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.

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

Postby admin » Sun Oct 06, 2019 5:17 am

CHAPTER III: THE VOICE OF VIRTUE

Basil had gone out of town; but he turned up on the fifth day at eleven o’clock in the morning, and he came in his most serious professional manner. After a very brief greeting, he went straight to the charts and inspected them attentively.

Lou and I both felt very uncomfortable. He noticed it at once.

"You’ve still got heroin on the brain, I see,” he remarked severely. “You insist on considering yourselves as naughty children instead of as pioneers of humanity undertaking a desperate adventure for the good of the race.”

I began a sort of apology; I don’t quite know for what.

"Nonsense,” he interrupted. "I know perfectly well why you’re ashamed of yourself. You’ve had what you call a relapse. After getting down to five, six and seven doses, you’ve suddenly gone back. Yesterday, I see, Lou had fourteen and you sixteen—more than you were taking ever since you have been in this place. You think that’s a bad sign. I don’t.

"To begin with, you’ve been honest with yourselves; and that’s the thing that matters most. Then it’s a good sign again that the daily variation is as large as it is. I’d much rather see "two eighteen" than "eight eight" in spite of the four extra doses. And that for exactly the same reason as applies to the hourly distribution.

"It’s the same with drink. The man who goes on the bust occasionally is very much easier to manage than the steady soaker. Every child in the Fourth Standard knows that. I believe it’s written in golden letters round the chancel in Westminster Abbey. If it isn’t, it ought to be.

"Now don’t worry. And above all things, don’t get a fit of repentance and take too little to-day and tomorrow. If you do, you’ll have another relapse. I know it sounds as though I were contradicting myself. Make the most of it, I don’t care. I’m going to do it again in the following elegant manner.

"I want you to get the whole subject of heroin out of your mind; and that is the reason why I insist so strongly on your keeping a record of every time you take it. It’s a psychological paradox that the best way to forget about a thing is to make a memorandum of it.

"Now, good-bye, and come to dinner to-night at the studio. Perhaps you’ll feel like dancing.”

He went off with an airy wave of the hand.

When we came back from the dance the porter told us that a lady and gentleman had called to see us. They hadn’t left their names. They would call again in the morning.

It struck me as curious; but I gave the matter little enough thought. The fact is that I was in rather a bad temper. I had used a good deal of heroin off and on during the last few days, and it had certainly not cost me anything to cut off the cocaine. Morphine and heroin give one a physical craving; but the pull of cocaine is principally moral and when one is taking H. one doesn’t care such a lot about taking it.

But that night, raw as it was, I almost made up my mind to drive back and try to get a little snow for a change.

We were getting over the heroin, the first stage of diminution, without too much suffering. But there was something exceedingly tedious about the process.

We had had a very pleasant evening; but I couldn’t help comparing it with the same sort of thing in honeymoon days. The sparkle had gone out of the champagne of life.

It was our fault, of course, for trying to outwit nature. But at the same time, one couldn't shut one’s eyes to the facts, and I knew Lamus would have had no hesitation in giving us a little snow, feeling the wav I was.

I don’t know why I felt such a disinclination to go back and ask him. It may have been the instinctive dislike of bothering him; and besides, it was rather humiliating to have to admit. There was also a trace of sturdy British feeling that the thing to do was to stick it out and trust a night’s rest to tone up my nerves.

Lamus had advised us to take Turkish baths if we felt unduly depressed. We had found them very useful.

We had got down to three goes a day two days running, chiefly by following his advice to take one of the white tablets instead of the heroin whenever the craving became irresistible. He made rather a point of that, by the way.

It was a bad thing, he said, to yield to stress. It wasn't nearly so harmful to take the heroin when one didn’t feel so badly in need of it.

Even after all this time I hadn’t quite got on to the peculiarities of the man’s mind. I had never reached the stage where I could be sure what he could say next.

One day we were talking about Lou’s Chinese appearance; and he said quite seriously that he must have some Chinese blood in him or was the reincarnation of a Chinese philosopher. Ko Yuen, I think he said the name was. He said that he owed it to his European reason to explain categorically why his thoughts had such an Asiatic cast.

They certainly had. From our point of view it was simply perversity. And yet, as a rule, it seemed to work out all right in the end. But it gives one a pain in the neck to try to follow the way his mind works. And he takes a Satanic pleasure in taking hold of one's most obviously reasonable ideas and putting up a series of paradoxes which bewilder one with their strangeness, yet to which there seems to be no answer.

Yet in spite of all this subtlety he had a downright British doggedness; the most perverse train of reasoning would suddenly pull out into a bulldog kind of conclusion that would leave one wondering whether he had been really thinking at all on the lines he pretended.

The upshot in my own case was to keep me up to the mark. So I went to bed, meaning to get up early and go to the Turker in the morning. But as it happened, we both slept late. By the time we were dressed we were getting hungry for lunch.

I was annoyed at this. I had wanted to get out of the house and change my ideas as completely as possible. The Hot Room is an excellent place for the purpose. While I’m there, I find I can’t think of anything at all but the immediate effects of the temperature.

I was annoyed, too, to find Lou comparatively cheerful. I decided I would go out after all and have lunch in the Cooling Room, when the porter called up to ask if we could see a lady and gentleman.

These people had begun to obsess me. I demanded their names. There was a pause as if a discussion were taking place at the other end of the wire; and then he announced that it was Mrs. Webster and a friend.

Why the mystery? I didn’t want to see her. What did she want with me? I had taken a strong dislike to the woman. I had come to blame her for putting us on to the drug business. It was so much easier than blaming myself.

However, we couldn’t exactly refuse to see her, so I told the porter to show them up.

“So it was you,” we both said in a breath as we advanced to meet each other. We were referring to the night of the suicide dinner at the Wisteria. As I was going out of the room I had thought I recognised her; but I had supposed she was out of London. She had been a couple of months before; but my mind had gotten into such a state that it never occurred to me that she might have come back.

That’s the sort of thing that heroin does to one. One gets an idea about something, and it’s too much trouble to change it.

She, on her side, had only half recognised me; and goodness knows she needed no excuse for that.

“We heard you were in London/' she began volubly, in a tone which somehow rang false, "and of course I couldn’t rest till I had come and welcomed you and Lou in person. We heard you were in a little place in Greek Street from one of the crowd; but you had gone the very morning I called, and they told us you were ill and couldn’t see any one for a week. But Billy Bray and Lady Rhoda came in last night and said they’d seen you at a dance. So I wouldn’t waste a minute in coming to see you.”

She rattled off all this as if she was in a violent hurry, punctuating her remarks by kissing Lou extravagantly.

I could see that Lou resented the woman even more than I did, but she naturally took care not to show it.

Hanging fatuously on the outskirts of the group was no less a person than the famous philanthropist, Jabez Platt. But he, too, had changed since we had seen him at the time of our marriage. Then he had been the very type of a smug, prosperous, contented Chadband; a placid patriarch with an air of disinterested benevolence and unassuming sanctity. If ever a man was at peace with himself and the world, it was Mr. Jabez Platt on the occasion of our first meeting.

But to-day, he was a very different individual indeed. He seemed to have shrunk. His black clothes had fitted him like the skin of a well-conditioned porpoise. Now they hung loosely like a toad’s. He resembled that animal in several other respects. The virtue had somehow gone out of him. There was a hungry, hunted look in his eyes. Of course, I could see instantly what was the matter with him; he had been taking heroin.

"Dear me,” thought I, for my dislike for the creature was instinctive, "how are the mighty fallen!"

Excuse a digression. There is a great deal of discussion about various pleasures—whether they are natural or unnatural. Lamus has since told me that the true test of the perversity of a pleasure is that it occupies a disproportionate amount of the attention.

According to him, we have no right to decide off-hand that it is an unnatural pleasure to eat sawdust. A man might be constituted so that he liked it. And as long as his peculiarity doesn't damage or interfere with other people, there's no reason why he shouldn't be left alone.

But if it is the man's fixed belief that sawdust eating is essential to human happiness; if he attributes almost everything that happens either to the effects of eating it or not eating it; if he imagines that most of the people he meets are also sawdust-eaters, and above all, if he thinks that the salvation of the world depends entirely upon making laws to compel people to eat sawdust, whether they like it or not, then it is fair to say that his mind is unbalanced on the subject; and that, further, the practice itself, however innocent it may appear, is in that particular case perverse. Sanity consists in the proper equilibrium of ideas in general. That is the only sense in which it is true that genius is connected with insanity.

The conviction of Michael Angelo that his work was the most important thing in the Renaissance was not quite sane, even although in a way time has justified his belief.

That is what is wrong with the majority of vaccinationists and anti-vaccinationists and vegetarians and anarchists and the "irascible race of seers "in general, that they over-play their hands. However right they are in their belief, and in thinking that belief important, they are wrong in forgetting the equal or greater importance of other things. The really important things in the world are the huge silent inexorable things.

"What are the wild waves saying?"—that the pull of the tides is gradually slowing down the earth's rate of rotation. And that was what was wrong with me. I had a tendency to see heroin everywhere.

That was not what was wrong with Mr. Jabez Platt!

Gretel Webster was a mistress of the social arts, yet all her skill in small talk could not camouflage the artificial character of the visit. She saw it herself, and took advantage of the fact to ask Lou to take her in her bedroom and "talk clothes and leave dear Sir Peter and Mr. Platt to get better acquainted with each other."

But the process did not promise to be rapid. Dear Sir Peter and Mr. Platt seemed to have nothing to say to each other; dear Sir Peter did his best to offer cigars, cigarettes, and various drinks to relieve the tension, but Mr. Platt’s Roman virtue did not permit him to indulge in such things.

Mr. Platt, however, was so sensible of the hospitality of dear Sir Peter that he felt obliged to ask dear Sir Peter s opinion of—and he suddenly whipped a ten-gramme bottle of cocaine out of his coat-tail pocket.

"We believe,” he said, "that this is a particularly pure sample. There is strong scientific reason to believe,” he explained, and the atmosphere of the pulpit positively radiated from him, "that it is not the drug itself but the impurities so often associated with it by careless manufacture that are responsible for the deplorable effects occasionally observed in persons who take it, whether for legitimate or other reasons.”

To say that I sat stupefied is a gross understatement of the case. My astonishment prevented me recognising for a moment that my heart was bounding and leaping within me at the sight of the drug.

"I should really value your opinion as a connoisseur,” continued Platt.

There was something tremulous in his voice, as if he were keeping hold on himself by some incredible effort of will.

I positively stammered.

"Why, Mr. Platt,” I said, "I thought you were so anxious to stop the use of the drug altogether. I thought it was yon who were chiefly responsible for putting through the Diabolical Dope Act."

"Ignorance, pure ignorance, my dear Sir Peter," he cried. "We live and learn, we live and learn. Used in moderation, we find it to be positively wholesome. A stimulant no doubt, you will say. And all stimulants may undoubtedly be dangerous. But I’m afraid people will have them, and surely the wisest course is to see that what they have is as little deleterious as possible."

While he spoke he kept on nervously jerking the bottle in my direction as if afraid to put it into my hands outright. And then I realised how very badly I wanted it.

"Well, certainly, Mr. Platt," I replied, entering into the spirit of the thing, "I shall be only too glad to give you my opinion for what it may be worth."

I could not conceal the feverish eagerness with which I shook out a dose. My pretence at sniffing with a critical air was ludicrously feeble. A child could have seen that I was shaken, body and soul, by the feverish lust to get it into my system after so long an abstinence.

Time had purged my system of the poison. It found the house "empty and swept and garnished"; and seven devils entered into me instead of the ejected one. My malaise passed like a cloud swept by the wind from the face of the sun. I became physically buoyant as I had not been for months. I was filled with superb self-confidence. My hesitation vanished. I played the game with all the sublime intoxication of recovered divinity.

"I must admit that it seems to me excellent," I pronounced with lofty calm, though my blood was singing in my ear.

I handed back the bottle.

"Keep it, I beg of you, my dear Sir Peter," protested Platt enthusiastically. "One never knows when a little household medicine may not come in handy."

Something set me off into roars of internal laughter. I couldn't see the joke, but it was the biggest joke in the world.

"It's really awfully kind of you, my dear Mr. Platt,” I said with unction, feeling that I was cast for the star part in some stupendous comedy.

The obligation is entirely on my side,” returned my guest. You have no idea how your kind approval has set my mind at ease.”

I took another sniff. I was fainting away into an inexpressible ecstasy. I re-corked the bottle and put it in my ^pocket, thanking Platt profusely.

"I can't imagine your mind being ill at ease,” I went on with a note of irony, which was. however, absolutely genial. I was friends with every one in the world. "If there was ever a man with a conscience void of offence toward God and man, that man is surely Jabez Platt.”

"Ah, conscience, conscience,” he sighed. "You have no idea, Sir Peter, how it has tormented me of late. The moral responsibility, the appalling moral responsibility.”

"Whatever it is,” I answered, "you are certainly the man to shoulder it.”

Well, he said, I think I may say without boasting that I trust I have never tried to shirk it. Your approval has absolved me of the last shred of hesitation. I must explain, my dear Sir Peter, that I have always been a poor man. The service of humanity demands many sacrifices from, its devotees, and I assure you that in that bottle, there lies not only, as I now feel assured, the salvation of mankind from one of its direst dangers, but an enormous fortune.”

He leant forward and tapped my knee with his forefinger.

An enormous fortune,” he repeated in awed tones. And then lowering his voice still further, ‘‘Enough, more than enough, for both of us.”

‘‘Why, how do I come in?" I asked in surprise, while a little thrill of avarice tickled my heart-strings.

I reflected that what with one thing or another, I had made a disagreeably large hole in my capital. Only two mornings ago I had had a rather irritating letter from Mr. Wolfe on the subject. It would suit me perfectly well to make an enormous fortune.

He drew his chair closer to mine, and began to talk in a quiet, persuasive voice. "It’s this way, my dear Sir Peter. The workings of Providence are indeed strange. Just before the passing of my Act, I had invested what little fortune I possessed in the purchase of a Cocaine Factory in Switzerland, with the intention of putting an end to its nefarious activities. Now here is an instance of what I can only refer to with reverent gratitude as the Moving of the Divine Finger. On the one hand, my chemical manager informed me of the marvellous scientific discovery which I have already mentioned—I am sure you feel no ill effects from what you have taken? "His voice took on a tone of grave concern, almost paternal.

“Not much! "I countered cheerfully, “it’s splendid. I can do with another sniff right now! "I suited the action to the words, like Hamlet's ideal mummer. "Won’t you be persuaded? "I queried maliciously.

"Ah, no, I thank you, dear Sir Peter! Your remarks have raised me to the highest pinnacle of happiness."

I took a fourth dose, just for luck.

"Well, on the other hand, I discovered that, thanks to the very Act which I had so arduously laboured to put upon the Statute Book, that little bottle of yours which costs me less than five shillings to manufacture, and was sold retail for a matter of fifteen shillings, can now be sold—discreetly, you understand—in the West End for almost anything one cares to ask—ten, twenty, even fifty pounds to the right customer. Eh? What do you say to that? "He laughed gleefully. "Why, ill-natured people might say I had put through the Act for the very purpose of making a bull market for my produce!"

"And you save humanity from its follies and vices at the same stroke! "The cocaine had cleared my mind it was like one of those transparent golden sunsets after a thunderstorm in the Mediterranean I revelled in the ingenuity of Mr. Platt’s proceedings. I gloated with devilish intensity upon the jest of carrying out so magnificent a scheme beneath so complete a camouflage. It was the vision of Satan disguised as an angel of light.

"Yes, indeed, the whole affair is eminently gratifying from every point of view,” answered Platt. "Never m all my life have I been permitted to see with such luminous clarity the designs of providential loving-kindness."

"Alas! my dear Mr. Platt,” I replied gloomily, as the stage directions seemed to indicate, "lama very young and ignorant man, and I am unable at present to see any part for me in the design. My mere approval of your product—” I took it out and treated myself to a long, languishing kiss—yes, kiss, there is no other word for it! My long-lost love, home to my heart once more!

