "That’s right, Cockie, dear,” she chirruped. "This is where you go right in and win. I’ve really got to have those pearls, you know.”

"She's quite right,” agreed Feccles. "When you’re through with this honeymoon, come round with me, and we’ll take our coats off and get into the game for all we’re worth and a bit more, and when we come out, well have J. D. Rockefeller as flat as a pancake.”  

"Well,” said I, "no time like the present. I don’t want to butt in, but if I could be any use to you about this deal of yours-”

Feccles shook his head.

“No,” he said, "this isn't the sort of thing at all. I’m putting my last bob into the deal; but it’s a risky business at the best, and I wouldn’t take a chance on your dropping five thou’ on the very first bet. Of course, it is rather a good thing if it comes off-”

"Let’s have the details, dear boy,” I said, trying to feel like a business man bred in the bone.

"The thing itself's simple enough,” said Feccles. "It's just a case of taking up an option on some wells at a place called Sitka. They used to be all right before the war—but in my opinion they were never properly developed. They haven’t been worked ever since, and it might take all sorts of money to put them on the map again. But that’s the smaller point. What I and my friends know and nobody else has got on to is that if we apply the Feldenberg process to the particular kind of oil that Sitka yields, we’ve got practically a world’s monopoly of the highest class oil that exists. I needn’t tell you that we can sell it at our own price.”

I saw in a flash the magnificent possibilities of the plan.

"Of course, I needn’t tell you to keep it as dark as a wolf’s mouth,” continued Feccles. "If this got out, every financier in Paris would buy the thing over our heads. I wouldn’t have mentioned it to you at all except for two things. I know you’re on the square —that goes without saying; but the real point is this, that I told you I rather believe in the Occult.”

"Oh, yes,” cried Lou, "then, of course, you know King Lamus.”

Feccles started as if he had received a blow in the face. For a moment he was completely out of countenance. It seemed as if he were going to say several things, and decided not to. But his face was black as thunder. It was impossible to mistake the meaning of the situation.

I turned to Lou with what I suppose was rather a nasty little laugh.

Our friend s reputation, I said, appears to have reached Mr. Feccles.”

"Well,” said Feccles, recovering himself with a marked effort, I rather make a point of not saying anything against people, but as a matter of fact, it is a bit on the thick side. You seem to know all about it so there’s no harm in my saying the man’s an unspeakable scoundrel.”

All my hatred and jealousy surged up from the subconscious. I felt that if Lamus had been there I would have shot him like a dog on sight.

My old school fellow skated away from the obnoxious topic.

"You didn’t let me finish,” he complained. "I was going to say I have no particular talent for finance and that sort of thing in the ordinary way, but I have an intuition that never lets me down—like the demon of Socrates, you remember, eh?"

I nodded. I had some faint recollection of Plato.

"Well,” said Feccles, tapping his cigar, with the air of a Worshipful Master calling the Lodge to order, "I said to myself when I met you last night, ‘it’s better to be born lucky than rich, and there’s a man who was born lucky/"

It was perfectly true. I had never been able to do anything of my own abilities, and after all I had tumbled into a reasonably good fortune.

"You’ve got the touch, Pen,” he said, with animation. "Any time you’re out of a job, I’ll give you ten thousand a year as a mascot.”

Lou and I were both intensely excited. We could hardly find the patience to listen to the details of our friend’s plan. The figures were convincing; but the effect was simply to dazzle us. We had never dreamed of wealth on this scale.

I got the vision for the first time in my life of the power that wealth confers, and I realised equally for the first time how vast were my real ambitions.

The man was right, too, clearly enough, about my being lucky. My luck in the war had been prodigious. Then there was this inheritance, and Lou on the top of that; and here I'd met old Feccles by a piece of absolute chance, and there was this brilliant investment. That was the word—he was careful to point out that it was not a speculation, strictly speaking—absolutely waiting for me.

We were so overjoyed that we could hardly grasp the practical details. The amount required was four thousand nine hundred and fifty pounds.

Of course, there was no difficulty in getting a trifle like that, but as I told Feccles, it would mean my selling out some beastly stock or something which might take two or three days. There was no time to lose; because the option would lapse if it weren’t taken up within the week, and it was now Wednesday.

However, Feccles helped me to draft a wire to Wolfe to explain the urgency, and Feccles was to call on Saturday at nine o’clock with the papers.

Meanwhile, of course, he wouldn’t let me down, but at the same time he couldn’t risk pulling off the coup of his life in case there was a hitch, so he would get a move on and see if he couldn’t raise five thousand on his own somewhere else, in which case he’d let me have some of his own stock anyway. He wanted me in the deal if it was only for a sovereign, simply because of my luck.

So off he ran in a great hurry. Lou and I got a car and spent the afternoon in the Bois du Boulogne. It seemed as if the cocaine had taken hold of us with new force, or else it was the addition of the heroin.

We were living at the same terrific speed as on that first wild night. The intensity was even more extraordinary; but we were not being carried away by it.

In one sense, each hour lasted a fraction of a second, and yet, in another sense, every second lasted a lifetime. We were able to appreciate the minutest details of life to the full.

I want to explain this very thoroughly.

"William the Conqueror, 1066, William Rufus, 1087.”

One can sum up the whole period of the reign of the Duke of Normandy in a phrase. At the same time, an historian who had made a special study of that part of English History might be able to write ten volumes of details, and he might, in a sense, have both aspects of his knowledge present to his mind at the same moment.

We were in a similar condition. The hours flashed by like so many streaks of lightning, yet each discharge illuminated every detail of the landscape; we could grasp everything at once. It was as if we had acquired a totally new mental faculty as superior to the normal course of thought as the all-comprehending brain of a great man of science is to that of a savage, though the two men are both looking with the same optical instruments at the same blackbeetle.

It is impossible to convey, to any one who has not experienced it, the overwhelming rapture of this condition.

Another extraordinary feature of the situation was this; that we seemed to be endowed with what I must call the power of telepathy, for want of a better word. We didn’t need to explain ourselves to each other. Our minds worked together like those of two first-class three-quarters who are accustomed to play together.

Part of the enjoyment, moreover, came from the knowledge that we were infinitely superior to anything we might happen to meet. The mere fact that we had so much more time to think than other people assured us of this.

We were like a leash of greyhounds, and the rest of the world so many hares, but the disproportion of speed was immensely increased. It was the airman against the wagoner.

We went to bed early that night. We had already got a little tired of Paris. The pace was too slow for us. It was rather like sitting at a Wagner opera. There were some thrilling moments, of course, but most of the time we were bored with long and monotonous passages like the dialogue between Wotan and Erde. We wanted to be by ourselves; no one else could keep up with the rush.

The difference between sleep and waking, again, was diminished, no, almost abolished. The period of sleep was simply like a brief distraction of attention, and even our dreams continued the exaltation of our love.

The importance of any incident was negligible. In the ordinary way one’s actions are to a certain extent inhibited. As the phrase goes, one thinks twice before doing so and so. We weren’t thinking twice any more. Desire was transformed into action without the slightest check. Fatigue, too, had been completely banished.

We woke the next morning with the sun. We stood on the balcony in our dressing-gowns and watched him rise. We felt ourselves one with him, as fresh and as fervent as he. Inexhaustible energy!

We danced and sang through breakfast. We had a phase of babbling, both talking at once at the top of our voices, making plans for the day, each one as it bubbled in our brains the source of ecstatic excitement and inextinguishable laughter.

We had just decided to spend the morning shopping when a card was brought up to the room.

I had a momentary amazement as I read that our visitor was the confidential clerk of Mr. Wolfe.

