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 » Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:04 am

CHAPTER X: THE BUBBLE BURSTS

We felt that our troubles were over when a tall bronzed Englishman in flannels and a Panama sauntered into the room.

We sprang instinctively to our feet, but he took no notice beyond looking at us out of the tail of his eye, and twisting his mouth into a curious little compromise between a smile and a query.

The clerk bowed him at once into an inner room. We waited and waited. I couldn’t understand at all what they could have been talking about in there for so long.

But at last the soldier at the door beckoned us in. The vice-consul was sitting on a sofa in the background. With his head on one side, he shot a keen fixed glance out of his languid eyes, and bit his thumbnail persistently, as if in a state of extreme nervous perplexity.

I was swept by a feeling of complete humiliation. It was a transitory feverish flush; and it left me more exhausted than ever.

The commissario swung his chair around to our saviour, and said something which evidently meant, "Please open fire.”

"I’m the vice-consul here,” he said. "I understand that you claim to be Sir Peter and Lady Pendragon.”

"That’s who we are,” I replied, with a pitiful attempt at jauntiness.

"You’ll excuse me, I’m sure,” he said, "if I say that—to the eyes of the average Italian official—you don’t precisely look the part. Have you your passports?”

The mere presence of an English gentleman had a good effect in pulling me together.

I said, with more confidence than before, that our courier had arranged to take us to see some of the shows in Naples that the ordinary tourist knows nothing about, and in order to avoid any possible annoyance, he had advised us to adopt this disguise —and so on for the rest of the story.

The vice-consul smiled—indulgently, as I thought.

"I admit we have some experience,” he said slowly, "of young people like yourselves getting into various kinds of trouble. One can't expect every one to know all the tricks; and besides, if I understand correctly, you're on your honeymoon.”

I admitted the fact with a somewhat embarrassed smile. It occurred to me that honeymoon couples were traditionally objects of not unkindly ridicule from people in a less blessed condition.

"Quite so,” replied the vice-consul. "I'm not a married man myself; but no doubt it is very delightful. "How do you like it in Norway?”

"Norway?” I said, completely flabbergasted.

"Yes,” he said. "How do you like Norway; the climate, the lax, the people, the fiords, the glaciers?”

There was some huge mistake somewhere.

"Norway?" I said, with a rising inflection.

I was on the brink of hysteria.

"I've never been to the place in my life. And if it’s anything like Naples, I don’t want to go!”

"This is a rather more serious matter than you seem to suppose,” returned the consul. "If you’re not in Norway, where are you?"

"Why, I’m here, confound it,” I retorted with another weak flush of anger.

"Since when, may I ask?" he replied.

Well, he rather had me there. I didn’t know how long I’d been away from England. I couldn’t have told him the day or the month on a bet.

Lou helped me out.

"We left Paris three weeks ago to-morrow,” she said positively enough, though the tone of her voice was weak and weary, with a sub-current of irritation and distress. I hardly recognised the rich, full tones that had flooded my heart w T hen she chanted that superb litany in the "Smoking Dog."

“We spent a couple of days here," she said, at the Museo-Palace Hotel. Since then, we’ve been staying at the Caligula at Capri; and our clothes, our passports, our money, and everything are there."

I couldn't help being pleased by the way in which she rose to the crisis; her practical good sense, her memory of those details that are so important in business, though the male temperament regards them as a necessary nuisance.

These are the things that one needs in an official muddle.

"You don’t know any Italian at all? " asked the consul.

"Only a few words," she admitted, "though, of course, Sir Peter’s knowledge of French and Latin help him to make sense out of the newspapers."

"Well," said the consul, rising languidly, "as it happens, that's just the point at issue."

"I know the big words," I said. "It’s the particles that bother one."

"Perhaps then it will save trouble," said the consul, "if I offer you a free translation of this paragraph in this morning’s paper."

He reached across, took it from the commissario, and began a fluent even phrasing.