Platt in his turn assumed an air of Stygian melancholy. "My dear Sir Peter,” he pursued, with a heavy sigh you can easily understand that, huge as my fortune, thanks to the inscrutable ways of Destiny now is, time is necessary to realise it fully—and, by a singular and most unfortunate conjunction of circumstances not only time is required, but—Capital.”

Unfortunate conjuncture of circumstances?" I echoed dreamily my mind was royally racing in the Circus of Infinity, a billion leagues from where anybody sat.

"Unfortunate, that is, for me,” corrected Platt "no, no I won’t say that, since it is fortunate for my friend—for you!"

"For me?"

”For you, my dear Sir Peter! I told Mrs. Webster of the state of the case—and she immediately suggested your name. She has come to the rescue splendidly herself, I need hardly tell you—took all the shares she could—but there is still a matter of three thousand pounds to find. And remember, after insuring against all risks, and so forth, we shall be paying at the very least four thousand per cent.”

I have never been any sort of a business man; but a child of twelve could grasp the gigantic nature of the proposition.

"I have brought the papers for your inspection, my dear Sir Peter. You will see that the capital is only £20,000 in shares of £1 fully paid up—and I am offering you £3000 at par.”

"It’s princely, my dear sir,” I exclaimed. "You overwhelm me. But—excuse me—I don't see why you need the money at all, or why you don’t sell the shares through a broker.”

At this moment Lou popped into the room. It annoyed me. Did I show it? Her face went suddenly white as marble. She stood in the doorway of the bedroom for a moment, swaying; and then went swiftly and softly through the room to the hallway. The portiere swung to behind her—and I instantly forgot her existence, after vaguely supposing that she had gone to get her furs to show to Gretel, returning to the bedroom by the other door so as not to disturb us.

Platt was explaining the situation." A most unfortunate affair, Sir Peter! I fear I am overmuch preoccupied with the welfare of my fellows—and in consequence neglect my own. I certainly was surprised, when I went to my bank to see if I had enough money to purchase these chemical works, to find my balance so large—I am only too accustomed, alas! to find that my impulsive charity has denuded my little savings. But I only discovered last month that £3000 of the amount did not belong to me at all; it was part of a fund of which I am trustee. I am not allowed by our foolish laws to invest trust funds in such securities as this Schneezugchemischerwerke of ours; and I must replace the £3000 by the end of the month, or the consequences may be really most disastrous.” He broke off short, trembling with fear. He was not playing a part about this. He undoubtedly felt that it might be difficult to explain to an unsympathetic jury how a Trust Fund had lost its way to the extent of wandering into the Trustee’s private account without his suspecting it had behaved in so erratic a manner.

"You are a man of the world, Sir Peter,” he declared, almost blubbering," and I feel sure you understand.”

I am not altogether a man of the world, as a matter of fact; but, whether helped by the cocaine or not, I really did think I understood fairly well what had happened.

"But why not go to the City?" I repeated, "they ought to fight like wolves over such a plump little doe as the Schneezug!"

My dear Sir Peter!" He raised his hands in horrified surprise. "Surely, surely you realise that it may take years and years to educate the public to appreciate the difference between our Pure Cocaine, a wholesome household tonic, and the Impure Cocaine, which is a Deadly and Deleterious Habit-forming Drug! I felt I could approach you, because you are a man of the world, and a connoisseur, and—to be frank with you—because I took a liking for you the first time I saw you, so handsome and splendid with your beautiful young bride! But what, oh what, would people say if it became known that Jabez Platt had the majority of the shares in a Cocaine Factory? My dear Sir Peter, we are in England, remember!"

I wasn't deceived by any of the nauseating humbug of the scoundrel, but it was evident that his proposal was a genuine good thing.

The Schneezugchemischewerke had been paying well enough in the ordinary way when he bought them.

I determined to sell the necessary securities and take over the shares. My state of mind was exceedingly complex. My reasons for the purchase were not merely various but mutually exclusive. For one thing, the Satanistic idea of working evil for its own sake; for another, the schoolboy delight in doing things on the sly; then there was the simple and straightforward money lust. Again, my hatred of hypocrisy had turned into a fascination. I wanted to enjoy a taste of so subtle and refined a vice.

On the top of this there was a motive which really encroached on the category of insanity. On the one side I was exuberantly delighted to find myself in possession of boundless supplies of cocaine; on the other I was enraged with mankind for having invented the substance that had ruined my life, and I wanted to take my revenge on it by poisoning as many people as I could.

These ideas were tossed about in my mind like pieces of meat in boiling soup. The fumes intoxicated me. I shook Platt’s hand and promised to go down to my bank at once and make the necessary arrangements.

I swelled with the delirious pride of the great man of affairs who sees the golden opportunity and grasps it. More crazily still, I enjoyed the sensation of being the generous benefactor to a brother man in misfortune.

Platt pulled out his watch. "We could drive down at once and have our lunch in the city. Bless my soul,” he interrupted himself, "I shall never forgive myself for being so rude. I had quite forgotten Lady Pendragon and Mrs. Webster.”

"Oh, they’ll be delighted,” I tittered. "They’ll have a horrible lunch on cream buns and watercress and mince pies and champagne and go shopping afterwards like good little millionairesses.”

"Yes, indeed,” said Platt heartily and quite genuinely, "they’re that all right. As for us, we’ll lunch at Sweeting’s on oysters and stout and drink to the prosperity of Parliamentary Institutions.”

I laughed at the little joke, like a madman, and shouted wildly:—

"Come in, girls, and hear the news. We’re all going to be elected to the Diamond Dog-collar Club.”

Gretel appeared in the doorway. She was wearing a worried look which was perfectly incomprehensible.

Where is Lou?" she said at once, her shrill voice off pitch with agitation.

"Isn’t she with you?" I snapped back idiotically.

A sudden spasm of alarm set me shivering. What the devil could have happened?

Platt was more upset than any of us, of course. He had pulled off a delicate and dangerous intrigue; and at the moment of success he saw that his plan was in some incomprehensible danger. His mind's spy-glass showed him a bird's-eye view of the Old Bailey. The fact that there was no tangible reason for alarm only intensified the feeling of uneasiness.

"She must be hiding for a joke,” said Gretel in a hard, cold voice, mastering her anxiety by deliberate violence.

We hunted over the apartment. There was no sign of her; and her fur coat and cap were missing from the hall. I turned to Mrs. Webster.

"What happened?" I asked curtly.

The woman had resumed her mask. She threw a defiant glance at Platt, whose eyes shot a venomous question.

"1 can't understand it at all,” she said slowly. "She seemed very uneasy all the time she was in the bedroom. I thought she was missing her dope. If I had had any on me, I'd have given her a big jolt. Dummer Esel! I'll never go out without it again so long as I live. I forget what excuse she made. I thought it was just camouflage to go and get her heroin.”

Silence fell between us. Platt was afraid to say what he wanted to say. I was honestly puzzled. The incident had destroyed the effect of the cocaine I had taken. (It’s extraordinary how easy it is to break the spell). I went to the Tantalus and poured out three brandies, dropping a pinch of snow into mine to make sure of getting back to where I was.

Mrs. Webster had recovered her equipoise.

"We’re really very foolish children," she said gaily, as she sipped her brandy, "making all this fuss about nothing at all. There are a thousand and one reasons why she may have taken it into her head to go out. Why, of course—it’s awfully hot in here, she probably thought she’d take a turn in the fresh air. Anyhow, you don’t have to bother about me. You boys had better get down to the city and do your business. I’ll wait here for her until she turns up, and spank her hard for frightening us all like this.”

Platt and I put on our hats and coats. We were just shaking hands with Gretel, telling her to order herself a good lunch from downstairs, when we heard the latch-key put into the lock.

"There she is,” cried Gretel gaily. "What babies we have been!"

The door opened; but it was not Lou who came in. It was Maisie Jacobs, and her face was stern and set. She gave two quick formal bows to the others, took my hand, and said in a deep, tense voice:—

"You must come with me at once, Sir Peter. Lady Pendragon needs you.”

I went white. Once again I had been brought back from a complex chaos of conflicting emotions to the bed-rock truth which had been buried so elaborately and so often.

The deepest thing in myself was my love for my wife. I resented the realisation, and yet I could not bring myself to admit it. I asked, stupidly enough:

”Is anything wrong?" as if Maisie’s face, to say nothing of her appearance, were not sufficient guarantee of the seriousness of the situation.

"Come with me,” she repeated.

Gretel had been watching the dialogue like a cat. She flashed forked lightning at Platt, thinking that his fears might betray him into saying something irrevocably stupid.

"Of course, there’s only one thing to be done,” she said hurriedly, summing the psychology of the situation in a brilliant synthesis. "You must go at once with Miss Jacobs, Sir Peter. I needn’t say how terribly anxious I feel; but I hope there is nothing really wrong. I'll look in late this afternoon with Mr. Platt for news; and if everything is all right—I won’t allow myself to think that it can be otherwise—we can make an appointment for the morning over our business affairs. Don t let’s lose any time.”

I shook hands hastily and slipped my hand into Maisie's arm. She ran downstairs with me, leaving the others to wait for the lift.
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Sun Oct 06, 2019 5:44 am

CHAPTER IV: OUT OF HARM’S WAY

Lamus’s motor was at the door. Maisie sprang to the wheel and drove off without saying a word. I shivered at her side, filled with inexplicable qualms. The exaltation of the cocaine had completely left me. It seemed to increase my nervousness; and yet I resorted to it again and again during the short drive.

When we got to the studio, Lala was sitting as usual at the desk, but Lamus was walking up and down the room with his hands behind his back; his head bowed in thought so deep that he seemed not to notice our arrival. Lou had not removed her furs. She was standing like a statue in the middle of the room. The only sign of life was that her face continually flushed from white to red and back again. Her eyes were closed. For some reason or other she reminded me of a criminal awaiting sentence.

Lamus stopped short in his stride and shook hands with me.

"Take your things off, and sit down, Sir Peter,” he said brusquely. His manner was completely different from anything I’d ever seen in him. He turned away and flung himself into a chair, searched in his pockets for an old black pipe, filled it and lit it. He seemed the prey of a peculiar agitation. That again was utterly unlike him. He cleared his throat and got up, with an entire change of behaviour. He offered me one of his millionaire cigars and motioned to Lala to get me a drink.

"This is the latest fashion in the studio,” said Lala gaily. She was obviously trying to relieve the tension.

"Basil invented it last night. We call it Kubla Khan No 2. As you see, it's half gin and half Calvados, with nail a teaspoonful of cremede menthe and about twenty rops of laudanum. You filter it through cracked ice. Its really the most refreshing thing I know."

I accepted the luxuries automatically, but I couldn’t help fidgeting I wanted to get down to business, l could feel that something urgent was on hand. I didn't like the way Lou was acting. She stayed so absolutely still and silent, it was uncanny.

Lamus had taken three matches to light his pipe and it kept on going out between almost every puff. By-and-by he threw it angrily on the carpet and lighted a cigar.. There was a club fender round the grate. Maisie was sitting on it swinging her legs impatiently. We all seemed to be waiting for something to happen and it was as if nobody knew where to begin.

"Tell him, Lou," said Lamus suddenly.

She started as if he had struck her. Then she turned and faced me. For the first time in my life I realised how tall she was.

"Cockie," she said, "I’ve come to the cross-roads." She made a movement of swallowing, tried to go on and failed.

King Lamus sat up in his chair. He had completely recovered himself; and was watching the scene with impersonal, professional interest. Lala bent over his chair, and whispered long and earnestly in his ear. He nodded. Again he cleared his throat, and then began to speak in a strained voice.

"I think the simplest way in the long run is for Lady Pendragon to tell Sir Peter, as she has already told us, exactly what has happened, as if she were in the witness-box."

Lou began to twist herself about uneasily.

"I’m fed up," she burst out at last.

"The witness will kindly control herself," remarked Lamus, judicially.

The callousness of his tone restored Lou not merely to herself, but to herself as she might have been before I ever knew her.

"When those people arrived this afternoon," she said quite calmly, "I saw at once that they were up to some game. I knew why Gretel wanted to get me out of the room, and I tackled her about it point-blank. She told me the truth, I think, as nearly as a woman of that sort can ever get to it. Something about buying shares in a chemical works?"

"Yes, certainly," I returned, and I could feel the hostility creeping into my voice. “And why not? It's a wonderful investment and the chance of my life financially, and I don’t see why women have to poke their noses into men’s business which they don’t understand and never will. Between you, you may have made me miss my chance. Confound you! If I knew where to find Platt, I'd go around and sign the contract this moment. As it is, I can go down to the bank and arrange to get the money."

I pulled out my watch.

"I can’t even have my lunch, I suppose," I went on, working myself up deliberately into a fury.

Lou walked a few steps away and then turned back and faced me.

"Accept my apologies, Sir Peter," she said, in icy, deliberate tones. "I have no right whatever to interfere with your plans. After all, they don’t concern me any more."

I rose to my feet and flung away the half-smoked cigar into the fireplace.

"What do you mean by that? "I said passionately. I had something else in mind to say, but all of a sudden my whole being seemed to falter. I sat down weakly in the chair, gasping for breath. Through my half-shut eyes I could see Lou take an impulsive step towards me; and then, controlling herself, she recoiled as a man might who had approached what he thought was a beautifully marked piece of fallen timber and recognised it for a rattlesnake.

The pulse of my brain was beating feebly and slowly; but she went on with pitiless passion, and swept me away with the tempestuous rush of her contempt.

"I made an excuse, and came to see what was going on. I found you had utterly forgotten the facts. You were sniffing cocaine, not as an experiment, not because of any physical need, but as a vice pure and simple. You were already insane with it. I might have stood that, for I loved you. But that you should plan to become the partner of that murderous villain with his hypocritical piety, that was another matter. That was a matter of honour. I don’t know how long I stood there. I lived a lifetime in a second, and I made up my mind once for all to be done with such dirt. I slipped out and came here. I’m half insane myself at this moment with craving for H.; but I won’t take it till I've seen this thing through. The pain of my body helps me to bear up against the mortal anguish of my soul. Oh, I know it’s heroics and hysterics—you can call me what you like—what you say doesn’t count any more. But I want to live; and I have asked Basil to take me away as once he promised to do long before I met you. He has promised to cure me, and I hold him to that. He has promised to take me away, and I hold him to that. You can get a divorce. You’d better. For I never want to look upon your face again.”

The other three people in the room did not exist for me. I had to brace myself to meet Lou’s attack. There was absolute silence except for the sound of my sniffing. I became my own master again, and broke out into a fit of yelling laughter.

"So that s the game, is it?" I answered at last. "You are selling me out to buy a third share in that cad!"

I stopped to try to think of some viler insults; but my brain refused to work. It merely prompted me to abuse of the type usually associated with bargees. I spluttered out a torrent of foul language; but I felt even at the time that I was not doing myself justice. My remarks were received with complete indifference. Even Lou merely shrugged her shoulders, and looked at Lamus as much as to say, “You see I was right.”

Lamus slowly shook his head. As a matter of fact, I could hardly see. My eyesight was disturbed in some peculiar way which frightened me, and my heart began to protest. I took out the cocaine once more. To my astonishment, Lamus bounded from his chair and took the bottle from my hands. I wanted to get up and kill him; but a deathly faintness seized me. The room swam. Lamus returned to his chair, and once again silence fell on the studio.

I think I must have lost consciousness for a while; for I do not remember who put an ice-cold towel round my head or how it came about that the freezing moisture dripped down my spine.

I came to myself with a heavily heaved sigh. Every one was in the same position as before, except that Lou had taken off her furs and curled herself up on the settee.

"If you feel well enough, Sir Peter,” said Lamus, "you may as well hear the end of the story.”

Lou suddenly choked with sobs and buried her head in the cushions. Lamus gave a gesture which Lala apparently understood. She came forward and stood in front of me with her hands behind her back like a child repeating a lesson.