"Oh, bother the fellow," said I, and then remembered my telegram of the day before.

I had a swift pang of alarm. Could something be wrong? But the cocaine assured me that everything was all right.

“I'll have to see the fellow, I suppose,” I said, and told the hall-boy to send him upstairs.

Don’t let him keep you long,” said Lou, with a petulant pout, and ran into the bedroom after a swift embrace, so violent that it disarranged my new Charvet necktie.

The man came up. I was a little bored by the gravity of his manner, and rather disgusted by its solemn deference. Of course, one likes being treated as a kind of toy emperor in a way, but that sort of thing doesn’t go with Paris. Still less does it go with cocaine.

It annoyed me that the fellow was so obviously ill at ease, and also that he was so obviously proud of himself for having been sent to Paris on important business with a real live knight.

If there’s one thing flying teaches one more than another, it is to hate snobbery. Even the Garter becomes imperceptible when one is flying above the clouds.

I couldn’t possibly talk to the man till he was a little more human. I made him sit down and have a drink and cigarette before I would let him tell me his business.

Of course, everything was perfectly in order. The point was simply this, that the six thousand pounds wasn't immediately available, so, as I needed it urgently, it was necessary for me to sign certain papers which Mr. Wolfe had drawn up at once, on receipt of my wire, and it would be better to have it done at the consulate.

"Why, of course, get a taxi,” I said; “Ill be down in a minute.”

He went downstairs. I ran in to Lou and told her that I had to go to the consul on business: I'd be back in an hour and we could do our shopping.

We took a big sniff of snow and kissed good-bye as if I were starting on a three years’ expedition to the South Pole. Then I caught up my hat, gloves, and cane, and found my young man at the door.

The drink and the air of Paris had given him a sense of his own dignity. Instead of waiting humbly for me to get into the car, he was sitting there already; and though his greeting was still solemnly deferential, there was a little more of the ambassador about it. He had repressed the original impulse to touch his hat.

I myself felt a curious sense of enjoyment of my own importance. At the same time, I was in a violent hurry to get back to Lou. My brain was racing with the thought of her. I signed my name where they told me, and the consul dabbed it all over with stamps, and we drove back to the hotel, where the clerk extracted a locked leather wallet from a mysterious inside hip pocket and counted me out my six thousand in hundred-pound notes.

Of course, I had to ask the fellow to lunch, it was only decent, but I was very glad when he excused himself. He had to catch the two o’clock train back to town.

“Good God, what a time you’ve been,” said Lou, and I could see that she had been filling it in in a wonderful way. It was up to her neck. She danced about like a crazy woman with little jerky movements which I couldn’t help seeing signified nervous irritability. However, she was radiant, beaming, glowing, bursting with excitement.

Well, you know, I don’t like to be left in the lurch. I had to catch up. I literally shovelled the snow down. I ought to have been paid a shilling an hour by the County Council. The world is full of injustice.

However, we certainly didn’t have any time to have questions asked in Parliament. There was Lou almost in tears because she had nothing to wear; practically no jewellery—the whole idea of being a knight is that when you see a wrong it is your duty to right it.

Fortunately, there was no difficulty at the present moment. All we had to do was to drive down to the Rue de la Paix. I certainly almost fell down when I saw all those pearls on her neck. And that cabochon emerald! By George, it did go with her hair!

These shop men in Paris are certainly artists. The man saw in a moment what was wrong. There was nothing to match the blue of her dress, so he showed us a sapphire and diamond bracelet and a big marquise ring that went with it in a platinum setting. That certainly made all the difference! And yet he seemed to be very uneasy. He was puzzled; that’s what it was.

Then his face lightened up. He had got the idea all right. You can always trust these chaps when you strike a really good man. What was missing was something red!

I told you about Lou’s mouth; her long, jagged, snaky, scarlet streak always writhing and twisting as if it had a separate life of its own and were perpetually in some delicious kind of torture!

The man saw immediately what was necessary. The mouth had to be repeated symbolically. That’s the whole secret of art. So he fished out a snake of pigeon’s blood rubies.

My God! it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life, except Lou herself. And you couldn’t look at it without thinking of her mouth, and you couldn’t think of her mouth without wanting to kiss it, and it was up to me to prove to Paris that I had the most beautiful woman in the world for my wife, and that could only be done in the regular way by showing her off in the best dresses and the most wonderful jewellery. It was my duty to her as my wife, and I could afford it perfectly well because I was a tolerably rich man to start with anyhow, and besides, the five thousand I was putting into Feccles’ business would mean something like a quarter of a million at least, on the most conservative calculations, as I had seen with my own eyes.

And that was all clear profit, so there was no reason in the world why one shouldn’t spend it in a sensible way. Mr. Wolfe himself had emphasised the difficulty of getting satisfactory investments in these times.

He told me how many people were putting their money into diamonds and furs which always keep their value, whereas government securities and that sort of thing are subject to unexpected taxation, for one thing, depreciation for another, with the possibility of European repudiation looming behind them all.

As a family man, it was my duty to buy as many jewels for Lou as I could afford. At the same time, one has to be cautious.

I bought the things I mentioned and paid for them. I refused to be tempted by a green pearl tie pin for myself, though I should have liked to have had it because it would have reminded me of Lou’s eyes every time I put it on. But it was really rather expensive, and Mr. Wolfe had warned me very seriously about getting into debt, so I paid for the rest of the stuff, and we went off, and we thought we’d drive out to the Bois for lunch, and then we took some more snow in the taxi and Lou began to cry because I had bought nothing for myself. So we took some more snow, we had plenty of time, nobody lunches before two o’clock. We went straight back to the shop and bought the green pearl, and that got Lou so excited that the taxi was like an aeroplane; if anything, more so.

It’s stupid to hang back. If you start to do a thing, you'd much better do it. What’s that fellow say?

I do not set my life at a pin s fee.” That’s the right spirit. “Unhand me, gentlemen, I’ll make a ghost of him that lets me.”

That's the Pendragon spirit, and that’s the flying man’s spirit. Get to the top and stay at the top and shoot the other man down!
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Thu Sep 05, 2019 2:01 am


The lunch at the Restaurant de la Cascade was like a lunch in a dream. We seemed to be aware of what we were eating without actually tasting it. As I think I said before, it’s the anaesthesia of cocaine that determines the phenomena.

When I make a remark like that, I understand that it’s the dead and gone medical student popping up.

But never you mind that. The point is that when you have the right amount of snow in you, you can’t feel anything in the ordinary sense of the word. You appreciate it in a sort of impersonal way. There’s a pain, but the pain doesn’t hurt. You enjoy the fact of the pain as you enjoy reading about all sorts of terrible things in history at school.

But the trouble about cocaine is this; that it’s almost impossible to take it in moderation as almost any one, except an American, can take whisky. Every dose makes you better and better. It destroys one’s power of calculation.

We had already discovered the fact when we found that the supply we had. got from Gretel, with the idea that it would last almost indefinitely, was running very short, when the dressing-gown came to solve the problem.

We had only been a few days on the stunt, and what we had got from three or four sniffs, to begin with, meant almost perpetual stoking to carry on. However, that didn’t matter, because w T e had an ample supply. There must have been a couple of kilograms of either C. or H. in that kimono. And when you think that an eighth of a grain is rather a big dose of H., you can easily calculate what a wonderful time you can have on a pound.

You remember how it goes—twenty grains one penny-weight, three penny-weights one scruple—I forget how many scruples one drachm, eight drachms one ounce, twelve ounces one pound.