"England is always in the van when it comes to romance and adventure. The famous ace, Sir Peter Pendragon, V.C., K.B.E., who recently startled London by his sudden marriage with the leading society beauty, Miss Louise Laleham, is not spending his honeymoon in any of the conventional ways, as might be expected from the gentleman’s bold and adventurous character. He has taken his bride for a season’s guideless climbing on the Jostedal Brae, the largest glacier in Norway."

I could see that the commissario was drilling holes in my soul with his eyes. As for myself, I was absolutely stupefied by the pointless falsehood of the paragraph. "But, good God!" I exclaimed. "This is all absolute tosh."

"Excuse me," said the consul, a little grimly, "I have not finished the paragraph.

"I beg your pardon, sir," I answered curtly. "Taking advantage of these facts," he continued to read, "and of a slight facial resemblance to Sir Peter and Lady Pendragon, two well-known international crooks have assumed their personalities, and are wandering around Naples and its vicinity, where several tradesmen have already been victimised."

He dropped the paper, put his hands behind his back, and stared me square in the eyes.

I could not meet his glance. The accusation was so absurd, so horrible, so unexpected! I felt that guilt was written on every line of my face.

I stammered out some weakly, violent objurgation. Lou kept her head better than I.

"But please, this is absurd," she protested. "Send for our courier. He has known Sir Peter since he was a boy at school. The whole thing is shameful and abominable. I don't see why such things are allowed."

The consul seemed in doubt as to what to do. He played with his watch-chain nervously.

I had sunk into a chair—I noticed they hadn’t offered us chairs when we came in—and the whole I scene vanished from my mind. I was aware of nothing but a passionate craving for drugs. I wanted them physically as I had never wanted anything in my life before. I wanted them mentally, too. They, and they only, would clear my mind of its confusion, and show me a way out of this rotten mess. I wanted them most of all morally. I lacked the spirit to stand up under this sudden burst of drum fire.

But Lou stuck to it gamely. She was on her mettle, though I could see that she was almost fainting from the stress of the various circumstances.

"Send for our courier, Hector Laroche,” she insisted. The consul shrugged his shoulders. "But where is he?”

"Why,” she said, "he must be looking for us all over the town. When he got to the Fauno Ebbrio and found we weren’t there, and heard what had happened, he must have been very anxious about us.”

"In fact, I don’t see why he isn’t here now,” said the consul. He must have known that you were arrested."

"Perhaps something’s happened to him," suggested Lou. "But that would really be too curious a coincidence.”

"Well, these things do happen,’’ admitted the consul. He seemed somehow more at his ease with her, and better disposed, than when he was talking to me. Her magnetic beauty and her evident aristocracy could not help but have their effect.

I found myself admiring her immensely, in quite a new way. It had never occurred to me that she could rise to a situation with such superb aplomb.

"Won’t you sit down?" said the consul, "I’m sure you must be very tired.”

He put a chair for her, and went back to his seat on the sofa.

"It’s a little awkward, you see,” he went on. 1 don’t, as a matter of fact, believe all I read in the papers. And there are several very curious points about the situation which you don’t seem to see yourself. And I don’t mind admitting that your failure to see them makes a very favourable impression.

He paused and bit his lip, and pulled at his neck.

"It’s very difficult,” he continued at last. "The facts of the case, on the surface, are undeniably ugly. You are found in disguise in one of the worst places in Naples, and you have actually arms in your hands, which is strengst verboten, as they say in Germany. On the other hand, you give an account of yourself which makes you out to be such utter fools, if you will forgive the frankness of the expression, that it speaks volumes for your innocence, and there’s no doubt about your being British--” he smiled amiably, "and I think I must do what I can for you. Excuse me while I talk to my friend here."

Lou turned on me with a triumphant smile; one of her old proud smiles, except that it was wrung, so to speak, out of the heart of unspeakable agony.

Meanwhile, the commissario was gesticulating and shouting at the consul, who replied with equal volubility but an apparently unsurmountable languor.

Then the conversation stopped suddenly short. The two men rose to their feet.