"Sir Peter,” she said in a gentle voice, "Basil explained to Lady Pendragon that she was taking a very wrong view of the matter. He told her that when people are getting over drug-habits they were liable to say and do things entirely foreign to their characters. We all know how abundantly you have shown your courage and your sense of honour. We know your race, and we know your exploits. What happened at the interview with Mr. Platt didn’t count. You were a sick man. That was all. Maisie suggested that she should go round and fetch you; and thank heaven she got there in time!" Lou twisted herself round, and turned savagely on King Lamus.

"I hold you to your promise,” she cried violently i hold you to your promise.”

“That, once more,” he said calmly, “is simply because you are a sick woman as much as he is a sick man."

"So it's honourable to break your word to a sick woman, is it? she flashed back like a tigress.

A curious smile curled his lips.

"Well what does Sir Peter say?" he asked with a Kind of lazy humour.

I suddenly became acutely conscious of what a ridiculous figure I was cutting, sitting there like a sick monkey with a towel round my head. I tore it off and dashed it to the ground.

Lala came forward immediately and picked it up. I felt the action as an insult. I was being treated as a person who is a nuisance making a mess in another man's studio. The effect was to induce a surly mood.

"What I say doesn't seem to matter,” I answered gruffly. But since you ask, I say this. Take her and keep her and let me hear no more of her. And I'll say thank you."

My own voice made me wince. Could it really be I who was indulging in this vulgar repartee? It was an extraordinary thing the way everything that happened seemed to make my position less and less dignified.

The thought was interrupted by Lou's gleaming tones.

"There Basil, he sets me free. I come to you without a stain. You can keep your promise without breaking your faith."

She got up from the sofa and went across to his chair. She threw herself at his feet, and buried her face in his knees; while her long arms reached up and groped for his face to stroke it.

He patted her head affectionately.

"Yes, he said, we re free, and I'll keep my promise. I’ll cure you, and I’ll take you away with me. But will you let me make one condition?"

She lifted her face to his. In spite of the physical wreckage of the last few months, love was able to transform her bodily. She was radiantly beautiful. She only waited for him to take her in his arms. She was trembling all over with ecstatic passion.

I gripped the arms of my chair in futile rage. Before my very face the only woman I had ever loved had disowned me, cast me off with contempt, and was offering herself to another man with the same impulsive ardour that she had once shown toward me. No, by all the powers of hell, it was worse! For I had wooed her rapturously; and he had made no effort.

"One condition?" her voice rang high and clear through the studio. "I’m giving you myself, my Lord and lover; body and soul to have and to hold. What do conditions matter to me?"

"Well,” said King Lamus, "it’s really only a small condition; and to prove that I keep my promises, I must keep them all round. You see, I promised to cure Sir Peter, too, and so my condition is that he comes with us.”

She sprang to her feet as if a cobra had struck her. Her long arms wrestled against the unresisting air. The humiliation was unspeakable. Lamus put his pipe away in his pocket, rose to his feet, and stretched himself like some great lazy lion. He took her in his arms and held her firmly, fixing his eyes upon her tortured face; the long jagged scarlet mouth stretched to a tragic square through which the scream refused to come.

He shook her shoulders gently. Her rigid muscles began to relax.

"It’s a deal, then, little girl,” he said.

Her mouth closed, and then curled itself into a smile of exquisite happiness. The sombre fire of lust died out of her eyes. They kindled with the light of understanding.

He put his arm around her waist, and brought her over to me, his right hand fastened under my arm-pit And he lifted me bodily out of my chair as if he had reached down like Hercules into the darkest depths of hell, and dragged forth a damned soul into the light of heaven.

He put her hands in mine and closed his own over them.

"Whom God hath joined together,” he said solemnly "let no man put asunder.”

He turned on his heel and became a man of quick decisive action.

"Maisie, he said, "you have the key. Go over and have their things packed and leave them in the cloak room at Victoria. Lala, 'phone for reserve places and a cabin for these good people on the boat. London's no place for us—too many philanthropists about seeking whom they may devour. Ring up Dupont and have him send in dinner for five for seven o'clock. We'll catch the ten o'clock and be in Telepylus sabse jeldi."

Maisie was already out of the studio and Lala at the telephone before he had finished talking. He turned to us with the same affectation of hustle.

“Here, young people,” he said breezily. “Your nerves are all shot to pieces, and no wonder. White tablets for two and a little H. to sweeten them And you've missed your lunch! That's too bad. We'll have an old-fashioned high tea. I know there's something to eat in the coal scuttle or somewhere, and Lala can cook something while I make the buttered toast. You sit down and talk and make your plans for honeymoon number eight, or whichever it is. And don't get in my way,, because I'm going to be a very busy man. In fact, it s rather lucky that I’ve acquired the habit of starting for three years' trips around the world at three minutes notice.”

It was half an hour before tea was ready. Lou and I sat on the sofa, shaken and sore by what we had gone through. Morally, mentally, physically—we were both aching with the most cruel fatigue. And yet its waves surged vainly against the silent and immovable rock of our sublime felicity. It did not find expression. We were far too weary. And yet we were aware in some deepest part of our consciousness, laid bare for the first time by the remorseless stripping off of all its upper layers, that it existed. It always had existed "before the beginning of years," and always would exist. It had nothing to do with conditions of time and space. It was an ineffable union, in infinity, of our individualities.

I must not describe our journey to Telepylus in any detail. If once the beauty of the place were discovered, it would soon be spoilt. There is no harm, however, in indicating what the place itself is like, especially as not less than three thousand years ago it became one of the most famous places in the world. And one of its chief claims was that even then it was famous for the ruins of forgotten civilisations. To-day, the hand of man has left ephemeral scribbles all over the great rock which dominates the city.

Approaching Telepylus from the west, we were astounded when that mighty crag burst into view as the train rounded a comer. Like another Gibraltar it stood out against a background of sky twelve hundred feet above the sea. It stretched out two great paws over the city like a crouching lion playing with its prey which it was about to devour—as indeed it is.

The biggest morsel there is a magnificent cathedral dating from the Normans. It stands on an eminence below the edge of the overhung cliff, and beneath it the town is spread like a fan. It is reduced to insignificance by the cathedral as the cathedral is by the rock; and yet one’s familiarity with the size of an ordinary house makes one run up the scale instead of down it.

The town is witness to the stupendous size of the cathedral; and as soon as one has realised the cathedral, it, in its turn, becomes a measure of the grandeur of the rock.

We walked up from the station to the residence of King Lamus, high on the hillside above the neck of land which joins it to the rock. The cliffs towered above us. They were torn into huge pinnacles and gullies; but above the terrific precipices we could see the remains of successive civilisations; Greek temples, Roman walls, Saracen cisterns, Norman gateways, and houses of all periods were perishing slowly on the gaunt, parched crags.

It was very hard work for Lou and myself to climb the hill in the wretched condition of our health. We had to sit down repeatedly on the huge boulders which lined the paths that wound among the well-tilled fields dotted with gnarled gray olives.

The air of the place was a sublime intoxication, and yet its enchantment merely rubbed into our souls the shame of our wretched physical condition. We had to take several goes of heroin on the way We didn't see why we couldn't have had a carriage part of the way. But it was part of King Lamus's plan, no doubt, that we should be stung with the realisation of our impotence in so divine a spot, where every voice of nature swelled the chorus that spurred us to physical activity. Our invalidism had not seemed so horribly unnatural in London as it did in this consecrated temple of beauty.

Lamus himself seemed invigorated to an extraordinary degree by his home-coming. He gambolled like a young goat while we plodded gaspingly up the slope. And while we rested he told us the history of the monuments that crumbled on the crags.

"This place will help you to correct your ideas" he said, "of what is permanent, so far as anything is permanent."

We were indeed filled with a feeling of the futility of human effort as we contemplated the layers of civilisations, and looked down upon that last of them which was still flourishing, although the signs of decay were only too obvious. The modern town was not even built with the idea of defying the centuries. It was essentially flimsy and ramshackle, and the events of the last few hours had given repeated evidence not only of the state of social unrest which was likely at any moment to lay the modem structure in ruins, but of general lassitude and lack of energy on the part of everybody with whom we came into contact.

Our little party obviously represented undreamed-of possibilities of doing good business. But no one seemed to want to fulfil even that last of human ambitions: the acquiring of the good will of prosperous travellers.

"Don’t be downhearted,” laughed Lamus. "Your trouble is that you are looking for permanence in the wrong place. Do you see those two men?"

On the road below us were two goatherds, one driving his flock up from the town after having been milked, the other driving them down for that purpose.

Lamus quoted two lines of Greek poetry. I did not remember enough to be able to translate them, but the words had an extraordinarily familiar ring. Lamus translated.

"‘The city Telepylus, where the shepherd who drives his flock into the town salutes another who is driving them out, and the other returns his salute. A man in that country could earn double wages if he could do without sleep, for they work much the same by night as they do by day.’

That was written three thousand years ago, and even the name of the woman who wrote that poem, albeit it is one of the most famous poems in the world, is lost. But there are the shepherds saluting each other to-day as they did then. IIANTA PEI said Heracleitus, 'all things flow.’ And everything that tries to escape that law, that relies on its strength, that becomes rigid, that endeavours to call a halt, is broken up by the irresistible waves of time. We think steel stronger than water; but we cannot build a ship to resist its action Compare the soft-flowing winds with the inflexible rock. We breath those winds into our lungs to-day—the air is as fresh as ever. But see how those temples and strongholds, nay, the very crags themselves have been worn down by the languorous caresses of this invigorating breeze. That is one of the reasons why I came to live here, though one hardly needs support after one glance at the incomparable beauty of the place; a beauty which varies every day and never tires Look at the sunset every night. It is good for two hours of grand opera. It is almost stupefying to sit on the terrace of the villa and watch the ever-changing glories of night-fall. And night itself! There stands the Pole Star over the rock. As the months move the Great Bear wheels about its stable splendour and ones mind begins to work on a totally different scale of time. Each revolution of the heavens about the Pole is like the second hand of one's spiritual watch."

We listened with enthralled attention. The beauty of the place beat hard upon our brains. It was unbelievable. Patches of cancer like London and Paris were cut ruthlessly out of our consciousness. We had come from the ephemeral pretentiousness of cities to a land of eternal actuality. We were re-born into a world whose every condition was on a totally different scale to anything in our experience. A sense of innocence pervaded us. It was as if we had awakened from a nightmare; our sense of time and space had been destroyed; but we knew that our old standards of reality had been delusions. Clocks and watches were mechanical toys. In Telepylus, our time-keeper was the Nature of which we were part.

We walked on for another five minutes; but again weakness overcame us. The scenery was blotted out by the persistent ache for heroin. We satisfied the craving, but the act now seemed abominable. There was no one to see us; and yet we felt as if Nature herself were offended by the presence of a monstrosity.

I go on to the Abbey," said Lamus. "You'd better take it easy. I’ll tell them to get some refreshments ready and send some one down to bring you along.”

He waved his hand and strode up the hill with the steady swinging step of the practised mountaineer.

Lou's hand crept into mine. We were alone with nature. A new feeling had been born in us. The sense of personality had somehow faded out. I drew her gently into my arms; and we exchanged a long kiss such as we had never done before. We were not kissing each other. We were parts of the picture, whose natural expression it was to kiss.

"Hadn’t we better go on?" said Lou after a while, releasing herself.

But at this moment we found ourselves confronted by a very extraordinary person indeed. It was a fair-haired boy of five years old, bare-footed but dressed in a short robe of rich blue with wide sleeves and a hood; the lining was of scarlet. He had a very serious face, and accosted us with a military salute:—

"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,” said the little fellow stoutly, and held out his hand. "I've come to take you up to the Abbey.”

Even Lou realised that it was quite impossible to pick up such an important little person and kiss him. We entered into the solemnity of the occasion with proper dignity, and got up and shook hands.

Then, running down behind him, came an even smaller boy.

"Love law, love will,” he said. It was obviously a point of politeness.

"They don’t know what to say,” explained the elder boy in a lenient tone. "My name is Hermes,” he said to Lou, "and this is my friend Dionysus.”

We broke into a fit of uncontrollable laughter which Hermes evidently thought highly improper. But Dionysus said to Lou, "I’ll dive you a bid tiss.”

She caught up the astonishing brat, and returned his salute with interest. When she put him down, he gave each of us one of his hands while Hermes led the way up the hill in an extremely business-like manner, looking back from time to time to make sure that we were all right.

Dionysus seemed to think it his business to entertain us with an account of the various objects alone: the road.

"That’s the nice man’s house down there,” he said, "I'll take you to lunch with him if you promise to behave properly. And that’s where the doat-woman lives,” he went on, apparently assured by our guarantees of proper conduct.

The solemnity of the elder boy and the rollicking disposition of the other carried us from spasm to spasm of suppressed laughter.

"We seem to have walked straight into a fairy tale,” said Lou.

"The Big Lion says that that’s the only true kind of tale,” replied Hermes, evidently prepared to argue the subject at great length if necessary. But I admitted the truth of his statement without difficulty.

"That’s the Abbey,” he went on, as we turned the corner of the hillside. And a long, low, white building came into sight.

"But that isn’t an Abbey,” I protested. "That’s a villa.”

That’s because you’re looking with the wrong kind of eyes, objected Hermes. "I used to think the same myself before I was educated.”

Do you think Mr. Lamus will be able to educate us?" I asked, overpowered by a sense of the comicality of the situation.

Oh, he isn’t Mr. Lamus here,” retorted Hermes loftily. "Here he’s the Big Lion, and of course he can train anybody that isn’t too old or too stupid. I was very stupid myself when I first came here,” he continued in an apologetic tone. “It was the turning point of my career.”

The child was certainly not more than five years old, and his conversation was absolutely incredible. The feeling grew that we had somehow strayed into an enchanted country. At the same time the country was enchanting.

Dionysus was all on fire to get us up to the Abbey, and tugged at our arms.

“Now Di," said Hermes, "you know it’s wrong to pull at people like that. It's one of the rules," he explained to Lou, "not to interfere with people. The Big Lion says that every one would get on all right if only he were left alone."

He seemed to think the statement required explanation.

"Cypris is reading Gibbon to us this week; and she shows us how all the trouble came from people meddling with other people’s business."

I shouted with laughter. "Gibbon? "I cried, "What next, I wonder?"

"Well, one must know Roman history," explained Hermes, in the tone of a head master addressing an educational conference.

"And what did you read last week? "said Lou, though she was rocking with laughter as much as I was.

"Shelley was being read to us," he corrected. "We don’t read ourselves."

"The Tenth don’t dance," I quoted.

"Don't be an ass, Cockie," said Lou.

"Well, Hermes, but why don’t you read?"

"The Big Lion doesn’t want us to learn," he said. "We have to learn to use our eyes, and reading spoils them."

"But why? "asked Lou, in surprise. "I don’t understand. I thought reading was the best way to get knowledge."

Dionysus put his foot down.

"Enough of Betause, be he damned for a dod."

It wasn't physical fatigue this time. These amazing children had made us forget all physical sensation. But when one is walking up-hill it is impossible to laugh as we wanted to laugh. We sat down on a patch of grass ablaze with flowers and rolled over and over, tearing up tufts of grass and biting them to overcome our emotions.

Dionysus evidently thought it was a game and began to romp; but Hermes, though evidently eager to join in the fun, was held back by his sense of responsibility.

Where on earth did you learn such extraordinary language?" cried Lou at last, the tears running down her cheeks.

Hermes became more serious than ever.

"It’s from the Book of the Law. Change not so much as the style of a letter," he said.

We began quite seriously to wonder whether we had not got into one of those fantastic waking dreams with which heroin had made us familiar. But this was a dream of a totally different quality. It had a strain of wholesomeness and actuality running through its incredible tissue of marvels.

At last we sat up and drew a long breath. Hermes hastened to assist Lou to her feet, and the action, natural as it was, coming from such an extraordinary quarter, set us off laughing again.

Dionysus was regarding us with big serious eyes.

"You’ll do,” he suddenly decided; and began to execute a little step-dance of his own.

But we could see that Hermes, with all his unwillingness to interfere with other people, was impatient; and we scrambled to our feet. This time, Lou took his hand, and left me to bring up the rear with Dionysus, who poured forth an unending stream of prattle. I could not even hear it; the whole thing was too much for me.