I’ve got it all wrong. I could never understand English weights and measures. I have never met any one who could. But the point is you could go on a long time on one-eighth of a grain if you have a pound of the stuff.

Well, this will put it all right for you. Fifteen grains is one gramme, and a thousand grammes is a kilogramme, and a kilogramme is two point two pounds. The only thing I’m not sure about is whether it’s a sixteen-ounce pound or a twelve-ounce pound. But I don’t see what it matters anyway, if you’ve got a pound of snow or H. you can go on for a long while, but apparently it’s rather awkward orchestrating them.

Quain says that people accustomed to opium and its derivatives can take an enormous amount of cocaine without any bother. In the ordinary way, half a grain of cocaine can cause death, but we were taking the stuff with absolute carelessness.

One doesn't think of measuring it as one would if one took it by hypodermic. One just takes a dose when one feels one needs it. After all, that’s the rule of nature. Eat when you’re hungry. Nothing is worse for the health than settling down to a fixed ration of so many meals a day.

The grand old British principle of three meat meals has caused the supply of uric acid to exceed the demand in a most reprehensible manner.

Physiology and economics, and, I should think, even geology, combine to protest.

Now we were living an absolutely wholesome life. We took a sniff of cocaine whenever the pace slackened up, and one of heroin when the cocaine showed any signs of taking the bit in its teeth.

What one needs is sound common sense to take reasonable measures according to the physiological indications. One needs elasticity. It’s simply spiritual socialism to tie oneself down to fixed doses whether one needs them or not. Nature is the best guide. We had got on to the game.

Our misadventure at the Petit Savoyard had taught us wisdom. We were getting stronger on the wing every hour.

That chap Coue is a piker, as they say in America. “Every day, in every way, I get better and better," indeed? The man must simply have been carried away by the rhyme. Why wait for a day? We had got to the stage where every minute counted.

As the Scotchman said to his son, half-way through the ten-mile walk to kirk, when the boy said, “It’s a braw day the day.” “Is this a day to be ta’king o' days?”

Thinking of days makes you think of years, and thinking of years makes you think of death, which is ridiculous.

Lou and I were living minute by minute, second by second. A tick of the clock marked for us an interval of eternity.

We were the heirs of eternal life. We had nothing to do with death. That was a pretty wise bird who said, “To-morrow never comes.”

We were out of time and space. We were living according to the instruction of our Saviour: “Take no thought for the morrow.”

A great restlessness gripped us. Paris was perfectly impossible. We had to get to some place where time doesn't count.

The alternation of day and night doesn’t matter so much; but it’s absolutely intolerable to be mixed up with people who are working by the clock.

We were living in the world of the Arabian Nights; limitations were abhorrent. Paris was always reminding us of the Pigmies, who lived, if you call it living in a system of order.

It is monstrous and ridiculous to open and close by convention. We had to go to some place where such things didn't annoy us.

An excessively irritating incident spoilt our lunch at the Cascade. We had made a marvellous impression when we came in. We had floated in like butterflies settling on lilies. A buzz went round the tables. Lou’s beauty intoxicated everybody. Her jewellery dazzled the crowd.

I thought of an assembly of Greeks of the best period unexpectedly visited by Apollo and Venus.

We palpitated not only with our internal ecstasy but with the intoxicating sense that the whole world admired and envied us. We made them feel like the contents of a waste-paper basket.

The head waiter himself became a high priest He rose to the situation like the genius he was. He was mentally on his knees as he ventured to advise us in the choice of our lunch.

It seemed to us the tribute of inferior emperors. And there was that fellow King Lamus five or six tables away!

The man with him was a Frenchman of obvious distinction, with a big red rosette and a trim aristocratic white moustache and beard. He was some minister or other. I couldn’t quite place him but I’d seen him often enough in the papers: somebody intimate with the president. He had been the principal object of interest before we came in.

Our arrival pricked that bubble.

Lamus had his back to us, and I supposed he didn’t see us, for he didn’t turn round, though everyone else in the place did so and began to buzz.

I didn't hate the man any more; he was so absurdly inferior. And this was the annoying thing. When he and his friend got up to leave, they passed our table all smiles and bows.

And then, the deuce! The head waiter brought me his card. He had scribbled on it in pencil: “Don't forget me when you need me.”

Of all the damned silly impertinence! Absolutely gratuitous insufferable insolence! Who was going to need Mr. Gawd Almighty King Lamus?

I should have handed out some pretty hot repartee if the creature hadn’t sneaked off. Well, it wasn’t worth while. He didn’t count any more than the grounds in the coffee.

But the incident stuck in my mind. It kept on irritating me all the afternoon. People like that ought to be kicked out once and for all.

Why, hang it, the man was all kinds of a scoundrel. Every one said so. Why did he want to butt in? Nobody asked him to meddle.

I said something of the sort to Lou, and she told him off very wittily.

“You’ve said it, Cockie,” she cried. “He’s a meddler, and his nature is to be rotten before he’s ripe.

I remembered something of the sort in Shakespeare. That was the best of Lou; she was brilliantly clever, but she never forced it down one’s throat.

At the same time, as I said, the man stuck in my gizzard. It annoyed me so much that we took a lot more cocaine to get the taste out of our mouths.

But the irritation remained, though it took another form. The bourgeois atmosphere of Paris got on my nerves.

Well, there was no need to stay in the beastly place. The thing to do was to hunt up old Feccles and pay him the cash, and get to some place like Capri where one isn’t always being bothered by details.

I was flooded by a crazy desire to see Lou swim in the Blue Grotto, to watch the phosphorescent flames flash from her luminous body.

We told the chauffeur to stop at Feccles’s hotel, and that was where we hit a gigantic snag.

Monsieur Feccles, the manager said, had left that morning suddenly. Yes, he had left his heavy baggage. He might be back at any moment. No, he had left no word as to where he was going.

Well, of course, he would be back on Saturday morning to get the five thousand. It was obvious what I was to do. I would leave the money for him, and take the manager’s receipt, and tell him to send the papers on to the Caligula at Capri.

I started to count out the cash. We were sitting in the lounge. A sense of absolute bewilderment and helplessness came over me.

"I say, Lou,” I stammered, “I wish you’d count this. I can’t make it come right. I think I must have been going a bit too hard.”

She went through the various pockets of my portefeuille.

"Haven’t you some money in your pocket?” she said.

I went through myself with sudden anxiety. I had money in nearly every pocket; but it only amounted to so much small change. A thousand francs here and a hundred francs there, a fifty-pound note in my waistcoat, a lot of small bills-

In the meanwhile, Lou had added up the contents of my porte-feuille. The total was just over seventeen hundred.

“My God! I’ve been robbed,” I gasped out, my face flushing furiously with anger.

Lou kept her head and her temper. After all, it wasn’t her money I She began to figure on a scrap of the hotel note paper.

"I'm afraid it’s all right,” she announced, “you dear, bad boy.”

I had become suddenly sober. Yes, there was nothing wrong with the figures. I had paid cash to the jeweller without thinking.

By Jove, we were in a hole! I felt instinctively that it was impossible to telegraph to Wolfe for more money. I suppose my face must have fallen; a regular nose dive. Lou put her arm around my waist and dug her nails into my ribs.

“Chuck it, Cockie,” she said, “ we’re well out of a mess. I always had my doubts about Feccles, and his going off like this looks to me as if there were something very funny about it.”

My dream of a quarter of a million disappeared without a moment’s regret. I had been prudent after all. I had invested my cash in something tangible. Feccles was an obvious crook. If I had handed him that five thousand, I should never have heard of him or of it again.

I began to recover my spirits.

“Look here,” said Lou, “let's forget it. Write Feccles a note to say you couldn’t raise the money by the date it was wanted, and let's get out. We ought to economise, in any case, Let’s get off to Italy as we said. The exchange is awfully good, and living’s delightfully cheap. It’s silly spending money when you’ve got Love and Cocaine.”

My spirit leapt to meet hers. I scribbled a note of apology to Feccles, and left it at the hotel. We dashed round to the Italian consulate to have our passport vised, got our sleeping cars from the hotel porter, and had the maid pack our things while we had a last heavenly dinner.
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:18 am


We had just time to get down to the Gare de Lyon for the train de luxe. A sense of infinite relief enveloped us as we left Paris behind; and this was accompanied with an overwhelming fatigue which in itself was unspeakably delicious. The moment our heads touched the pillows we sank like young children into exquisite deep slumber, and we woke early in the morning, exhilarated beyond all expression by the Alpine air that enlarged our lungs; that thrilled us with its keen intensity; that lifted us above the pettiness of civilisation, exalting us to communion with the eternal; our souls soared to the primaeval peaks that towered above the train. They flowed across the limpid lakes, they revelled with the raging Rhone.

Many people have the idea that the danger of drugs lies in the fact that one is tempted to fly to them for refuge whenever one is a little bored or depressed or annoyed. That is true, of course; but if it stopped there, only a small class of people would stand in real danger.

For example, this brilliant morning, with the sun sparkling on the snow and the water, the whole earth ablush with his glory, the pure keen air rejoicing our lungs , we certainly did say to ourselves, our young eyes ablaze with love and health and happiness, that we didn’t need any other element to make our poetry perfect.

I said this without a hint of hesitation. For one thing, we felt like Christian when the burden of his sins fell off his back, at getting away from Paris and civilisation and convention and all that modern artificiality implies.

We had neither the need to get rid of any depression, nor that to increase our already infinite intoxication; ourselves and our love and the boundless beauty of the ever changing landscape, a permanent perfection travelling for its pleasure through inexhaustible possibilities!

Yet almost before the words were out of our mouths, a sly smile crept over Lou’s loveliness and kindled the same subtly secret delight in my heart.

She offered me a pinch of heroin with the air of communicating some exquisitely esoteric sacrament; and I accepted it and measured her a similar dose on my own hand as if some dim delirious desire devoured us. We took it not because we needed it; but because the act of consummation was, so to speak, an act of religion.

It was the very fact that it was not an act of necessity which made it an act of piety.

In the same way, I cannot say that the dose did us any particular good. It was at once a routine and a ritual. It was a commemoration like the Protestant communion, and at the same time a consecration like the Catholic. It reminded us that we were heirs to the royal rapture in which we were afloat. But also it refreshed that rapture.

We noticed that in spite of the Alpine air, we did not seem to have any great appetite for breakfast, and we appreciated with the instantaneous sympathy which united us that the food of mortals was too gross for the gods.

That sympathy was so strong and so subtle, so fixed in our hearts, that we could not realise the rude, raw fact that we had ever existed as separate beings. The past was blotted out in the calm contemplation of our beatitude. We understood the changeless ecstasy that radiates from statues of the Buddha; the mysterious triumph on the mouth of Monna Lisa, and the unearthly and ineffable glee of the attitude of Haidee Lamoureux.

We smoked in shining silence as the express swept through the plains of Lombardy. Odd fragments of Shelley’s lines on the Euganean hills flitted through my mind like azure or purple phantoms.

“The vaporous plain of Lombardy
Islanded with cities fair.”

A century had commercialised the cities for the most part into cockpits and cesspools. But Shelley still shone serene as the sun itself.

“Many, a green isle needs must be
In this wide sea of misery.”

Everything he had touched with his pen had blossomed into immortality. And Lou and I were living in the land which his prophetic eyes had seen.

I thought of that incomparable idyll, I will not call it an island, to which he invites AEmilia, in Epipsychidion.

Lou and I, my love and I, my wife and I, we were not merely going there; we had always been there and should always be. For the name of the island, the name of the house, the name of Shelley, and the name of Lou and me, they were all one name—Love.

The winged words with which my song would pierce
Into the heights of love’s rare universe
Are chains of lead about its flight of fire,
I pant, I sink, I tremble, I expire.”

I noticed, in fact, that our physical selves seemed to be acting as projections of our thought. We were both breathing rapidly and deeply. Our faces were flushed, suffused with the sunlight splendour of our bloods that beat time to the waltz of our love.

Waltz? No, it was something wilder than a waltz. The Mazuika, perhaps. No, there was something still more savage in our souls.

I thought of the furious fandango of the gipsies of Granada, of the fanatical frenzy of the religious Moorish rioters chopping at themselves with little sacred axes till the blood streams down their bodies, crazily crimson in the stabbing sunlight, and making little scabs of mire upon the torrid trampled sand.

I thought of the moenads and Bacchus; I saw them through the vivid eyes of Euripides and Swinburne. And still unsatisfied, I craved for stranger symbols yet. I became a Witch-Doctor presiding over a cannibal feast, driving the yellow mob of murderers into a fiercer Comus-rout, as the maddening beat of the tom-tom and the sinister scream of the bull-roarer destroy every human quality in the worshippers and make them elemental energies; Valkyrie-vampires surging and shrieking on the summit of the storm.

I do not even know whether to call this a vision, or how to classify it psychologically. It was simply happening to me—and to Lou—though we were sitting decorously enough in our compartment. It became increasingly certain that Haidee, low-class, commonplace, ignorant girl that she was, had somehow been sucked into a stupendous maelstrom of truth.

The normal actions and reactions of the mind and the body are simply so many stupid veils upon the face of Isis.

What happened to them didn't matter. The stunt was to find some trick to make them shut up.

I understood the value of words. It depended, not on their rational meaning, but upon their hieratic suggestion.

“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-house decree.”

The names mean nothing definite, but they determine the atmosphere of the poem. Sublimity depends upon unintelligibility.

I understood the rapture of the names in Lord Dunsany's stories. I understood how the “ barbarous names of evocation ” used by magicians, the bellowings and whistlings of the Gnostics, the Mantras of Hindoo devotees, set their souls spinning till they became giddy with glory.

Even the names of the places that we were passing in the train excited me just as far as they were unfamiliar and sonorous.

I became increasingly excited by the sight of the Italian words, " E pericoloso sporgersi.” That wouldn't mean much, no doubt, to any one who spoke Italian. To me, it was a master-key of magic. I connected it somehow with my love for Lou. Everything was a symbol of my love for Lou except when that idiotic nuisance, knowledge, declared the contrary.

We were whirling in this tremendous trance all the morning. There kept on coming into my mind the title of a picture I had once seen by some crazy modern painter: “Four red monks carrying a black goat across the snow to Nowhere."

It was obviously an excuse for a scheme of colour; but the fantastic imbecility of the phrase, and the subtle suggestion of sinister wickedness, made me pant with suppressed exaltation.

The “first call for lunch” came with startling suddenness. I woke up wildly to recognise the fact that Lou and I had not spoken to each other for hours, that we had been rushing through a Universe of our own creation with stupendous speed and diabolical delight. And at the same time I realised that we had been automatically “coking up” without knowing that we were doing so.

The material world had become of so little importance that I no longer knew where I was. I completely mixed up my present journey with memories of two or three previous Continental excursions.

It was the first time that Lou had ever been farther than Paris, and she looked to me for information as to time and place. With her, familiarity had not bred contempt, and I found myself unable to tell her the most ordinary things about the journey. I didn’t even know in which direction we were travelling, whether the Alps came next, or which tunnel we were taking; whether we passed through Florence, or the difference between Geneva and Genoa.