We came out on to the terrace of the villa; King Lamus was standing in the open doorway. He had changed his travelling clothes for a silken robe of the brightest blue, with scarlet linings to the hood and sleeves like that of the boys. But on the breast in golden embroidery was an Egyptian eye within an equilateral triangle which was surrounded by a sun- blaze of rays.

Behind him stood two women in robes similar to those of the boys. One was about twenty-five years old, and the other nearer forty. Both had bobbed hair; the younger woman’s of flaming chestnut, the elder’s a rich silvery gray.

"That’s the Bid Lion,” said Dionysus, "with Athena and Cypris.”

Hermes drew back and told us confidentially: “Now you be the first to say ‘Do what thou wilt’ to show you’re more awake than they are.”

We nodded encouragingly, and carried out the programme with success.

"Love is the law, love under will,” answered the three people in the doorway. "Welcome to the Abbey of Thelema!"

In a moment, as by the breaking of a spell, the seriousness broke up. We were introduced warmly to the women, and began jabbering as if we had known each other all our lives. Basil had taken the two gods on his knees, and was listening happily to Hermes’ story of how he had acquitted himself of his responsibility

A table had been brought out on to the terrace, and we sat down to a meal. Athena put us in our places, and then explained that it was the custom at the Abbey to eat in silence; “as soon,” she said, "as we have said Will.”

What did she mean by "saying Will?" We had heard of saying grace before meat, but it was a long while since either of us had said it. However, the little mystery was soon explained.

She knocked on the table with the handle of a Tunisian dagger, its steel blade inlaid with silver. She knocked three times, then five, then three times more. Some significance was apparently attached to this peculiar method. She then said:—

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

Dionysus showed signs of strong agitation. It was his turn to answer, and he was terribly afraid of forgetting his words in the presence of strangers. He looked up to Cypris pleadingly, and she whispered into his ear.

"What is dy will?" with a sudden burst of confidence and pride.

"It is my will to eat and drink,” replied Athena gravely.

"To what end?" inquired Dionysus doubtfully.

"That my body may be fortified thereby."

The brat looked about him uneasily, as if the answer had taken the wind out of his sails. Cypris pressed his hand, and he brightened up again.

"To what end?" he repeated boldly.

"That I may accomplish the Great Work,” replied Athena.

Dionysus seemed to have got on to his game. He retorted without the slightest hesitation.

"Love is the law, under will.”

"Love is the law, love under will,” corrected Cypris; and the baby repeated it solemnly.

"Fall to,” cried Athena cheerfully, and sat down.
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Sun Oct 06, 2019 6:02 am

CHAPTER V: AT TELEPYLUS

Lunch consisted of fish of a kind that we had never seen before; long, thin bodies with beaks like swordfish. We were very hungry; but they would have tasted exquisite under any circumstances. The meal continued with cheese, honey, and medlars; and ended gloriously with real Turkish coffee; not one cup but as many as we wanted; and Benedictine.

We had drunk the rough, strong wine of the country with the meal; and to us it tasted as if it had been the best red wine ever made. It had not been submitted to any chemical process. There was a sort of vitality inherent in it. It was primitive like all the arrangements of the Abbey, but the freshness and naturalness of everything made more than amends even to our cultivated palates. We were apparently sitting down to lunch with a choice selection of Olympian Deities; and the food seemed to be in keeping!

Besides that, we had no time to be critical; we were overwhelmed by the beauty of our surroundings.

Far away to the west, a line of hills ran out into the sea, the farther peaks were over fifty miles away, yet in that translucent atmosphere of spring they stood out sharply. We could even see in front of the range a small, dark line of crags which jutted out parallel with them and about ten miles nearer. Thence the coast line swept towards us in a complex curve of indescribable beauty and majesty. Telepylus being itself on a promontory, there was nothing to break the mighty stretch of sea between us and the distant range with its twin cones which overhang the principal city of the country; the city from which we had started that morning.

To the left of the coast line, a range of tumbled mountains, fantastically shaped and coloured, reached thence to the very hillside on which we were sitting. In front the ocean reached to the horizon. The light played upon its waves like some mysterious melody of Debussy’s. It varied in hue from the most delicate canary yellow and glaucous green through infinite changing shades of peacockry to lilacs and deep purples. Ever-changing patches of colour wandered about the surface in kaleidoscopic fantasy.

A little to the right again, the limitless prospect of water was cut off by a precipitous cliff crowned by the ruins of a church, and up again to the right, the sheer crag reared its perpendicular terror to the skyline; a jagged line of quaintly carven pinnacle. Beyond these the slope suddenly eased off, and thence the rock took a final leap to its summit on which stood the remains of ancient Grecian temples.

With even greater suddenness the right hand precipice plunged clear into the sea. But on this side the view was closed in by groves of olive, cactus, and oak. The terrace before us was edged by a rock garden where flowered enormous geraniums, bushes of huge daisies, tall stems of purple iris, and a clump of reeds twice a man s height that swayed like dancers to the music of the gentle breeze that streamed up from the slopes of the sea.

Below the terrace were mulberry, cherry, and apple tress in blossom, together with a number of many-coloured trees whose names I did not know.

Between the house and the hill that overhung it on the south was a grassy garden shadowed by a gigantic tree of unfamiliar leaves, and behind this stood two Persian nuts, like cyclopean telegraph poles tufted with dark green leaves which reminded one of a guardsman's busby.

With the arrival of the coffee the rule of silence was broken. But Lamus had already left the table. Athena explained that the theory of meals in the Abbey was that they were deplorable interruptions to work, and that “ Will ” was said before beginning to eat in order to emphasise the fact that the only excuse for eating was that it was necessary to keep one’s body in condition to assist one in the performance of the Great Work, whatever that might be in any particular case. When any one had finished he or she got up and went away without ceremony, the interruption being over.

Lamus now came out of the house in a flannel shirt and buckskin riding breeches. He sat down and began to drink his coffee and Benedictine. He was smoking a thin, black cigar, so strong that its very appearance was alarming.

“I hope you’ll excuse me this afternoon,” he said, ”I have to go and inspect the other houses. This house is the antechamber, so to speak, where we receive strangers. In the other houses, various courses of training are carried on according to the Wills of their inhabitants. You will sleep here, of course, and considering the reason for which you have come—No, Dionysus, this isn’t the time to say ‘He shall fall down into the pit called Because, and there he shall perish with the dogs of Reason’—I will sleep down here for the present instead of in my lonely little tower, as I usually do.”

We noticed that Cypris and the boys had slipped away quietly; but Athena sat engrossed in studying us.

"In the absence of Lala,” he said, "Sister Athena is our chief psychologist. You will find her knowledge very useful to you and your work. I will leave her to talk things over with you for the next couple of hours. But, of course, the first thing is to get you rested from your journey.”

He got up and walked off round the corner of the house. We didn’t feel that we needed rest, we were much too interested by the atmosphere of the place. It was not merely the curious customs that stimulated our imaginations; there was an indefinable atmosphere about the place and the people which left us at a loss. The mixture of simplicity and elegance was in itself bizarre but still more so was the combination of absolute personal liberty with what was evidently in some ways a rather severe discipline. The automatic regularity with which everything was done seemed to imply an almost Prussian routine.

Lou saw the point at once, and with her usual frankness asked Sister Athena outright to explain it.

"Thank you for reminding me,” said Sister Athena. "The Big Lion said you had better rest. Suppose you lie down in the studio. I know you don't want to go to sleep, but we can talk there just as well as we can here. So you'd better make yourselves comfortable while I explain our funny little ways."

The arrangements for repose were as primitive as everything else. The studio was furnished with narrow mattresses on steel springs on the floor. They were covered with comfortable cushions. We threw ourselves down with a certain hesitation; but immediately discovered that we were much more at home than if we had been at a higher elevation. It made the room seem larger, and the sensation of rest was more in evidence. There was a sort of finality about being so low, and it was certainly much more convenient to have our drinks and cigarettes on the floor than on a table. We found out that we had always gone about the world with a subconscious fear of knocking things over. I began to understand why a picnic on the grass gives such a sense of freedom. It was the absence of a worry which had annoyed us none the less because we had not been aware of it.

Sister Athena stretched herself out on a folding chair, also very low. It was no trouble for her to pick up her glass from the ground.

"About what you asked,” she began, "it’s perfectly true that we have vanadium steel discipline in this place; but we are made to think out everything for ourselves and the regulations don’t bother us, as soon as we see their object.

In civilised life, so-called, at least two-thirds of every one’s time is wasted on things that don’t matter. The idea of this place is to give every one the maximum time for doing his own Will. Of course, if you come here with the fixed determination to resent everything that is different to what you are accustomed to, you can work yourself up into a constant irritation, which is all the worse because there is nothing to interfere with your indulgence. When I came here two years ago, every detail was an annoyance and an insult. But I came around gradually, through seeing that everything had been thought out. These people were enormously more efficient than I was, through economising the time and trouble which I had been accustomed to waste on trifles. I could no more fight them than Dionysus could fight Jack Dempsey. There is absolutely nothing to do here in the way of amusement except walking and climbing and reading, and playing Thelema; and, of course, bathing in the summer. The housework occupies practically no time at all because of the simplification of life. There is nowhere to go and nothing to do. The result is that with eating and everything else thrown in there is not much more than an hour of our waking time which is occupied by what one may call necessary work. Compare that with London! Mere dressing accounts for more than that. These robes are decorative enough for a royal banquet and yet they’re absolutely practical for anything but rock climbing. To dress or undress is a matter of thirty seconds. Even our climbing clothes—it’s merely a shirt and a pair of breeches, stockings and tennis shoes instead of these sandals—and off we go.”

Lou and I listened sleepily to this disquisition. We were so interested that we simply had to keep awake. We each took a big sniff of heroin for the purpose. Sister Athena jumped up from her chair.

"That reminds me,” she said, "I must get you your charts.”

She went to a cabinet and produced two forms. We languidly marked our little crosses in the proper section.

"Excuse the interruption,” she said, "but the Magical Record is always the first consideration in the Abbey.”

The heroin woke me completely.

"I see the point, I think. All your rules are intended to reduce the part of life that has to be run by rules, as much as possible.”

"That’s it,” she nodded emphatically.

"But I say,” said Lou, "it’s all very well; but I don’t know whatever I’m to do with myself. The time must hang frightfully heavy on your hands.”

"God forgive you,” cried Athena. "One never has a minute one can call one’s own!"

We laughed outright.

"It’s easy to see you’re a pupil of King Lamus. You have acquired his talent for paradox in a very complete manner.”

"I know what you mean,” she said, smiling. "If you’re a lazy person, this is the worst place in the world for getting bored, and the lazier you determine to be the more bored you get. We had two people last year, absolutely hopeless rotters. They called themselves writers, and imagined they were working if they retired solemnly after breakfast and produced half a page of piffle by lunch. But they didn’t know the meaning of work; and the place nearly drove them insane. They were bored with the Abbey, and bored with each other, and were very insulted because everybody laughed at them. But they couldn't see the way out, and wouldn’t take it when it was shown them. It made them physically ill, and they went away at last to every one’s relief to an environment where they could potter about indefinitely and pose as great geniuses. The Big Lion does more in a day than they will ever do in their lives if they live into the next century. I’m sorry, too, as sorry as sorry can be. They were delightful personally, when they weren't pinned to a cork by their fixed ideals of what we ought to be doing. They had come one thousand miles to be trained, and then wouldn’t give us a chance to train them. But they have good brains, and the stamp of this Abbey never wears off. They’re better and wiser for their stay here, and they’ll be better and wiser still as soon as they allow themselves to admit it!"

"You don’t encourage us much,” said Lou in a really alarmed tone. "I haven’t got even the consolation of these people. I can’t fool myself that I am a Wunder kind. You probably know without my telling you that I’ve done nothing all my life but potter. And if I’ve nothing to potter about, I go off into the blackest boredom.”

Sister Athena acquiesced.

"Yes, this place is kill or cure,” she admitted, with a laugh. "But I’m glad to say that it’s cure for most people. The two I was telling you about only failed because their vanity and selfishness was so extreme. They interpreted everything wrong, and expected the world to fall down and worship them for being wastrels. And at every turn they found the Big Lion in the way, to bring them back to reality. But the truth was too bitter medicine for them. If they had accepted the facts, they could have altered the facts; and learnt to do something worth while. But they preferred to cherish delusions of persecution. They persuaded themselves that they were being crucified when they were only having their faces washed. But the paint of self-esteem had been put on too thick; so away they went, and said how badly they’d been treated. Well, they had asked for the treatment themselves; and it will do them some good yet when they see the thing in perspective and discover that the adulation of their silly little clique of cranks in Soho is not really so good for their souls as the accurate abuse of their friends in this Abbey.”

"Yes, I see that all right," said Lou, "and I know Basil too well to make that kind of fool of myself. But I'm still a little worried about this horrid efficiency of yours. Whatever am I to do with myself? Don't you understand that it was really boredom or the dread of it that drove me to heroin to pass away the time?"

"That's just it," said Athena very seriously. "This is all kinds of a place for driving a fellow to drink. And that’s why the Big Lion insists on our going through the mill. But it takes us a very short time to realise that there is not enough heroin in the world to tide us over a single day in such a ghastly place, so we quit."

Here was another of Basil's paradoxes in full working order. But they came quite differently from the lips of a steady-going serious-minded person of this kind. The personality of the Big Lion is his greatest asset in one way, but in another it handicaps him frightfully. His cynical manner, his habitual irony, the sensation he produces that he is making fun of one; all these make one inclined to dismiss everything that he says as "mere paradox" without investigation. Lamus is too clever by half; but Sister Athena spoke with such simple earnestness and directness that although she too had a sense of humour of her own, Basil’s ideas were very much more effective when they had passed through the machinery of her mind than when they frothed fresh from his. I had always been inclined to distrust King Lamus. It was impossible to distrust this woman who trusted him, or to doubt that she was right to trust him."

He never seemed able even to take himself seriously, perhaps because he was afraid of appearing pompous or a prig; but she had taken him seriously and got the best out of him.

"Well, Sister Athena," said Lou, "if even heroin’s no good, what is?"

"I'm afraid I’ll have to treat you to another paradox," she said, lighting a cigarette. "I'm afraid that at first sight you’ll think there must be something wrong. It’s really such a revolutionary reversal of what seems obvious. But I've been through it myself, and the plain fact is this: finding ourselves here with so much more time on our hands than we ever had in our lives, we get desperate. In a big city, if we're bored, we simply look around for some diversion, and there are plenty of them. But here, there's no alleviation or the possibility of it. We must either go under completely or decide to swim. Here's another case where the Big Lion, who must certainly be Satan himself, economises time. One has to be very stupid not to discover within forty-eight hours that there is no possibility of amusing oneself in any of the ordinary ways. In London one could waste one's life before bringing one's mind to the point where Big Lion wants it. So one finds oneself immediately up against the fact that one has got to find something to do. Well, we go and ask Big Lion; and Big Lion says: ‘ Do what thou wilt.’ 'But, yes,' we say, 'what is that?' He replies rudely, 'Find out.’ We ask how to find out; and he says, 'How do you know what is the good of a motorcar?' Well, we think a bit; and then we tell him that we find out the use of a motor-car by examining it, looking at its various parts, comparing it and them with similar machines whose use we already know, such as the bullock wagon and the steam engine. We make up our minds that an automobile is constructed in order to travel along the high road. ‘Very good,’ says Big Lion, ‘go up top. Examine yourself, your faculties and tendencies, the trend of your mind, and the aspirations of your soul. Allow me to assure you that you will find this investigation leaves you very little time to wonder what in the devil to do with yourself.’ ‘Thank you very much,' we say, 'but suppose our judgment is wrong, suppose that what we have decided is an automobile intended to go, is in reality a coffin intended to contain a corpse?’ ‘Quite so,’ says Big Lion, ‘ you have to test your judgment; and you don't do that by asking the opinion of people who are probably more ignorant than yourself; you get into the beastly thing and press the proper button, and if it goes it's an automobile, and you've made no mistake. Didn't you read what it says in the Book of the Law: "Success is your proof?" And allow me again to assure you that when you've got yourself going, doing your True Will, you won't find you have any time to get bored.’"