Those who are familiar with the route will realise how hopelessly my mind was entangled. I hardly knew morning from evening. I have described things with absolute confidence which could not possibly have taken place.

We kept on getting up and looking at the map on the panels of the corridor, and I couldn’t make out where we were. We compared times and distances only to make confusion worse confounded.

I went into the most obstruse astronomical calculations as to whether we ought to put our watches on an hour or back an hour at the frontier; and I don’t know to this day whether I came to any correct conclusion. I had an even chance of being right; but there it stopped.

I remember getting out to stretch our legs at Rome, and that we had a mad impulse to try to see the sights during the twenty minutes or so we had to wait.

I might have done it; but on the platform at Rome I was brought up with a shock. An impossible thing had happened.

“Great Scot,” cried a voice from the window of a coach three ahead of our own. “Of all the extraordinary coincidences! How are you?”

We looked up, hardly able to believe our ears. Who should it be but our friend Feccles!

Well, of course, I'd rather have seen the devil himself. After all, I'd behaved to the man rather shabbily; and, incidentally, made a great fool of myself. But what surprised me on second glance was that he was travelling very much incognito. He was hardly recognisable.

I don’t think I mentioned he had fair hair with a bald patch, and was clean shaven. But now his hair was dark; and a toupee silently rebuked Nature’s inclemency. A small black moustache and imperial completed the disguise. But in addition, his manner of dressing was a camouflage in itself. In Paris he had been dressed very correctly. He might have been a man about town of very good family.

But now he was dressed like a courier, or possibly a high-class commercial traveller. His smartness had an element of commonness very well marked. I instinctively knew that he would prefer me not to mention his name.

At this moment the train began to move, and we had to hop on. We went at once to his compartment. It was a coupe, and he was its sole occupant.

I have already described the shock which the reappearance of Feccles had administered to my nerves. Normally, I should have felt very awkward indeed, but the cocaine lifted me easily over the fence.

The incident became welcome; an additional adventure in the fairy tale which we were living. Lou herself was all gush and giggles to an extent which a month earlier I should have thought a shade off. But everything was equally exquisite on this grand combination honeymoon.

Feccles appeared extremely amused by the encounter. I asked him with the proper degree of concern if he had had my note. He said no, he’d been called suddenly away on business, I told him what I had written, with added apologies.

The long journey had tired me deep down. I took things more seriously, though the cocaine prevented my realising that this was the case.

"My dear fellow,” he protested. “I’m extremely annoyed that you should have troubled yourself about the business at all. As a matter of fact, what happened is this. I went round to see those men at four o’clock, as arranged on the ’phone, and they were really so awfully decent about the whole thing that I had to let them in for five thousand, and they wrote me their cheque on the spot. Now, of course, you mustn’t imagine that I'd let an old pal down. Any time you find yourself with a little loose cash, just weigh in. You can have it out of my bit.”

“Well, that’s really too good of you,” I said, "and I won’t forget it. It’ll be all right, I suppose, now you’ve got the thing through, to wait till I get back to England.”

“Why, of course,” he replied. “Don’t think about business at all. It was really rotten of me to talk shop to a man on his honeymoon.”

Lou took up the conversation. “But do tell us,” she began, “why this thusness. It suits you splendidly, you know. But after all, I’m a woman.”

Feccles suddenly became very solemn. He went to the door of the coupe and looked up and down the corridor; then he slid the door to and began to speak in a whisper.

“This is a very serious business,” he said, and paused.

He took out his keys and played with them, as if uncertain how far to go. He thrust them back into his pocket with a decisive gesture.

“Look here, old chap,” he said, “ I’ll take a chance on you. We all know what you did for England during the war—and take one thing with another, you're about my first pick.”

He stopped short. We looked at him blankly, though we were seething with some blind suppressed excitement whose nature we could hardly describe.

He took out a pipe, and began to nibble the vulcanite rather nervously. He drew a deep breath, and looked Lou straight in the face.

”Does it suggest anything to you,” he murmured, almost inaudibly, “ a man’s leaving Paris at a moment’s notice in the middle of a vast financial scheme, and turning up in Italy, heavily camouflaged?”

”The police on your track!” giggled Lou.

He broke into hearty, good-natured laughter.

“Getting warm,” he said. "But try again.”

The explanation flashed into my mind at once. He saw what I was thinking, and smiled and nodded.

“Oh, I see,” said Lou wisely and bent over to him and whispered in his ear. The words were:—

“Secret Service.”

“That’s it,” said Feccles softly. “And this is where you come in. Look here.”

He brought out a passport from his pocket and opened it. He was Monsieur Hector Laroche, of Geneva, so it appeared; by profession a courier.

We nodded comprehensively.

“I was rather at my wits’ end when I saw you,” he went on. I m on the trail of a very dangerous man who has got into the confidence of some English people living in Capri. That’s where you're going, isn't it?”

“Yes,” we said, feeling ourselves of international importance.

“Well, it’s like this. If I turn up in Capri, which is a very small place, without a particularly good excuse, people will look at me and talk about me, and if they look too hard and talk too much, it’s ten to one I’m spotted, not necessarily for what I am, but as a stranger of suspicious character. And if the man I’m after gets on his guard, there’ll be absolutely nothing doing.”

“Yes,” I said, “ I see all that, but—well, we’d do anything for good old England—goes without saying, but how can we help you out?”

“Well,” said Feccles, "I don’t see why it should put you out very much. You needn’t even see me. But if I could pose as your courier, go ahead and book your rooms and look after your luggage and engage boats and that sort of thing for you, I shouldn’t need to be explained. As things are, it might even save you trouble. They re the most frightful brigands round here; and anything that looks like a tourist, especially of the honeymoon species, is liable to all sorts of bother and robbery.”

Well, the thing did seem almost providential; as a matter of fact, I had been thinking of getting a man to keep off the jackals, and this was killing two birds with one stone.

Lou was obviously delighted with the arrangement.

“Oh, but you must let us do more than that," she said. “If we could only help you spot this swine!”

“You bet I will,” said Feccles heartily, and we all shook hands on it. “Any time anything happens where you could be useful, I’ll tell you what to do. But of course you’ll have to remember the rules of the service—absolute silence and obedience. And you stand or fall on your own feet, and if the umpire says ‘out,’ you’re out, and nobody’s going to pick up the pieces.”

This honeymoon was certainly coming out in the most wonderful way. We had left the cinema people at the post. Here we were, without any effort of our own, right in the middle of the most fascinating intrigues of the most mysterious kind. And all that on the top of the most wonderful love there was in the world, and heroin and cocaine to help us make the most of the tiniest details.

“Well,” said I to Feccles, “this suits me down to the ground. I’m trying to forget what you said about my brain, because it isn’t good for a young man to be puffed up with intellectual vanity. But I certainly am the luckiest man in the world.”

M. Hector Laroche gave us a delightful hour, telling of some of his past exploits in the war. He was as modest as he was brave; but for all that, we could see well enough what amazing astuteness he had brought to the service of our country in her hour of peril. We could imagine him making rings round the lumbering minds of the Huns with their slow pedantic processes.

The only drawback to the evening was that we couldn’t get him to take any snow. And you know what that means—you feel the man’s somehow out of the party. He excused himself by saying that the regulations forbade it. He agreed with us that it was rotten red-tape, but “of course, they’re right in a way, there are quite a lot of chaps that wouldn’t know how to use it, might get a bit above themselves and give something away—you know how it is.”

So we left him quietly smoking, and went back to our own little cubby and had the most glorious night, whispering imaginary intrigues which somehow lent stronger wing to the real rapture of our love. We neither of us slept. We simply sailed through the darkness to find the dawn caressing the crest of Posilippo and the first glint of sunrise signalling ecstatic greetings to the blue waters of the Bay of Naples.

When the train stopped, there was Hector Laroche at the door, ordering everybody about in fluent Italian. We had the best suite in the best hotel, and our luggage arrived not ten minutes later than we did, and breakfast was a perfect poem, and we had a box for the opera and our passages booked for the following day for Capri, where a suite was reserved for us at the Caligula. We saw the Museum in the morning and automobiled out to Pompeii in the afternoon, and yet M. Laroche had managed everything for us so miraculously well that even this very full day left us perfectly fresh, murmuring through half-closed lips the magic sentence:—

“Dolce far niente.”

The majority of people seem to stumble through this world without any conception of the possibilities of enjoyment. It is, of course, a matter of temperament.

But even the few who can appreciate the language of Shelley, Keats and Swinburne, look on those conceptions as Utopian.

Most people acquiesce in the idea that the giddy exaltation of Prometheus Unbound, for example, is an imaginary feeling. I suppose, in fact, that one wouldn’t get much result by giving heroin and cocaine, however cunningly mixed, to the average man. You can’t get out of a thing what isn’t there.

In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, any stimulant of whatever nature operates by destroying temporarily the inhibitions of education.

The ordinary drunken man loses the veneer of civilisation. But if you get the right man, the administration of a drug is quite likely to suppress his mental faculties, with the result that his genius is set free. Coleridge is a case in point. When he happened to get the right quantity of laudanum in him, he dreamed Kubla Khan, one of the supreme treasures of the language.

And why is it incomplete? Because a man called from Porlock on business and called him back to his normal self, so that he forgot all but a few lines of the poem.

Similarly, we have Herbert Spencer taking morphia every day of his life, decade after decade. Without morphia, he would simply have been a querulous invalid, preoccupied with bodily pain. With it, he was the genius whose philosophy summarised the thought of the nineteenth century.

But Lou and I were born with a feeling for romance and adventure. The ecstasy of first love was already enough to take us out of ourselves to a certain extent. The action of the drugs intensified and spiritualised these possibilities.

The atmosphere of Capri, and the genius of Feccles for preventing any interference with our pleasure, made our first fortnight on the island an unending trance of unearthly beauty.

He never allowed us a chance to be bored, and yet, he never intruded. He took all the responsibilities off our hands, he arranged excursions to Anacapri, to the Villa of Tiberius and to the various grottos. Once or twice he suggested a wild night in Naples, and we revelled in the peculiar haunts of vice with which that city abounds.

Nothing shocked us, nothing surprised us. Every incident of life was the striking of a separate note in the course of an indescribable symphony.

He introduced us to the queerest people, drove us into the most mysterious quarters. But everything that happened wove itself intoxicatingly into the tapestry of love.

We went out on absurd adventures. Even when they were disappointing from the ordinary standpoint, the disappointment itself seemed to add piquancy to the joke.

One couldn’t help being grateful to the man for his protecting care. We went into plenty of places where the innocent tourist is considered fair game; and his idiomatic Italian invariably deterred the would-be sportsman. Even at the hotel, he fought the manager over the weekly bill, and compelled him to accept a much lower figure than his dreams had indicated.

Of course, most of his time was occupied with keeping watch on the man he was trailing; and he kept us very amused with the account of his progress.

“I shall never be grateful enough to you, if I bring this off as I think I shall,” he said. “It will be the turning point in my official career. I don’t mind telling you they’ve treated me rather shabbily at home about one or two things I’ve done. But if I bag this bird, they can hardly say no to anything I may ask.”

At the same time, it was clear that he took a genuine friendly interest in his love-birds, as he called us. He had had a disappointment himself, he said, and it had put him off the business personally, but he was glad to say it hadn’t, soured his nature, and he took a real pleasure in seeing people so ideally happy as we were.

The only thing, he said, that made him a little uneasy and discontented was that he hadn’t got in touch with the people who ran the Gatto Fritto, which was an extremely exciting and dangerous kind of night club which indulged in pleasures of so esoteric a kind that no other place in Europe had anything to compare with it.
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:31 am


It was about the end of the third week, I discover from Lou’s Diary (I had lost all count of time myself), that he came in one day with a smile of subtle triumph in his eyes.

“I’ve got on to the ropes,” he said, “but I think I ought in fairness to warn you that the Gatto Fritto is a pretty hot place. I wouldn’t mind taking you as long as you go in disguise and have a gun in your pocket, but I really can’t take it on my conscience to have Lady Pen dragon along.”

I was so full up with cocaine I hardly knew what he was saying. It was the easiest way out to nod assent and watch the clouds fighting each other to get hold of the sun.

I was betting on that big white elephant on the horizon. There were two black cobras and a purple hippopotamus against him; but I couldn’t help that. With those magnificent tusks he ought to be able to settle their business, and only to look at his legs you could see the old sun hadn’t got a dog’s chance. I can’t see why people haven’t the sense to keep still when a fight of this kind is in progress. What’s the referee for, anyway?

It was extremely annoying of Lou to protest in that passionate shrill voice of hers that she was going to the Gatto Fritto, and if she didn’t she’d take to keeping cats herself, and fry them, and make me eat them!

I don’t know how long she went on. It was perfectly gorgeous to hear her. I knew what it meant just as soon as we could get rid of that swine Feccles.

Hang it all, one doesn’t want another man on one’s honeymoon!

So there was Feccles turning to me in a sort of limp, helpless protest, imploring me to put my foot down about it.

So I said, "Feccles, old top, you’re the right sort. I always liked you at school, and I shall never forget what you’ve done for me these last thirty or forty years or whatever it is we’ve been in Capri, and Lloyd George can trust you to nip that blighter you’re after, why shouldn’t I trust you to see us through this fun at the Gatto Fritto?”

Lou clapped her hands, screaming with merriment, but Feccles said:—

Now, that s all right. But this is a very serious business. You’re not going about it in the right spirit. We’ve got to go about it very quietly and soberly, and then open up when the word comes Over the top."

We pretended to pull ourselves together to please him, but I couldn’t blind my eyes to the fact that I was likely to lose my money, because the white elephant had turned into a quite ordinary Zebu or Brahman cow, or at the best a two-humped or Bactrian dromedary, in any case, an animal entirely unfitted by nature to carry the money of a cautious backer.

Agitated by this circumstance, I was hardly in a condition to realise the nature of the proposals laid before the meeting by Worshipful Brother Feccles, Acting Deputy Grand Secretary General.

But roughly they were to this effect: That we were to lock up all our money and jewellery, except a little small change, as an act of precaution, and Feccles would arrive in due course, with disguises for me and Lou as Neapolitan fisherfolk, and we were to take nothing but a revolver apiece and a little small change, and we were to slip off the terrace of the hotel after dark without any one seeing, and there would be a motor-boat across to Sorrento; and there would be an automobile, so we could get into Naples at about one o’clock in the morning, and then we were to go to a certain drinking place, the Fauno Ebbrio, and as soon as the coast was clear he would pick us up and take us along to the Gatto Fritto, and we would know for the first time what life was really like.

Well, I call that a perfectly straight, decent, sensible programme. It’s the duty of every Englishman to learn as much of foreign affairs as he can without interfering with his business. That sort of knowledge will always come in useful in case of another European War. It was knowing that sort of thing that had put Feccles where he was in the Secret Service, the trusted confident of those mysterious intelligences that watch over the welfare of our beloved country.