She threw away her cigarette after lighting another from the butt. She seemed to be brooding, as if much deeper thoughts were passing through her mind than even those to which she was giving such airy expression.

We watched her intently. The heroin had calmed and intensified our thought, which was intensely stimulated by her explanation. We had no wish to interrupt. We wished she could have gone on talking for ever.

Her self-absorption became still more marked. After a very long pause she went on slowly talking, so it seemed, to herself more than to us and with the intention to giving form to her own idea, that of instructing us.

"I suppose that must be the idea,” she said.

She had a curious mouth, with square-cut lips like one sees in some old Egyptian statues, and a twist at the corners in which lurked incalculable possibilities of self-expression. Her eyes were deep-set and calm. It was a square face with a very peculiar jaw expressing terrific determination. I have never seen a face in which courage was so strongly marked.

Yes, I think I see it now. He forces one to come to what I might call the point of death. The whole of life is reviewed in perspective, and its meaning seized. But instead of being snatched away to face the unknown, as in the case of death, one has the opportunity and the necessity to take up the old life from the point at which one left off, with a clear apprehension of the past which determines the future. That is the meaning of what he calls initiation. I understand ‘Thou hast no right but to do thy will.' That is why the old hierophants shut up the candidate in silence and darkness. He had the choice between going mad or knowing himself. And when he was brought out into light and life, restored to love and liberty, he was in very truth a Neophyte, a man new-born. Big Lion puts us through it without our knowing what he’s doing. Though I’ve been through it myself, I didn’t know in this clear way what had really happened until I tried to explain it to you.”

The sense of being enchanted came over me again very strongly. I looked across at Lou, and I could see in her eyes that she felt the same. But she was trembling with excitement and eagerness. Her eyes were fixed on the face of Sister Athena with devouring ardour. She was looking forward to undergoing this terrific experience. My own mood was slightly different. Already my past life surged up before me in a series of pulsating pictures. I was revolted by the incoherence and fatuity of the past. The achievements of which I was proudest had lost their savour because they pointed to nowhere in particular. The words of Lewis Carroll came into my mind:—

"A wise fish never goes anywhere without a porpoise.” And quite inconsequentially my brain took up the tune:—

"Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
Won’t you join the dance?"


When I woke it was, I suppose, about midnight. Rugs had been thrown over me where I lay. I was quite warm, despite the breeze that came in through the open door. It struck me as very strange that it should be open. The country was notoriously infested with brigands.

King Lamus was sitting at his desk writing by the light of a lamp. I watched him idly, feeling very comfortable and disinclined to move.

Presently I heard the deep booming of a bell in the far-off cathedral. It was twelve o’clock.

He immediately rose and went to the doorway, down the steps and on to the moonlit terrace. He faced the north. In a deep solemn voice he recited what was apparently an invocation.

"Hail unto thee who art Ra in thy silence, even unto thee who art Kephra the beetle, that travellest under the heavens in thy bark in the midnight hour of the sun. Tahuti standeth in his splendour at the prow and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm. Hail unto thee from the abodes of evening!"

He accompanied the speech with a complicated series of gestures. When he had finished he returned and noticed that I was awake.

"Well, did you have a good sleep?" he said softly, standing over my mattress.

"I never had a better one.”

It would be impossible to give the details of even one day at Telepylus. Life there has all the fullness of the heroin life with none of its disillusions. I must simply select such incidents as bear directly on our Purgatorio.

I dropped off to sleep again after a short chat with Basil about indifferent affairs, and woke in the morning very much refreshed, and yet overpowered by the conviction that it was impossible to get up without heroin.

But the bright spring sun, his rays falling so freshly on the crags green-gray and dun opposite, reminded me that I had come to Telepylus to renew my youth. I held back my hand. Little by little, strength came back to me; but as it did so the feeling of helplessness in the absence of heroin was replaced by the presence of craving for it.

I dragged myself from the mattress and got unsteadily to my feet. Lou was still sleeping, and she looked so lovely in the pure pale light that filtered into the room that I took a firmer resolve to break off the habit that had destroyed our love. It was only in sleep that she was beautiful at ail in these last months. Waking, the expression of tenseness and wretchedness, the nervous twitching of her face and the destruction of her complexion by the inability of the liver to throw off the toxic effects of the drug, made her look not only twice her age but ugly, with that ugliness of vice and illness which is so much more repulsive than any merely aesthetic errors of nature.

Lou, more than any girl I ever knew, depended for her beauty upon her spiritual state. The influence of an idea would transform her in a moment from Venus to Echidna or the reverse.

It was deep spiritual satisfaction that made her so lovely this morning. But even as I stood and looked, the horrible restlessness of the heroin craving nearly drove me to take the stuff without my body telling me what it was doing. But I detected the movement in time.

I thought a brisk walk might help me to pass through the critical moment. Just as I got out of the house, I was met by Sister Athena.

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

It was the regular morning greeting at the Abbey. Accustomed as I was to the phrase, it still took me rather aback.

"Good-morning," I said in a rather embarrassed way.

"The answer is ‘Love is the law, love under will,'" she smiled. "We exchange this greeting so as to make sure that the sight of our friends doesn’t distract us from the Great Work. Now we can talk about whatever we like. Oh, no, we can’t, I must first inspect your yesterday’s chart.”

I brought it out, and we sat down at the table together. Of course, there was only the one cross. She assumed a very severe look.

"This is extremely irregular, brother,” she said. "You haven’t filled in column two.”

I discovered later that it was part of the system of the Abbey to pretend to be very severe about any infraction of the rules, and then to show by some pleasant remark that it wasn’t meant in anger. The object was to fix in one’s mind that the offence was really grave, so that the pretended scolding had all the effect of the genuine article.

Not knowing this, I was surprised when she continued:

That s all right, Cockie, we know you’re a new chum.”

But her finger pointed sternly to column two. It was headed, "Reason for taking the dose.”

Well, Dionysus had shown me the way out of that, so I turned impudently around and said:—

"Enough of Because, be he damned for a dog!"

The effect was electric. We both broke into a duet of low musical laughter that seemed to me in exquisite harmony with the beauty of the April morning.

"The devil can quote scripture,” she retorted, "that business about Because refers to something entirely different. The point about this (she was very serious now) is that we want you to know what is going on in your own mind. We all do so many stupid things, for bad reason or no reason at all. ‘Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do’ applies to nine-tenths of our actions. We get so much work done in this Abbey because we have learnt to watch our minds and prevent ourselves wasting a moment on what is worthless, or cancelling out one course of action by another, and so getting nowhere. In the case of this experiment of yours, in learning to master a drug so powerful that hardly one man in ten thousand stands a dog's chance of coming out, it’s especially important because, as I m afraid you will find out, I mean, as I hope you will find out very soon, your brain has developed certain morbid tendencies. You are liable to think crooked. Big Lion has told me already how you got to the stage where you took one dose to sleep and another to wake up again, and where you would try to conceal the amount you were taking from the very person with whom you were taking it openly. Another point is that privation always upsets the mental balance. A man who lacks food or money finds very queer thoughts come into his mind, and does things, not necessarily connected with his necessity, obsessing though that be, which are entirely out of keeping with his character.”

I took a pencil, and wrote at once against the cross in column two "In order to make the most of Sister Athena’s illuminating discourse.”

She laughed merrily.

“You see, it's Adam and Eve all over again! You’re trying to shift the blame on to me. By the way, I see your body is nervous at this moment. If you don’t want to take heroin, as you don’t, else you wouldn’t have let yourself get as shaky as you are, you'd better take a white tablet. It won’t put you to sleep, as you’ve had a night’s rest, and the poor little thing won’t have anything to do but run around your solar plexus and stroke all your little pussy-cat nerves the right way.”

I took the advice and felt much better. At that moment King Lamus appeared, and challenged Sister Athena to a set of Thelema. I brought Lou out; and we sat in the courtyard and watched them play.

Thelema is so called because of the variety of strokes. It is a sort of Fives played with an association football, but there are no side walls, only a low wall at the back over which, if the ball goes, it is out of play, as also if it strikes outside the vertical lines painted on the wall or below a ledge about a foot from the ground. The ball may be struck with any part of the body so long as it is struck clean, and the game is bewilderingly fast to watch.

After two games, the players were perspiring violently. The score was kept somewhat as in tennis, but each point had a monosyllabic name to economise time. It also had a certain startling implication—with the object of familiarising the mind with ideas which normally excited.

The whole system of King Lamus was to enable people to take no notice, that is, no emotional notice, of anything soever in life. A great deal of the fascination of drugs arises from the fuss that is made about them; the focusing of the attention upon them. Absinthe’ forbidden in France, Switzerland, and Italy, is still sold freely in England, and no one ever met an English absinthe fiend. If any one took it into his head to start a newspaper campaign against absinthe, it would become a public danger in very short order.

King Lamus emancipated people’s minds by adopting the contrary formula. He had all sorts of dodges for compelling people to accept the most startling sights and sounds as commonplace. The very children were confronted with the most terrifying ideas while they were still too young to have acquired settled phobias.

Hermes, at the age of five, was already accustomed to witness surgical operations and such things, to face the dangers of drowning and falling from cliffs, with the result that he had completely lost his fear of such things.

These principles were explained to us during the breathing spaces between the sets. Sister Cypris and three or four others came down from the other houses to take part in the game.

The intense activity and lightheartedness of everybody amazed us. We were asked to join in the game, and our incompetence was a keen source of annoyance. We were too enfeebled by our indulgence in drugs to hold our own; and the result was to inspire us with a passionate determination to emancipate ourselves from the thraldom.

But the tribulations of the morning had only begun. It was the custom of the Abbey to celebrate the arrival of new-comers by a picnic on the top of the rock. From the Abbey, a path leads through a patch of trees to a rough narrow track between two walls. At the end of this is an aqueduct across the road, and both Lou and I were too nervous to walk along the narrow causeway. We had to go round, feeling more and more ashamed of ourselves with every incident.

On the other side, the hill rises steeply. A tongue of grass leads to a gully which is filled by the wall of the old city which crowned the rock two thousand years or more ago, when the world was less arid and the population could depend on rainfall instead of having to cluster in the neighbourhood of springs and streams for its water.

King Lamus tied himself on the middle of a rope with Dionysus at one end and Hermes at the other; while we, under the guidance of Cypris and Athena, toiled up the goat track which made a zigzag on the grassy tongue. Their party attacked the rock buttress on our right.

King Lamus made Hermes lead up the most astonishingly precipitous crags, with little advice and no assistance. But his hand was always within reach of the boy; so that if he made a mistake and fell, he could immediately be caught without hurting himself.

But the child himself did not know how carefully he was being watched and guarded. Basil treated him in every way as a responsible leader.

Their progress was necessarily slow; but so was ours. Both Lou and I found it impossible to go more than twenty paces or so without a rest. We had plenty of time to watch them, and it was amazing to see the working of the mind of Hermes as problem after problem presented itself to him.

There were many occasions on which it would have been easy for him to go around an obstacle, but he never attempted to do so. King Lamus had already implanted in his mind the idea that the fun of rock-climbing consisted in tackling the most difficult passages.

The child would occasionally stop at the foot of a pitch, and contemplate it as if it were a mathematical problem. Once or twice he decided that it was too hard for him. On these occasions, King Lamus would go up first, calling out instructions to note the exact places where he put his hands and feet; and when it was the turn of Hermes to follow, as often as not he did so on a slack rope. His leader's example had taught him how to negotiate the difficulty.

As for Dionysus, his methods were entirely different. He had neither the intellectual power of the elder boy nor his prudence, and he climbed with a sort of tempestuous genius.

At the top of the tongue, the goat track bends suddenly to the right, under the wall, to a point where there is a breach where one can crawl through very comfortably. Here we rejoined the climbers.

To-morrow," said Hermes, “I shall take you up the Great Gully," with the air of a full-fledged alpine guide.

Dionysus shook his little head. "I don’t know if he tan det through the hole," he lamented.

King Lamus had taken off the rope and made it into a coil by winding it around his knee and foot. We plodded painfully over very rough ground to the top of the rock. It was both exhilarating and disheartening to see the way the two boys scrambled from boulder to boulder.

At last we reached the top. The two brethren who had carried up the provisions in knapsacks had already begun to spread them out on a level patch of grass.
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Sun Oct 06, 2019 6:25 am

CHAPTER VI: THE TRUE WILL

Lou and I were both utterly exhausted by the climb; and King Lamus reminded us that this was the formula of the Abbey of Thelema at Telepylus, that every one had to reach the top, step by step, through his own exertions. There was no question of soaring into the air by alien aid; and in all probability coming to earth with a bump.

We had found ourselves repeatedly out of breath during the ascent, though it had only occupied three-quarters of an hour, and we should certainly never have reached the top without recourse to heroin.

But all the time we were lost in amazement at the behaviour of the boys; their independence, their fearlessness, and their instinctive economy of force. We had no idea that it was possible for children of that age to achieve, even physically, what they had done, apparently without effort.

And as for their moral attitude, it was entirely outside our experience. I said something of the sort; and King Lamus retorted at once that it was the moral attitude which made possible the physical attainment.

“You will find that out for yourself in the case of your own experiment. It will do you very little good to break off your present practice. When you begin to tackle a subject, you must endure to the end, and the end never comes until you can say either yes or no, indifferently, to physical considerations.”

But for all that, both Lou and I were exalted by our physical triumph over the rock, trifling as it was; and our situation on the summit reminded us of some of the sensations of flying. There was the same detachment from the affairs of the world, the same visions of normal life in perspective; the ruddy brown roofs of the houses, the patches of tilled land, the distant hillsides with their fairy-like remoteness, the level plain of the sea, the receding coast line; all these things were so many witnesses of one great truth— that only by climbing painfully to a spot beyond human intervention, could one obtain a stable point of view from which to regard the Universe in due proportion.

At once we drew the moral analogy to our physical situation, and applied it to our immediate problem. Tet, in spite of what Lamus had said, we were both obsessed by the idea that we must stop taking heroin.

The next few days passed in strenuous efforts to reduce the number of the doses, and it was then that we began to discover the animal cunning of our bodies. Do what we might, there was always a reason, an imperative reason, for taking a dose at any given moment.

Our minds, too, began to play us false. We found ourselves arguing as to what a dose was. As the doses became fewer, they became larger. Presently, we arrived at the stage where what we considered a fair dose could not be conveniently taken at a single sniff. And then, worst of all, it broke on me one day, when I was struggling hard against the temptation to indulge, that the period between doses, however prolonged it might be, were being regarded merely in that light. In other words, it was a negative thing.

Life consisted in taking heroin. The intervals between the doses did not count. It was like the attitude of the normal man with regard to sleep.

It suddenly dawned upon me that this painful process of gradually learning to abstain, was not a cure at all in any right sense of the word.

Basil was perfectly right. I must reverse the entire process and reckon my life in positive terms. That’s what he means by "Do what thou wilt.” I wonder what my true will is? Is there really such a thing at all? My mathematics tells me that there must be. However many forces there may be at work, one can always find their resultant.

But this was all terribly vague. The desire to take heroin was clear-cut. It no longer produced any particular effect to take it. Now that I was getting down to two or three doses a day, at the most, it seemed as though there were no particular object in taking it, even as dulling the craving for it. I found it increasingly difficult to fill column two.

King Lamus descended on me one morning, just after I had taken a dose, and was raking my brain for a reason for my action. I was alternately chewing the end of my pencil and making meaningless marks on the paper. I told him my difficulty.

"Always glad to help," he said airily; went to a filing cabinet and produced a docket of typed manuscripts. He put it in my hand. It was headed, "Reasons for taking it.”

1. My cough is very bad this morning.

(Note: (a) Is cough really bad?

(b) If so, is the body coughing because it is sick or because it wants to persuade you to give it some heroin?)

2. To buck me up.

3. I can't sleep without it.

4. I can't keep awake without it.

5. I must be at my best to do what I have to do. If I can only bring that off, I need never take it again.

6. I must show I am master of it—free to say either "yes" or “no.” And I must be perfectly sure by saying "yes" at the moment. My refusal to take it at the moment shows weakness. Therefore I take it.