Thank you, that will conclude the evening’s entertainment.

I will say this for Feccles. He always understood instinctively when he wasn’t wanted. So immediately the arrangements were made, he excused himself hastily, because he had to go down to the Villa where his victim was staying, and fix a dictaphone in the room where he was going to have dinner.

So I had Lou all to myself until he came with the disguises the next day in the afternoon. And I wasn’t going to waste a minute.

I admit I was pretty sick about the way the white cloud let me down. Fd have gone after the silly old sun myself if I hadn’t been a married man.

However, there we were alone, alone for ever, Lou and I in Capri, it was all much too good to be true! Sunlight and moonlight and starlight! They were all in her eyes. And she handed out the cocaine with such a provocative gesture! I knew what it was to be insane. I could understand perfectly well why the silly fools that aren’t insane are afraid of being insane. I’d been that way myself when I didn't know any better.

This rotten little race of men measures the world by its own standard. It is lost in the vastness of the Universe, and is consequently afraid of everything that doesn’t happen to fit its own limits.

Lou and I had discarded the miserable measures of mankind. That sort of thing is all right for tailors and men of science; but we had sprung in one leap to be conterminous with the Universe. We were as incommensurable as the ratio of a circle to its diameter. We were as imaginary and unreal from their point of view as the square root of minus one.

We didn’t ask humanity to judge us. It was simply a case of mistaken identity to regard us as featherless bipeds at all. We may have looked like human beings to their eyes; in fact, they sent in bills and things as if we had been human beings.

But I refuse to be responsible for the mistakes of the inferior animals. I humour them to some extent in their delusions, because they’re lunatics and ought to be humoured. But it’s a long way between that and admitting that their hallucinations have any basis in fact.

I had been in their silly world of sense a million years or so ago, when I was Peter Pendragon.

But why recall the painful past? Of course, one doesn’t come to one's full strength in a minute. Take the case of an eagle. What is it as long as it’s in the egg? Nothing but an egg with possibilities. And the first day it’s hatched you don’t expect it to fly to Neptune and back. Certainly not!

But every day, in every way, it gets better and better. And if I was ever tempted to flop and remember my base origin as a forked radish, why all I needed was a kiss from Lou, or a sniff of cocaine to put me back in Paradise.

I can’t tell you about those next twenty-four hours. Suffice it to say that all world’s records were broken and broken again. And we were simply panting like two hungry wolves when Feccles turned up with the disguises and the guns!

He repeated those instructions, and added one word of almost paternal counsel in a very confidential tone.

“You'll excuse me, I know; I’m not suggesting for a moment you’re not perfectly capable of taking care of yourself, but you haven’t been in these parts before, and you must never forget the quick, violent tempers of these Southern Italians. It’s like one of these sudden gusts that the fishermen are so afraid of. It doesn’t mean anything in particular; but it’s often ugly enough at the moment, and what you have to do is to keep out of any kind of a row. There may be a lot of drunken ruffians in the Fauno Ebbrio. Sit near the door; and if anybody starts scrapping, slip out quietly and walk up and down till it’s over. You don’t want to get mixed up with a fuss.”

I could see the wisdom of his remarks, although, on the other hand, I was personally spoiling for a fight. The one fly in the apothecary’s ointment of the honeymoon, though I didn’t notice it, was that something in me missed the excitement of the daily gambling with death to which the war had accustomed me.

The slightest reminder of the wilder passions—a couple of boatmen quarrelling, or even a tourist protesting about some trifle, sent the blood to my head. I only wanted a legitimate excuse for killing a few hundred people.

But nature is wise and kind, and I was always able to take it out of Lou. The passions of murder and love are inseparably connected in our ancestry. All civilisation has done is to teach us to pretend to idealise them.

The programme went off without the slightest hitch. Our room opened on to a terrace in deep shadow. At this time of year there was hardly any one in the hotel, of course. A little flight of steps at the side of the terrace took us under an arch of twisted vines into the barely more than mule-path that does duty for a road in Capri.

No one took any notice of us. There were only strolling lovers, parties of peasants singing as they walked to the guitar, and two or three tired happy fishermen strolling home from the wine-shop.

We found the motor-boat at the quay, and lay lapsed m delight. It seemed hardly a minute later when we found ourselves in Sorrento couched in a huge roadster, without a word spoken,. we were off at top speed. I he beauty of the drive is notorious; and yet: --

“We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea."

The world had been created afresh for our sakes. It was an ever-changing phantasmagoria of rapturous sounds and sights and scents; and it all seemed a mere ornamentation for our love, the setting for the jewel of our sparkling passion.

Even the last few miles into Naples, where the road runs through tedious commercialised suburbs, took on a new aspect. The houses were a mere irregular skyline. Somehow they suggested the jagged contour of a score of Debussy.

But all this, exquisite as it was, gripping as it was, was m a way superficial. At the bottom of our hearts there seethed and surged a white hot volcanic lake of molten, of infernal, metal.

We did not know what hideous, what monstrous abominations were in store for us at the Gatto Fritto.

I have set down how the action of the drugs had partially stripped off the recent layers of memory. It had achieved a parallel result much more efficiently on the moral plane. The toil of countless generations ol evolution had been undone in a month. We still preserved, to a certain extent, the conventions of decency; but we knew that we did so only from ape-like cunning.

We had reverted to the gorilla. No action of violence and lust but seemed a necessary outlet for our energies!

We said nothing to each other about this. It was, in fact, deeper and darker than could be conveyed by articulate speech.

Man differs from the lower animals indeed, first of all, in this matter of language. The use of language compels one to measure one’s thoughts. That is why the great philosophers and mystics, who are dealing with ideas that cannot be expressed in such terms, are constantly compelled to use negative adjectives, or to rebuke the mind by formulating their thoughts in a series of contradictory statements. That is the explanation of the Athanasian Creed. Its clauses puzzle the plain man.

One must oneself be divine to comprehend divinity.

The converse proposition is equally true. The passions of the pit find outlet only in bestial noises.

The automobile stopped at the end of the dirty little street where the Fauno Ebbrio lurks. The motorman pointed to the zig-zag streak of light that issued from it, and cast a sinister gleam on the opposite wall.

A bold, black-haired, short-skirted girl with a gaudy shawl and huge gold ear-rings was standing in the door. What with the long journey and the drugs and other things, we were a little drunk—just enough to realise that it was part of our policy to pretend to be a little more drunk than we were.

We let our heads roll from side to side as we staggered to the door. We sat down at a little table and called for drink. They served us one of those foul Italian imitations of liqueurs that taste like hair-wash.

But instead of nauseating us, it exalted us; we enjoyed it as part of the game. Dressed as low-class Neapolitans, we threw ourselves heartily into the part.

We threw the fiery filth down our throats as if it had been Courvoisier ’65. The drink took effect on us with surprising alacrity. It seemed to let loose those swarming caravans of driver ants that eat their way through the jungle of life like a splash of sulphuric acid flung in a woman’s face.

There was no clock in the den, and of course we had left our watches at home. We got a little impatient. We couldn’t remember whether Feccles had or had not told us how long he was likely to be. The air of the room was stifling. The lowest vagabonds of Naples crowded the place. Some were jabbering like apes; some singing drunkenly to themselves; some shamelessly caressing; some sunk in bestial stupor.

Among the last was a burly brute who somehow fascinated our attention.

We thought ourselves quite safe in speaking English; and for all I know we were talking at the top of our voices. Lou maintained that this particular man was English himself.

He was apparently asleep; but presently he lifted his head from the table, stretched his great arms, and called for a drink, in Italian.