7. In spite of the knowledge of the disadvantages of the heroin life, I am really not sure whether it isn't better than the other life. After all, I get extraordinary things out of heroin which I should never have otherwise.

8. It is dangerous to stop too suddenly.

9. I'd better take a small dose now rather than put it off till later; because if I do so, it will disturb my sleep.  
10. It is really very bad for the mind to be constantly preoccupied with the question of the drug. It is better to take a small dose to rid myself of the obsession.

11. I am worried about the drug because of my not having any. If I were to take some, my mind would clear up immediately, and I should be able to think out good plans for stopping it.

12. The gods may be leading me to some new experience through taking it.

13. It is quite certainly a mistake putting down all little discomforts as results of taking it. Very likely nearly all of them are illusions; the rest, due to the unwise use of it. I am simply scaring myself into saying no.

14. It is bad for me morally to say "no” I must not be a coward about it.

15. There is no evidence at all that the reasonable use of heroin does not lengthen life. Chinese claim, and English physicians agree, that opium smoking, within limits, is a practice conducive to longevity. Why should it not be the same with heroin? It has been observed actually that addicts seem to be immune to most diseases which afflict ordinary people.

16. I take it because of its being prohibited. I decline being treated like a silly schooboy when I’m a responsible man.

(Note: Then don t behave like a silly schoolboy. Why let the stupidity of governments drive you into taking the drug against your will? -- K.L.)

17. My friend likes me to take it with her.

18. My ability to take it shows my superiority over other people.

19. Most of us dig our graves with our teeth. Heroin has destroyed my appetite, therefore it is good for me.

20. I have got into all sorts of messes with women in the past. Heroin has destroyed my interest in them.

21. Heroin has removed my desire for liquor. If I must choose, I really think heroin is the better.

22. Man has a right to spiritual ambition. He has evolved to what he is, through making dangerous experiments. Heroin certainly helps me to obtain a new spiritual outlook on the world. I have no right to assume that the ruin of bodily health is injurious; and" whosoever will save his life shall lose it, but whoever loseth his life for My sake shall find it.”

23. So-and-so has taken it for years, and is all right.

24. So-and-so has taken it for years, and is still taking it, and he is the most remarkable man of his century.

25. I’m feeling so very, very rotten, and a very, very little would make me feel so very, very good.

26. We can't stop while we have it—the temptation is too strong. The best way is to finish it. We probably won’t be able to get any more, so we take it in order to stop taking it.

27. Claude Farrere’s story of Rodolphe Hafner. Suppose I take all this pains to stop drugs and then get cancer or something right away, what a fool I shall feel!

"Help you at all?" asked Lamus.

Well, honestly, it did not. I had thought out most of those things for myself at one time or another; and I seemed to have got past them. It’s a curious thing that once you’ve written down a reason you diminish its value. You can’t go on using the same reason indefinitely. That fact tends to prove that the alleged reason is artificial and false, that it has simply been invented on the spur of the moment by oneself to excuse one’s indulgences.

Basil saw my perplexity.

"The fact is," he said, "that you’re taking this stuff as the majority of people go to church. It’s a meaningless habit.”

I hated to put that down on my paper. It was confessing that I was an automaton. But something in his eye compelled me. I wrote the word, and broke out as I did so into a spasm of internal fury. I recollected a story from my hospital days, of a man who had committed suicide when it was proved to him that he couldn't move his upper jaw.

Meanwhile Lamus was looking at my average. I had got down to less than two doses daily. But the rest of the twenty-four hours was spent in waiting for the time when I could indulge.

I knew that Lou was ahead of me. She had gone on what Basil called his third class. She was taking one dose a day; but every day she was taking it later and later. She had about an hour of real craving to get through, and Sister Athena or Sister Cypris, or Sister some one would always intervene, as if by accident, and take some active steps to keep her mind off the subject during those critical minutes.

As soon as one had reached an interval of forty-eight hours between doses, one entered class four and stopped altogether unless some particular occasion arose for taking a dose.

I was very annoyed that Lou should have got on faster than myself. Basil told me he thought I needed more active exercise, though already I had begun to take some interest in the sports of the place. I had even got through a whole game of Thelema without having to sit down and gasp.

But there was still an obscure hankering after the drug life. It had been burnt into me that normal interests were not worth while.

King Lamus had taken me out climbing several times; but while I experienced profound physical satisfaction, I could not overcome the moral attitude which is really, after all, expressed in Ecclesiastes, "Vanity, vanity, all is vanity!"

My relations with Lou herself were poisoned by the same feeling. The improvement in our physical health, and the intoxicating effect of the climate and the surroundings urged us to take part in the pageant of nature. Yet against all such ideas we could not help but hear the insistent voice of Haidee Lamoureux, that the end of all these things is death. She had deliberately renounced existence as futile, and there was no answer to her pleadings.

Besides this, my mind had eaten up its pabulum. I had literally nothing to think of except heroin, and I discovered that heroin appealed to me behind all veils, as being an escape from life.

A man who has once experienced the drug-life finds it difficult to put up with the inanity of normal existence. He has become wise with the wisdom of despair.

The Big Lion and Sister Athena exhausted their ingenuity in finding things with which I might occupy my weary aimless hours. But nothing seemed to get me out of the fixed idea that life was heroin with intervals that did not count.

For about a week King Lamus tried to get me out of my groove by giving me cocaine, and asking me to employ my time by writing an account of my adventures from the time when I began to take it. The drug stimulated me immensely; and I was quite enthusiastic for the time. I wrote the story of my adventures from the night of my meeting Lou to our return to England from Naples.

But when the episode was over, I found the old despair of life as strong as ever. The will to live was really dead in me.

But two evenings later King Lamus came to smoke a pipe with me on the terrace at sunset. In his hand was the Paradiso record which I had written. Sister Athena had typed it.

"My dear man," he said, "what I can’t see is why you should be so blind about yourself. The meaning of all this ought to be perfectly obvious. I’m afraid you haven’t grasped the meaning of "Do what thou wilt. Do you see how the application of the Law has helped you so far?"

"Well, of course,” I said, "it’s pretty clear I didn’t come to this planet to drug myself into my grave before my powers have had a chance to ripen. I’ve thought it necessary to keep off heroin in order to give myself a show. But I’m left flat. Life becomes more tedious every day, and the one way of escape is barred by flaming swords.”

"Exactly,” he replied. "You’ve only discovered one thing that you don’t will; you have still to find the one thing that you do will. And yet there are quite a number of clues in this manuscript of yours. I note you say that. your squad commander, who didn't become that without some power of dealing with men, told you that you were not a great flyer. How was it exactly that you came to take up flying?"

That simple question induced a very surprising reaction. There was no reason why it should produce the intense irritation that it did.

Basil noticed it, rubbed his hands together gleefully, and began to hum "Tipperary.” His meaning was evident. He had drawn a bow in a venture; and it had pierced the King of Israel between the joints of his harness. He got up with alacrity, and went off with a wave of the hand.

”Think it over, dear boy,” said he, "and tell me your sad story in the morning.”

I was in a very disturbed state of mind. I went to look for Lou, but she had gone for a walk with Cypris, and when she came back, she wore an air of wisdom which I found insupportable. However, I told her my story. To my disgust, she simply nodded as if highly appreciative of some very obscure joke. There was no getting any sense out of her. I went to bed in a thoroughly bad temper.

Almost immediately, the usual struggle began, as to whether I should or should not take a dose of heroin. On this occasion, the controversy was short. I was so annoyed with myself that I took a specially large sniff, apparently less to soothe myself than to annoy somebody else indirectly. It was the first I had had for a week. I had been supplying its place with codeine.

Partly from this and partly from the psychological crisis, its effects were such as I had never before experienced. I remained all night in a state between sleep and waking, unable to call for assistance, unable to control my thoughts; and I was transported into a totally unfamiliar world. I did not exist at all, in any ordinary sense of the word. I was a mathematical expression in a complex scheme of geometry. My equilibrium was maintained by innumerable other forces in the same system, and what I called myself was in some mysterious way charged with a duty of manipulating the other forces, and these evaded me. When I strove to grasp them, they disappeared. My functions seemed to be to simplify complex expressions, and then to build up new complexes from the elements so isolated as to create simulacra of my own expression in other forms.

This process continued, repeating itself with delirious intensity through endless aeons. I suffered the intolerable pang of losing my individuality altogether by confusing it, so to speak, with some of the expressions that I had formulated. The distress became so acute that I felt the necessity of getting Lou to assist me. But I could not discover her anywhere in the system.

And yet, there was something in the nature of the curves themselves which I identified with her. It was as if their ultimate form in some way depended upon her. She was concealed, so to speak, in the expression of the ideas. She was implicit in their structure; and as the worst of the excitement and the anxiety subsided, I found a curious consolation in the fact that she was not an independent and conflicting unit in this complicated chaos of machinery, but was, as it were, the reason for its assuming its actual appearance in preference to any other. And as the night went on, the enormous complexity of the vision co-ordinated itself. There was a sensation of whirling and rising communicated to the entire universe of my thought. A sort of dizziness seized upon my spirit. It was as if a wheel had been set in motion and gradually increased its pace so that one could no longer distinguish the spokes. It became an indefinite whirr. This feeling invaded my entire consciousness little by little, so that it was reduced to an unchanging unity; but a unity composed of diverse forces in regular motion. The monotony devoured consciousness so that my waking sleep merged into true sleep.

The strangest part of the whole experience was that I woke up an entirely new man. I found myself engrossed in abstruse calculations, loosely knit together, it is true, but very intense, with regard to an idea which had not entered my mind for months. I was working out in my mind a plan for constructing a helicopter, the invention of which had occupied me deeply when I was out of a job. It had been driven completely out of my mind by my becoming heir to Uncle Mortimer’s estate.

As I regained full wakefulness, I found myself extremely puzzled by my surroundings. In fact, I could not remember who I was. The question seemed in some extraordinary way to lack meaning. The more I regained consciousness of myself, of Telepylus, and of the immediate past, the more these things became unreal. The true “I” was the mathematician and engineer working on the helicopter, and the interval had been an elaborate nightmare.

I threw it all off like a retriever coming out of a pond with a stick in his mouth, and bent myself to my work. I was disturbed by some person or persons unknown kissing me on the back of my neck, and putting a tray with my breakfast at my side. I was aware of a vague subconscious annoyance that the food was cold.

When the tom-tom sounded for the noonday Adoration, I got up and stretched myself; my brain was completely fagged out. I joined the little party on the terrace at the salutation to the sun.

"Hail unto thee who art Ahathor in thy triumphing, even unto thee who art Ahathor in thy beauty; that travellest over the heavens in thy bark at the mid-career of the Sun. Tahuti standeth in his splendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm. Hail unto thee from the abodes of morning!"

One of the party made a very singular impression on me. 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. The face was extraordinarily young and fresh, all radiant with smiles and blushes.

"Peter, my boy," I said to myself, "you’d better get busy and finish that helicopter and make some money, because that’s the girl you’re going to marry."

This conviction seized me with the force of a revelation; for the girl was mysteriously familiar. It seemed as if I had seen her in a dream or something like that. I was very annoyed to find an arm familiarly slipped through mine, while a voice said in my ear:—

"We may as well walk over to the refectory for lunch. You haven’t answered my question about how you came to take up flying."

"When you asked me, I wasn’t at all clear in my mind, but the chain of causes is sufficiently obvious now.”

I had never taken kindly to medicine. Its unscientific procedure, its arrogance, its snobbishness, and its empiricism all combined to disgust me. I had simply gone to the hospital because my father was bent on it, and wouldn’t put up the money for anything else. I wanted to be an engineer. I was keen as mustard on bicycles and automobiles. Even as a boy I had had a sort of workshop of my own. The greatest pleasure of my childhood had been the rare visits to my mother’s father, who in his time had been a great inventor and done an immense amount of work relative to the mechanical perfection of railway travelling.

When the war broke out I had gone straight to the engineering shops; and I became a flying man rather against my will, on account of my weight and the dearth of pilots.

I broke off in my enthusiastic harangue, because King Lamus had stopped on the crest of the ridge which divided the strangers’ house at the Abbey from the main buildings.

"The climb has put you out of breath,” he said. "Take a sniff of this; it will put you all right in a second.”

I pushed the man’s hand away impatiently, and the little heap of powder fell to the ground.

"Oh, it’s like that, is it?" said Basil laughing.

I realised how rude I had been, and began to apologise.

"That’s all right,” he said. "But, of course, you aren’t going to get out of it as easily as that. You don't give up eating mutton because you ate too much one day and got indigestion. You’ll find heroin pretty useful when you know how to use it. However, your gesture just now was automatic. It was evidence that your unconscious or true will objects to your taking heroin. So far so good for the negative side. But the question is, what does your true will actually want you to do in a positive way?"

"Confound the fellow and his eternal metaphysics," I thought.

"I haven’t the least idea,” I answered sharply, "and what’s more, I’ve no time to waste on this occult stuff of yours. Don’t think I’m rude. I’m very grateful for all you've done for me.”

Strangely enough, the memory of the last few months had just returned to my mind. Yet it was merely the background of the burning flame of thought that filled my consciousness.

Basil did not answer, and as we walked down the hill together I began to explain my ideas about the new helicopter. Almost without knowing it, we had reached the door of the large house which the Abbey used for a refectory, and we sat down on the stone seats which lined its north-eastern wall, and gazed over the marvellous prospect.

The refectory was set on a steep slope. The ground fell sharply away from below our feet. On the left, the great rock towered even more tremendously than on the other side; and on the right, the hills above the coast-line danced away into dim purple. In front was a strange jagged headland crowned with a fantastic cluster of rocks, and beyond this the great sea stretched away, in masses of greens and blues and violets, to where a number of volcanic islands slumbered dimly on the horizon.

Basil annoyed me intensely by interpolating remarks about the beauty of the scenery. I couldn’t seem to interest him in the helicopter at all. Was I really talking such rubbish?

"I'm too old to be snubbed, Sir Peter,” (Oh, yes, 1 was Sir Peter now! Of course I was.) he interjected, shaking me gently by the shoulder.

I had paused to clear up a point in my mind about one of the gauges.

"And I must remind you that you are a gentleman; and that when you came to this Abbey the first thing you did was to sign a pledge-form.”

He repeated the words:—

‘‘I do solemnly declare that I accept the Law of Thelema, that I will devote myself to discover my True Will, and to do it."

"Yes, yes, of course," I said hurriedly. “I'm not trying to get out of it; but really, I am at the moment most frightfully preoccupied with this idea about the helicopter."

"Thank you, that will do," said King Lamus briskly. "The meeting will now adjourn."

I felt a little irritation at his offhand manner, but I followed him in to lunch. He stood at the end of the table, facing Sister Athena at the other.

"There will be champagne," he said, "for lunch to-day."

The remark was received with a hilarity which seemed positively indecent, and altogether out of proportion to the good news announced. The whole Abbey seemed to have gone wild with delight.

Following the example of the Big Lion, every one pointed a forefinger downwards to the left, swung it sharply across to the right. This gesture was repeated three times and accompanied by the words:—

"Evoe Ho! Evoe Ho! Evoe Ho!"

They began to clap hands but checked the movement before contact and only allowed the clash to take place on the third syllable of the great cry

I A O

This was followed by very rapid clapping three times three, in silence.

I was entirely bewildered by this demonstration, but had no opportunity to make inquiries, for Sister Cypris immediately said "Will" with Hermes, and lunch began in the invariable silence, a silence somewhat modified by the exuberant hilarity of the entire assembly.

The champagne would not account for it all. The unrestrained glee reminded me of my early days with cocaine. However, I had something better to think about. The question was how to reduce W to an indefinitely small quantity in the formula:—

Image

Confound it, what was the use of making a rule of silence at meals when everybody was breaking it in the spirit if not in the letter? I got hot and red behind the ears. Everybody from Big Lion with his tumbler full of champagne to Dionysus with his liqueur glass of the same was holding it out to me as if drinking to my health. I availed myself of the rule which permits us to leave the table without ceremony. I would go back to the other house and work.

But a sudden thought struck me just as I got outside the door. I sat down again on the stone seats, whipped out a note-book and began my calculations. I saw my way to a solution, jotted down my idea, and snapped the book to in triumph.

It was then that I became aware that Big Lion was putting a cigar in my mouth, and that everybody was crowding around me and shaking hands. Was this another of the buffoon's stupid jokes?

"To what end? "said Big Lion, as he lighted my cigar.

I had sunk back in the bench in a sort of lazy triumph. Nothing bothered me now. I could see my way to solve my problem.

"You must say ‘attomplish great wort.'" said Dionysus, in a tone of dignified reproach.

"Confound the Great Work! "I replied pettishly, and then became sorry for myself.

I picked up my Pagan friend, took him on my knee, and began to stroke his head. He snuggled up to me delightfully.

“You must excuse us," said Hermes very seriously, "but we’re all so glad."
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Sun Oct 06, 2019 6:43 am

CHAPTER VII: LOVE UNDER WILL

I began to laugh despite myself.

"Well,” I said, puffing at my cigar, “I do really wish you'd let me know what this is all about. Has Lloyd George resigned?"

“No,” said Big Lion, "it’s just you!"

"What about me?" I retorted.

"Why, your success, of course,” said Sister Cypris.

Something, of course, quite obvious to them was hidden from my dull understanding.

I turned on Basil point-blank.

"What success?" I said. "It's true I do see my way through a formula that’s been bothering me. But I don’t see how you know about it. Do Hermes and Dionysus comprise a knowledge of the differential calculus in their attainments?"

"It’s very simple,” said the Big Lion. "It involves a knowledge of nothing but the Law; and the Law, after all, is nothing but the plainest common sense. Do you remember my asking you before tiffin what was your true will?"

“Yes,” I said, "I do. And I told you then, and I tell you again now, that I haven’t the time to think about things like that.”

"That fact,” he retorted, "was quite enough to assure me that you had discovered it.”

"Look here,” I said, "you’re a good sort and all that, but you are really a bit queer, and half the time I don’t know what you are driving at. Can’t you put it in plain English?"

"With all the pleasure in life,” he returned. "Just look at the facts for a moment. Fact one: Your maternal grandfather is a mechanical genius. Fact two: From your earliest childhood, subjects of this sort have exercised the strongest fascination for you. Fact three: Whenever you get off those subjects, you are unhappy, unsuccessful, and get into various kinds of mess. Fact four: The moment the war gives you your opportunity, you throw up medicine and go back to engineering. Fact five: You graduate reluctantly from the bench to the pilot’s seat, and your squad commander himself sees that it’s a case of a square peg in a round hole. Fact six: As soon as the Armistice throws you on your beam ends, you get busy again with the idea of the helicopter. Fact seven: You are swept off your feet by coming into a fortune and immediately go astray with drugs—clear evidence that you have missed your road. Fact eight: As soon as your mind is cleansed by the boredom of Telepylus of all its artificial ideas, it returns to its natural bent. The idea of the helicopter comes back with such a rush that you let your breakfast get cold, you don’t know your wife when she brings it, and you can talk about nothing else. For the first time in your life your self-consciousness is obliterated, You even start to explain your ideas to me, though I know nothing whatever of the subject. It doesn’t require any particular genius to see that you have discovered your true will. And that accounts for the champagne and applause at lunch.”

I scratched my head, still hardly comprehending. But one clause in the Big Lion’s roar had struck me with appalling force. I looked round the circle of faces.

"Yes, I’ve discovered my will, all right,” I said, "I know now what I’m good for. I understand why I came to this silly planet. I’m an engineer. But you said ‘my wife.’ That doesn’t fit in at all. Where is she?"

"Well, you know,” returned Big Lion, with a grin, "you mustn’t imagine me to be a cold storage warehouse for other people’s wives. If I might hazard a guess, however, your wife’s discovered what her own will is, and has gone off to do it.”

Oh, damnation,” said I. "Here, you know, I say I can’t allow that sort of thing!"

The Big Lion turned his sternest gaze upon me.

“Now, Sir Peter,” he said incisively, "pull yourself together. You’ve only just discovered your own will, and you naturally want to be let alone to do it. And yet, at the very first opportunity, you butt in and want to interfere with your own wife doing hers. Let me tell you point-blank that it’s none of your business what she chooses to do. Haven’t you seen enough harm come from people meddling with other people's business? Why, hang it, man, your first duty to your wife is to protect her.”

"Another of your paradoxes,” I growled.

As a matter of fact, I was torn between two attitudes. Lou had been an ideal companion in debauchery of all sorts. A woman like that was bound to be the ruin of a hard-working engineer. At the same time I was madly in love with her, especially after seeing her for the first time that morning; and she belonged to me.

It was only too clear to me what he meant by saying she had discovered her true will. She had shown that plainly enough when she had begged him to take her away. He had simply worked one of his devilish tricks on me, and got rid of me, as he thought, by getting me absorbed in my helicopter.

I was to be the complacent husband, and allow my wife to go off with another man right under my nose, while I was busy with my calculations. I was to be the mart complaisant, was I?

Well, the fiend was ingenious, but he had calculated wrong for once. I got up and deliberately slapped him in the face.

"Before breakfast,” he said to Sister Athena, "we shall require pistols for two and coffee for one. But while we are waiting for the fatal rendezvous," he added, turning to me with one of his inscrutable grins, "I must continue to keep my oath. As it happens, one of the brethren here is himself a mechanic. That little house on the headland (he pointed as he spoke) is fitted up as a fairly complete workshop. We might stroll down together and see you started. There will probably be a lot of things that you need which we haven't got and you can make a list of them, and we’ll telegraph Lala to buy them in London and bring them down here. She is coming in three days' time. I will also ask her to stop in Paris for one of those nice iron wreaths with enamelled flowers to put on my nameless grave.”

The man’s nonchalance made me suddenly furiously ashamed of myself. I had to spit out between my teeth that he was an unutterable scoundrel.

"That's right, Sir Peter,” retorted the Big Lion, "reassure yourself, by all means. 'The unspeakable Lamus’ is the classical expression, and it is customary to give a slight shudder; but perhaps a genius like yourself is justified in inventing new terms of abuse.”

I was disconcerted abominably by the attitude of the audience, whose faces were fixed in broad grins, with the exception of Dionysus, who came straight up to me and said:—

"Sonna mabitch,” and hit me in the eye. "If you shoot my Bid Lion,” he added, "I’ll shoot you.”

The entire company broke into screams of uncontrollable laughter. Lamus rose with assumed indignation, and observed ferociously:—

"Is this your idea of doing your wills, you wasters? Did you come to this planet to turn the most serious subjects into mockery? You ought all to be weeping, considering that within twenty-four hours you will have to bury your beloved Big Lion or our esteemed guest, who has endeared himself to all of us by his unconscious humour. Come along, Sir Peter,” and he slipped his arm through mine. "We have no time to waste with these footlers. As to Unlimited Lou (he began to sing):—

"Has any one seen my Mary?
Has any one seen my Jane?
She went right out in her stocking feet
In the pelting pouring rain.

If any one sees my Mary,
He’ll oblige me, I declare,
If he’ll send her back in a packing case,
‘This side up, with care.’" [/quote\

We were already far down the slope, striding like giants. From above came a confused chorus of shouts and laughter.

One has to be an athlete to run down-hill arm in arm with Big Lion. He didn’t seem to mind the cactus, and when we came to a ditch, it had to be jumped. And when the path took a little turn up-hill, he used our momentum to take us over the crest like a switchback. It made me positively drunk. Physical alarm was combined with physical exhilaration. I was sweating like a pig; my sandals slipped on the hard dry grass; my bare legs were torn by brambles, gorse, and cactus.

I kept on slipping; but he always turned the slip into a leap. We never checked our career till we pulled up at the door of the house on the headland.

He let go of me suddenly. I flopped, and lay on my back panting for breath. He was absolutely cool; he had not turned a hair. He stood watching me while he pulled out his pipe, filled it and lit it.

Never waste time on the way to work,” he observed, in a tone which I can only describe as pseudo-sanctimonious. "Do you find yourself sufficiently recovered,” he added in mock anxiety, "to resume the vertical position which distinguishes the human species from other mammals? I believe the observation is due to Vergil,” he continued.

There was a twinkle in his eye which warned me that he had another surprise in store for me; I had begun to realise that he took a school-boyish delight in pulling people’s legs. He seemed to enjoy leading one on, putting one in a false position, and making a mystery out of the most commonplace circumstances. It was extremely idiotic and extremely annoying; but at the same time one had to admit that the result of his method was to add a sort of spice to life.

I remembered a remark of Maisie Jacobs: "Never dull where Lamus is.”

The events had been of an ordinary and insignificant character, and yet he had given a value to each one. He made life taste like it does when one is using heroin and cocaine, yet he did it without actual extravagance. I could understand how it was that he had his unique reputation for leading a fantastic life, and yet how no one could put a finger on any particular exploit as extraordinary in itself.

I picked myself slowly together, and, after removing a few thorns from my bare legs, was sufficiently master of myself to say:—

"So this is the workshop?"

"Once again, Sir Peter,” replied Lamus, "your intuition has proved itself infallible. And once again your incomparable gift of expression has couched the facts in a tersely epigrammatic form, which Julius Caesar and Martial might despair of editing.”

He opened the door of the house, repeating his old formula:—

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

Till that moment I had found the phrase by turns ridiculous, annoying, or tedious. It had completely lost these attributes. The dry bones lived. I thrilled to the marrow as he uttered it. A soft, sweet voice, strangely familiar, answered him out of the vast, dim room. Dim, for the blinding sunlight of the open air was unable wholly to illuminate the interior to my contracted pupils.

"Love is the law, love under will."

I thrilled again, this time with a combination of surprise and exultation which was curiously unintelligible. Then I saw, in one corner of the room, behind the array of benches and tables crowded with neatly disposed apparatus, a glimmering form. The back was turned to us; it was on the floor busily occupied in cleaning up.

"This is Sir Peter Pendragon,” said Big Lion, "who is coming to take charge of the laboratory.”

My eyes were still unaccustomed to the gloom, but 1 could see the figure scramble to its feet, curtesy and advance to me, where I stood in the shaft of sunlight that came through the half-open doorway.

It was dressed in a knickerbocker suit of black silk. It wore sandals and black stockings.

I recognised Lou.

Big Lion said you might want to begin work this afternoon, Sir Peter,” she said with dignity, “so I have been trying to put the place in some sort of order."

1 stood absolutely aghast. It was Lou, but a Lou that I had never seen or known. I turned to King Lamus for an explanation, but he was not there.

A ripple of laughter ran over her face; the sunlight blazed m her magnetic eyes. I trembled with indescribable emotion. Here was an undecipherable puzzle. Or was it by any chance the answer to a puzzle—to all my puzzles—the puzzle of life?

I could think of nothing to say but the most lame and awkward banality.

"What are you doing here?" I inquired.

"My will, of course,” came the answer, and her eyes twinkled in the sunshine as unfathomably as the sea itself.

"Thou hast no right but to do thy will,” she quoted. Ho that and no other shall say nay.”

"Oh, yes, I retorted, with a trace of annoyance. 1 had still a feeling of reaction against the Book of the Law. I hated to submit to a formula, however much my good sense, confirmed by my experience, urged me to surrender.

”But how did you find out what your will was?"

"How did you find out?" she flashed back.

"Why,” I stammered, "Big Lion showed me how my heredity, my natural inclination, and the solution of my crisis, all pointed to the same thing.”

“You said it,” she answered softly, and fired another quotation. "The Law is for all.”

"Tell me about it,” I said.

My stupefaction and my annoyance were melting away. I began to perceive dimly that the Big Lion had worked out the whole situation in a masterly fashion. He had done with his material—us, what I was doing with my material, the laws of mechanics.

”I discovered my will four days ago,” she said very seriously. "It was the night that you and Big Lion climbed Deep Ghyll and took so long over Professor’s Chimney, that you missed the champagne dinner.”

"Yes, yes,” I said impatiently, "and what was it?"

She put her hands behind her back and bent her head. Her eyelids closed over her long slanting eyes, and her red, snaky mouth began to work tremulously.

"While you were asleep after tiffin,” she said, "Big Lion took me up to the semicircular seat on the hill above the Strangers' House, and put me through my paces. He made me tell him all my early life and especially the part just before I met you, when I thought I loved him. And he made me see that all I had done was to try to please myself, and that I had failed. My love for him was only that of a daughter for her father. I looked to him to lead me into life, but nothing meant anything to me till the night I met you. At that moment I began to live. It was you, and not Gretel’s beastly cocaine, that filled my soul with that Litany of Fuller's. I had chanted it often enough, but it had never touched the spot. That night I used it to get you. I had only lived that I might one day find you. And all my life curled itself, from that moment, round you. I was ready to go to hell for you. I did go to hell for you. I came out of hell for you. I stopped taking heroin only because I had to fit myself to help you to do your will. That is my will. And when we found out this morning what your will was, I came down here to get the place ready for you to do it. I’m going to keep this place in order for you and assist you as best I can in your work, just as I danced for you, and went to McCall for you, in the days when you were blind. I was blind too about your will, but I always followed my instinct to do what you needed me for, even when we were poisoned and insane."

She spoke in low, calm tones, but she was trembling like a leaf. I didn’t know what to answer. The greatness of her attitude abashed me. I felt with utmost bitterness the shame of having wronged so sublime a love, of having brought her into such infamy.

"My God!" I said at last. "What we owe to Big Lion!"

She shook her head.

"No," she said, with a strange smile, "we’ve helped him as much as he’s helped us—helped him to do his will. The secret of his power is that he doesn't exist for himself. His force flows through him unhindered. You have not been yourself till this morning when you forgot yourself, forgot who you were, didn’t know who kissed you and brought you your breakfast.”

She looked up with a slow half-shamefaced smile into my eyes.

"And I lost you,” said I, “after tiffin, when I remembered myself and forgot my work. And all the time you were here helping me to do my work. And I didn’t understand.”

We stood awhile in silence. Both our hearts were seething with suppressed necessity to speak. It was a long, long while before I found a word; and when it came, it was intense and calm and confident.

"I love you.”

Not all the concentration given by heroin, or the exaltation of cocaine, could match that moment. The words were old; but their meaning was marvellously new. There had never been any "I" before, when I thought "I" was I, there had never been any "you" before when I thought of Lou as an independent being, and had not realised that she was the necessary complement of the human instrument which was doing "my" work. Nor had there been any love before, while love meant nothing but the manifold stupid things that people ordinarily mean by it. Love, as I meant it now, was an affirmation of the inevitable unity between the two impersonal halves of the work. It was the physical embodiment of our spiritual truth.

My wife did not answer. There was no need. Her understanding was perfect. We united with the unconscious ecstasy of nature. Articulate human language was an offence to our spiritual rapture. Our union destroyed our sense of separateness from the universe of which we were part; the sun, the sky, the sea, the earth, partook with us of that ineffable sacrament. There was no discontinuity between that first embrace of our true marriage, and the occupation of the afternoon in taking stock of the effects of the laboratory, and making notes of the things we should ask Lala to bring us from London. The sun sank behind the ridge, and far above us from the Refectory came the sonorous beat of the tom-tom which told us that the evening meal was ready. We shut up the house, and ran laughing up the slopes. They no longer tired and daunted us. Half-way to the house, we met the tiny Dionysus, full of importance. He had been deputed to remind us of dinner. Sister Athena (we laughed to think) must have realised that our honeymoon had begun; and—this time—it was no spasmodic exaltation depending on the transitory excitement of passion, or stimulants, but on the fact of our true spiritual marriage, in which we were essentially united to each other not for the sake of either, but to form one bride whose bridegroom was the Work which could never be satiated so long as we lived, and so could never lead to weariness and boredom. This honeymoon would blossom and bear fruit perennially, season by season, like the earth our mother and the sun our father themselves, an inexhaustible, frictionless enthusiasm. We were partakers of the eternal sacrament; whatever happened was equally essential to the ritual. Death itself made no difference to anything; our calm continuous candescence burst through the chains of circumstance, and left us free for ever to do our wills, which were one will, the will of Him that sent us.