He drained his glass at a gulp, and then came suddenly over to our table and addressed us in English.

We could tell at once from his accent that the man had originally been more or less of a gentleman, but his face and his tone told their own story. He must have been going downhill for many years—reached the bottom long ago, and found it the easiest place to live.

He was aggressively friendly in a brutal way, and warned us that our disguises might be a source of danger; any one could see through them, and the fact of our having adopted them might arouse the quick suspicion of the Neapolitan mind.

He called for drinks, and toasted King and Country with a sort of surly pride in his origin. He reminded me of Kipling's broken-down Englishman.

“Don’t you be afraid,” he said to Lou. "I won’t let you come to any harm. A little peach like you? No blooming fear! ”

I resented the remark with almost insane intensity. To hell with the fellow!

He noticed it at once, and leered with a horrible chuckle.

“All right, mister,” he said. ”No offence meant,” and he threw an arm round Lou's neck, and made a movement to kiss her.

I was on my feet in a second, and swung my right to his jaw. It knocked him off the bench, and he lay flat.

In a moment the uproar began. All my old fighting instincts flashed to the surface. I realised instantly that we were in for the very row that Feccles had so wisely warned us to avoid.

The whole crowd—men and women—were on their feet. They were rushing at us like stampeding cattle. I whipped out my revolver. The wave surged back as a breaker does when it hits a rock.

“Guard my back!” I cried to Lou.

She hardly needed telling. The spirit of the true Englishwoman in a crisis was aflame in her.

Fixing the crowd with my eyes and my barrel, we edged our way to the door. One man took up a glass to throw; but the padrone had slipped out from behind the bar, and knocked his arm down.

The glass smashed to the floor. The attack on us degenerated into a volley of oaths and shrieks. We found ourselves in the fresh air—and also in the arms of half a dozen police who had run up from both ends of the street.

Two of them strode into the wine-shop. The uproar ceased as if by magic.

And then we found that we were under arrest. We were being questioned in voluble, excited Italian. Neither Lou nor I understood a word that was said to us.

The sergeant came out of the dive. He seemed an intelligent man. He understood at once that we were English.

“Inglese?" he asked. “Inglese?” and I forcibly echoed "Inglese, Signore Inglese,” as if that settled the whole matter.

English people on the Continent have an illusion that the mere fact of their nationality permits them to do anything soever. And there is a great deal of truth in this, after all, because the inhabitants of Europe have. a settled conviction that we are all harmless lunatics. So we are allowed to act in all sorts of ways which they would not tolerate for a moment in any supposedly rational person.

In the present instance, I have little doubt that, if we had been dressed as ourselves, we should have been politely conducted to our hotel or put into an automobile, without any more fuss, perhaps, than a few perfunctory questions intended to impress the sergeant’s men with his importance.

But as it was, he shook his head doubtfully.

"Arme vietate,” he said solemnly, pointing to the revolvers which were still in our hands.

I tried to explain the affair in broken Italian. Lou did what was really a much more sensible thing by taking the affair as a stupendous joke, and going off into shrieks of hysterical laughter.

But as for me, my blood was up. I wasn’t going to stand any nonsense from these damned Italians. Despite the Roman blood that is legitimately the supreme pride of our oldest families, we always somehow instinctively think of the Italian as a nigger.

We don’t call them “dagos” and "wops,” as they do in the United States, with the invariable epithet of "dirty’’; but we have the same feeling.

I began to take the high hand with the sergeant; and that, of course, was quite sufficient to turn the balance against us.

We found ourselves pinioned. He said in a very short tone that we should have to go to the Commissario.

I had two conflicting impulses. One to shoot the dogs down and get away; the other to wish, like a lost child, that Feccles would turn up and get us out of the mess.

Unfortunately for either, I had been very capably disarmed, and there was no sign of Feccles.

We were marched to the police station and thrown into separate rooms.

I cannot hope to depict the boiling rage which kept me awake all night. I resented hl-temperedly the attempts of the other men to be sympathetic. I think they recognised instinctively that I had got into trouble through no fault of my own, and were anxious to show kindness in their own rough way to the stranger.

The worst of the whole business was that they had searched us and removed our stand-by, the dear little gold-topped bottle! I might have got myself into a mood to laugh the whole thing off, as had so often happened before; and I realised for the first time the dreadful sinking of heart that comes from privation.

It was only a hint of the horror so far. I had enough of the stuff in me to carry me through for a bit. But, even as things were, it was bad enough.

I had a feeling of utter helplessness. I began to repent having repulsed the advances of my fellow prisoners. I approached them and explained that I was a “Signor Inglese” with “molto danaro”; and if any one could oblige me with a sniff of cocaine, as I explained by gesture, I should be practically grateful.

I was understood immediately. They laughed sympathetically with perfect comprehension of the case. But as it happened, nobody had managed to smuggle anything in. There was nothing for it but to wait for the morning. I lay down on a bench, and found myself the prey of increasingly acute irritation.

The hours passed like the procession of Banquo’s heirs before the eyes of Macbeth; and a voice in me kept saying, “Macbeth hath murdered sleep, Macbeth shall sleep no more!”

I had an appallingly disquieting sensation of being tracked down by some invisible foe. I was seized with a perfectly unreasonable irritation against Feccles, as if it were his fault, and not my own, that I was in this mess.

Strangely enough, you may think, I never gave a thought to Lou. It mattered nothing to me whether she were suffering or not. My own personal physiological sensations occupied the whole of my mind.

I was taken before the Commissario as soon as he arrived. They seemed to recognise that the case was important.

Lou was already in the office. The Commissario spoke no English, and no interpreter was immediately available. She looked absolutely wretched.

There had been no conveniences for toilet, and in the daylight the disguise was a ridiculous travesty.

Her hair was tousled and dirty; her complexion was sallow, mottled with touches of unwholesome red. Her eyes were bleared and bloodshot. Dark purple rims were round them.

I was extremely angry with her for her unprepossessing appearance. It then occurred to me for the first time that perhaps I myself was not looking like the Prince of Wales on Derby Day.

The commissary was a short, bull-necked individual, evidently sprung from the ranks of the people. He possessed a correspondingly exaggerated sense of his official importance.

He spoke almost without courtesy, and appeared to resent our incapacity to understand his language.

As for myself, the fighting spirit had gone out of me completely. All I could do was to give our names in the tone of voice of a schoolboy who has been summoned by the head master, and to appeal for the “Consule Inglese."

The commissary’s clerk seemed excited when he heard who we were, and spoke to his superior in a rapid undertone. We were asked to write our names.

I thought this was getting out of it rather nicely. I felt sure that the “Sir” would do the trick, and the "V.C., K.B.E.” could hardly fail to impress.

I'm not a bit of a snob; but I really was glad for once to be of some sort of importance.

The clerk ran out of the room with the paper. He came back in a moment, beaming all over, and called the attention of the commissary to one of the morning newspapers, running his finger along the lines with suppressed excitement.

My spirits rose. Evidently some social paragraph had identified us.

The commissary changed his manner at once. His new tone was not exactly sympathetic and friendly, but I put that down to the man’s plebeian origin.

He said something about “Consule,” and had us conducted to an outer room. The clerk indicated that we were to wait there—no doubt, for the arrival of the consul.

It was not more than half an hour; but it seemed an eternity. Lou and I had nothing to say to each other. What we felt was a blind ache to get away from these wretched people, to get back to the Caligula; to have a bath and a meal; and above all, to ease our nerves with a good stiff dose of heroin and a few hearty sniffs of cocaine.
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