The walk up to the Refectory was one long romp with Dionysus. Oh, wise dear Sister Athena! Was it by chance that you chose that sturdy sunlight imp to lead us up the hill that night? Did you suspect that our hearts would see in him a symbol of our own serene and splendid hope? We looked into each other’s eves as we held his hands on the last steep winding path among the olives, and we did not speak. But an electric flame ran through his tiny body from one to the other, and we knew for the first time what huge happiness lay in ambush for our love.

The silence of dinner shone with silken lustre. It lasted long—so long—each moment charged with litanies of love.

When coffee came, Big Lion himself broke the spell. "I am going to the tower to sleep to-night; so you will be in charge of the Strangers’ House, Sir Peter! The duties are simple; if any wanderer should ask our hospitality, it is for you to extend it on behalf of the Order.”

We knew one wanderer who would come, and we would make him welcome.

”A bright torch and a casement ope at Night
To let the warm Love in.”


"But before you go across, you will do well to join us, now that you have discovered your true wills, in the Vesper Ceremony of the Abbey, which we perform every night in the Temple of my tower. Let us be going!"

We followed, hand in hand, along the smooth, broad, curving path that bordered the stream, cunningly bended to run along the crest of the ridge so that its power might be used to turn various mill-wheels. The gathering shadows whispered subtle lyrics in our ears; the scents of spring conveyed superb imaginations to our senses; the sunset squandered its last scarlet on the sea, and the empurpled night began to burst into blossom of starlight. Over the hill-top before us hung the golden scimitar of the moon, and in the stillness the faint heart-beat of the sea was heard, as if the organ in some enchanted cathedral were throbbing under the fingers of Merlin, and transmuting the monotonous sadness of existence into a peaceful paean of inexpressible jubilance of triumph, the Te Deum of mankind celebrating its final victory over the heathen hordes of despair.

A turn in the path, and we came suddenly upon a cauldron-shaped depression in the hillside; at the bottom a silver streak of foam darted among huge boulders piled bombastically along the bed of the valley. Opposite, jutting from the grassy slopes, there stood three stark needles of red rock, glowing still redder with some splash of crimson stolen from the storehouse of the sunset; and above the highest of these there sprang a sudden shaft of stone against the skyline. A blind dome of marble rimmed with a balcony at the base crowned the tower, circular, with many tall windows Gothic in design, but capped with fleurs-de-lys; and this was set upon eight noble pillars joined by arches which carried out the idea of the windows on a larger scale. When we reached the tower, by a serpentine series of steps, megalithic stones laid into the mountain side, we saw that the floor of the vault was an elaborate mosaic. At the four quarters were four thrones of stone, and in the centre a hexagonal altar of marble.

Four of the principals of the Abbey were already robed for the ceremony; but they furnished themselves with four weapons—a lance, a chalice, a sword, and a disk—from a pillar which had a door and a staircase which formed the only means of access to the upper rooms.

Basil seated himself in one of the thrones, Sister Athena in another; while a very old man with a white beard, and a young woman whom we had not yet seen, took their places in the other two. Without formality of any sort beyond a series of knocks, the ceremony began. The impression was overwhelming. On the one hand, the vastness of the amphitheatre, the sublimity of the scene, and the utter naturalness of the celebrants; on the other, the amazing distinction of the prose, and the sharp clarity and inevitability of the ideas.

I can only remember one or two clauses of the Credo: they ran thus:—

"And I believe in one Gnostic and Catholic Church of Light, Life, Love and Liberty, the Word of whose Law is THELEMA.

"And I believe in the communion of Saints.

"And, forasmuch as meat and drink are transmuted in us daily into spiritual substance, I believe in the Miracle of the Mass.

“And I confess one Baptism of Wisdom, whereby we accomplish the Miracle of Incarnation.

"And I confess my life one, individual, and eternal, that was, and is, and is to come."

I have always told myself that I had not a spark of religious feeling, yet Basil once told me that the text The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” ought to be translated "The wonderment at the forces of nature is the beginning of wisdom.”

He claims that every one who is interested in science is necessarily religious, and that those who despise it and detest it are the real blasphemers.

But I have certainly always been put off by the idea of ceremonial or ritual of any kind. There again, Basil’s ideas are fantastically different to other people’s. He says; what about the forms and ceremonies used in an electric light plant?

I gave a little jump when he made the remark. It was so destructive of all my ideas.

"Most ritual,” he agreed, "is vain observance, but if there is such a thing as the so-called spiritual force in man, it requires to be generated, collected, controlled, and applied, by using the appropriate measures, and these form true ritual.”

And, in fact, the weird ceremony in progress in his Titan tower produced a definite effect upon me, unintelligible as it was to me for the most part, on one hand, and repellent as it was to my Protestant instincts on the other.

I could not help being struck by the first of the collects.

"Lord visible and sensible, of whom this earth is but a frozen spark turning about thee with annual and diurnal motion, source of light, source of life, source of liberty, let thy perpetual radiance hearten us to continual labour and enjoyment; so that as we are constant partakers of thy bounty we may in our particular orbit give out light and life, sustenance and joy to them that revolve about us without diminution of substance or effulgence for ever.”

The words were full of the deepest religious feeling and vibrated with a mysterious exultation, and yet the most hardened materialist could not have objected to a single idea.

Again, after an invocation of the forces of birth and reproduction, all rose to their feet and addressed Death with sublime simplicity, masking nothing, evading nothing, but facing the huge fact with serene dignity. The gesture of standing to meet Death was nobly impressive.

"Term of all that liveth, whose name is inscrutable, be favourable unto us in thine hour.”

The service ended with an anthem which rolled like thunder among the hills and was re-echoed from the wall of the great rock of Telepylus.

It was a very curious detail of life at the Abbey, that one act merged into the next insensibly. There were no abrupt changes. Life had been assimilated to the principle of the turbine, as opposed to the reverberatory engine. Every act was equally a sacrament. The discontinuity and abruptness of ordinary life had been eliminated. A just proportion was consequently kept between the various interests. It was this as much as anything else that had helped me to recover from the obsession of drugs. I had been kept back from emancipation by my reaction against the atmosphere, in general, and my latent jealousy of Basil, in particular. Lou, not having been troubled by either of these, had slid out of her habit as insidiously, if I may use the word, as she had slid into it.

But the culminating joy of my heart was the completeness of the solution of all my problems. There was no possibility of a relapse, because the cause of my downfall had been permanently removed. I could understand perfectly how it was that Basil could take a dose of heroin or cocaine, could indulge in hashish, ether, or opium as simply and usefully as the ordinary man can order a cup of strong black coffee when he happens to want to work late at night. He had become completely master of himself, because he had ceased to oppose himself to the current of spiritual will-power of which he was the vehicle. He had no fear or fascination with regard to any of these drugs. He knew that these two qualities were aspects of a single reaction; that of emotion to ignorance. He could use cocaine as a fencing-master uses a rapier, as an expert, without danger of wounding himself.

About a fortnight after our first visit to the tower, a group of us was sitting on the terrace of the Strangers' House. It was bright moonlight, and the peasants from the neighbouring cottages had come in to enjoy the hospitality of the Abbey. Song and dance were in full swing. Basil and I fell into a quiet chat.

"How long is it, by the way,” he said, "since you last took a dose of anything?"

“I’m not quite sure,” I answered, dreamily watching Lou and Lala, who had arrived a week since with the apparatus I required for my experiments, as they waltzed together on the court. They were both radiant. It seemed as if the moon had endowed them with her pure subtlety and splendour.

"I asked you,” continued Big Lion, pulling at a big meerschaum and amber pipe of the Boer pattern, which he reserved for late at night, "because I want you to take the fullest advantage of your situation. You have been tried in the crucible and come out pure gold. But it won’t do for you to forget the privileges you have won by your ordeal. Do you remember what it says in the Book of the Law?

"‘I am the Snake that giveth Knowledge and Delight and bright glory, and stir the hearts of men with drunkenness. To worship me take wine and strange drugs whereof I will tell my prophet, and be drunk thereof! They shall not harm ye at all.'"

"Yes,” I said slowly, "and I thought it a bit daring; might tempt people to be foolhardy, don't you think?"

"Of course,” agreed Basil, "if you read it carelessly, and act on it rashly, with the blind faith of a fanatic; it might very well lead to trouble. But nature is full of devices for eliminating anything that cannot master its environment. The words ‘to worship me’ are all-important. The only excuse for using a drug of any sort, whether it’s quinine or Epsom-salt, is to assist nature to overcome some obstacle to her proper functions. The danger of the so-called habit-forming drugs is that they fool you into trying to dodge the toil essential to spiritual and intellectual development. But they are not simply man-traps. There is nothing in nature which cannot be used for our benefit, and it is up to us to use it wisely. Now, in the work you have been doing in the last week, heroin might have helped you to concentrate your mind, and cocaine to overcome the effects of fatigue. And the reason you did not use them was that a burnt child dreads fire. We had the same trouble with teaching Hermes and Dionysus to swim. They found themselves in danger of being drowned and thought the best way was to avoid going near the water. But that didn't help them to use their natural faculties to the best advantage, so I made them face the sea again and again, until they decided that the best way to avoid drowning was to learn how to deal with oceans in every detail. It sounds pretty obvious when you put it like that, yet while every one agrees with me about the swimming, I am howled down on all sides when I apply the same principles to the use of drugs."

At this moment, Lala claimed me for a waltz, and Lou took Basil under her protection. After the dance, we all four sat down on the wall of the court and I took up the thread of the conversation.

"You're quite right, of course, and I imagine you expected to be shouted at."

"No," laughed Lamus, "my love for humanity makes me an incurably optimistic ass on all such points. I can’t see the defects in my inamorata. I expect men to be rational, courageous, and to applaud initiative, though an elementary reading of history tells one, with appalling reiteration, how every pioneer has been persecuted, whether it’s Galileo, Harvey, Gauguin, or Shelley; there is a universal outcry against any attempt to destroy the superstitions which hamper or foster the progress which helps the development of the race. Why should I escape the excommunication of Darwin or the ostracism of Swinburne? As a matter of fact, I am consoled in my moments of weakness and depression by the knowledge that I am so bitterly abused and hated. It proves to me that my work, whether mistaken or not, is at least worth while. But that’s a digression. Let’s get back to the words 'to worship me.’ They mean that things like heroin and alcohol may be and should be used for the purpose of worshipping, that is, entering into communion with, the ‘ Snake that giveth Knowledge and Delight and bright glory’ which is the genius which lies 'in the core of every star.’ And, ‘ Every man and every woman is a star.' The taking of a drug should be a carefully thought out and purposeful religious act. Experience alone can teach you the right conditions in which the act is legitimate, that is, when it assists you to do your will. If a billiard player slams the balls around indiscriminately, he soon takes the edge off his game. But a golfer would be very foolish to leave his mashie out of his bag because at one time he got too fond of it and used it improperly, and lost important matches in consequence. Now with regard to you and Lou, I can’t see that she has any particular occasion for using any of these drugs. She can do her will perfectly well without them, and her natural spirituality enables her to keep in continual communion with her inmost self, as her magical diary shows clearly enough. Even when she had poisoned herself to the point of insanity, her true instincts always asserted themselves at a crisis; that is, at any moment when you, the being whom it is her function to protect, was in danger. But there must be occasions in your work when ‘the little more and how much it is’ could be added to your energy by a judicious dose of cocaine, and enable you to overcome the cumulative forces of inertia, or when the effort of concentration is so severe that the mind insists on relieving itself by distracting your thoughts from the object of your calculations, a little heroin would calm their clamour sufficiently long to enable you to get the thing done. Now, it’s utterly wrong to force yourself to work from a sense of duty. The more thoroughly you succeed in analysing your mind, the more surely you become able to recognise the moment when a supreme effort is likely to result in definite achievement. Nature is very quick to warn one when one makes an error. A drug should act instantaneously and brilliantly. When it fails to do so, you know that you shouldn’t have taken it, and you should then call a halt, and analyse the circumstances of the failure. We learn more from our failures than from our successes, and your magical record will tell you by the end of the year so accurately what precise circumstances indicate the propriety of resorting to any drug,, that in your second year you must be a great fool if you make even half a dozen mistakes. But, as the Book of the Law says, ‘Success is your proof.’ When you resort to such potent and dangerous expedients for increasing your natural powers, vou must make sure that the end justifies the means. You’re a scientific man; stick to the methods of science. Wisdom is justified of her children; and I shall be surprised if you do not discover within the next twelve months that your Great Experiment, despite the unnecessary disasters which arose from your neglecting those words, ‘to worship me,’ has been the means of developing your highest qualities and putting you among the first thinkers of our generation.”

The mandolin of Sister Cypris broke into gay triumphant twitterings. It was like a musical comment upon his summary of the situation. The moon sank behind the hill, the peasants finished their wine and went off singing to their cottages; Lou and I found ourselves alone under the stars. The breeze bore the murmur of the sea up the scented slopes. The lights in the town went out. The Pole Star stood above the summit of the rock. Our eyes were fixed on it. We could imagine the precession of the Equinoxes as identical with our own perpetual travelling through time.

Lou pressed my hand. I found myself repeating the words of the creed.

"'I confess my life, one, individual, and eternal, that was, and is, and is to come.’"

Her voice murmured in my ear, "I believe in the communion of Saints.”

I made the discovery that I was after all a profoundly religious man. All my life I had been looking for a creed which did not offend my moral or intellectual sense. And now I had come to understand the mysterious language of the people of the Abbey of Thelema.

"Be the Priest pure of body and soul!"

The love of Lou had consecrated me to do my will, to accomplish the Great Work.

"Be the Priest fervent of body and soul!"

The love of Lou not only kept me from the contamination of ideas and desires alien to my essential function in the universe, but inspired me to dynamic ecstasy.

I do not know how long we sat under the stars. A deep eternal peace sat like a dove, a triple tongue of flame upon our souls, which were one soul for ever. Each of our lives was one, individual, and eternal, but each possessed its necessary and intimate relation with the other, and both with the whole universe.

I was moreover aware that our terrific tragedy had been necessary, after all, to our attainment.

"Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone. But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”

Every step in evolution is accompanied by colossal catastrophe, as it seems when regarded as an isolated event, out of its context, as one may say.

How fearful had been the price which man had paid for the conquest of the air! How much greater must be the indemnity demanded by inertia for the conquest of the spirit! For we are of more value than many sparrows.

How blind we had been! Through what appalling abysses of agony had we not been led in order that we might say that we had conquered the moral problem posed by the discoveries of organic chemistry.

"The master of tide and thunder against the juice of a flower?"

We had given the lie to the poet.

"This is the only battle he never was known to win.”

We no longer looked back with remorse on our folly. We could see the events of the past year in perspective, and we saw that we had been led through that ghoulish ghastliness. We had followed the devil through the dance of death, but there could be no doubt in our minds that the power of evil was permitted for a purpose. We obtained the ineffable assurance of the existence of a spiritual energy that worked its wondrous will in ways too strange for the heart of man to understand until the time should be ripe.

The. pestilence of the past had immunised us against its poison. The devil had defeated himself. We had attained a higher stage of evolution. And this understanding of the past filled us with absolute faith in the future.

The chaos of crumbled civilisations whose monuments were on the rock before us, had left that rock unmarred. Our experience had fortified us. We had reached one more pinnacle on the serrated ridge that rises from the first screes of self-consciousness to a summit so sublime that we did not even dare to dream how far it soared above us. Our business was to climb from crag to crag, with caution and courage, day after day, life after life. Not ours to speculate about the goal of our Going. Enough for us to Go. We knew our way, having found our will, and for the means had we not love?

"Love is the law, love under will.”

The words were neither on our lips nor in our hearts. They were implicit in every idea, and in every impression We went from the court up the steps, through the open glass doors, into the vaulted room with its fantastic frescoes that was the strangers’ room of the Abbey of Thelema; and we laughed softly, as we thought that we should never more be strangers.  
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