"I’ve arranged it with my friend here on the basis of his experience of the bold, bad, British tourist. You will come with me to the consulate under the protection of two of his men,’’ he smiled sarcastically, "for fear you should get into any further trouble. You can have your things back except the guns, which are forbidden.’’

How little he knew what a surge of joy went through us at that last remark!

"I will send one of my clerks with you to Capri,’’ he said, " and you will get your passports and money and whatever you need, and come back to me at once and put the position on a more regular footing.’’

We got our things from the sergeant, and made excuses for a momentary disappearance.

By George, how we did want it!

Five minutes later we were almost ourselves again. We saw the whole thing as an enormous lark, and communicated our high spirits to our companion. He attributed them, no doubt, to our prospects of getting out of the scrape.

Lou rattled on all the way about life in London, and I told the story—bar the snow part—of our elopement. He thawed out completely. Our confidence had reassured him.

We shook hands amid all-round genial laughter when we left under the guidance of a very business-like Italian, who spoke English well.

We caught the boat to Capri with plenty of time to spare, and regaled the consuls clerk with all sorts of amusing anecdotes. He was very pleased to be treated on such a friendly footing.

We went up to the Piazza in the Funicular with almost the sensation of soaring. It had been a devil of a mess; but five minutes more would see it at an end. And, despite my exaltation, I registered a vow that I would never do anything so foolish again.

Of course, it was evident what had happened to Feccles. He had somehow failed to learn of our arrest, and was waiting at the hotel with impatient anxiety for our return.

At the same time, it was rather ridiculous in that costume in broad daylight to have to ask the porter for one’s key.

I could not at all understand his look of genuine surprise. That wasn’t simply a question of clothes— I felt it in my bones. And there was the manager, bowing and scraping like a monkey. He seemed to have lost his self-possession. The torrent of his words of welcome ran over a very rough bed.

I couldn’t really grasp what he was saying for a moment, brut there was no mistaking the import of his final phrase.

“I’m so delighted that you’ve changed your mind, Sir Peter, but I felt sure you could never bear to leave Capri so soon. Our beautiful Capri!"

What the deuce was the fellow talking about? Change my mind? What I wanted to do was to change my clothes!

The consul’s clerk made a few rapid explanations in Italian, and it almost hit me in the eye to watch the manager’s face as he lifted his eyes and saw the two obvious detectives in the doorway.

"I don't understand," he said with sudden anxiety. "I don’t understand this at all,” and he bustled round to his desk.

"Where’s our courier?" called out Lou. "It’s for him to explain everything.”

The manager became violently solemn.

"Your Ladyship is undoubtedly right,” he broke out.

But the conventional words did not conceal the fact that his mental attitude was that of a man who has suddenly fallen through a trap-door into a cellar full of something spiky.

"There’s some mistake here,” he went on. "Let me see.”

He called to the girl at the desk in Italian. She fished about in a drawer and produced a telegram.

He handed it over to me. It was addressed to Laroche.

"Urgent bisnes oblige live for Roma night. Pay bill packup join me Museo Palace Hotel Napls in time to each miday train. Pendragon.”

The words were mostly mis-spelt; but the meaning was clear enough. Some one must be playing a practical joke. Probably that paragraph in the paper was part of the same idea. So I supposed Laroche was in the hotel in Naples wondering why we didn’t turn up.

"But where’s our luggage?" cried Lou.

”Why,” said the manager, "your Ladyship’s courier paid the bill as usual. The servants helped him to pack your luggage, and he just managed to catch the morning boat.”

"But what time was this?" cried Lou, and scanned the telegram closely.

It must have been received within a few minutes of our leaving the hotel.

The girl handed over another telegram addressed to the manager.

"Sir Petre add Lady Pendragom espress ther regrets at having so leve so sudenl and mill always have the warmest remebrances of the hapy times they had at the Caligula and hop so riture at the earliest possibile opportunity. Courier till attend to busines details."

It suddenly dawned on my mind that there was one scrap of fact imbedded in this fantastic farrago. The courier had attended to business details with an efficiency worthy of the best traditions of the profession.

The thing seemed to sink into Lou’s mind like a person seeing his way through a chess problem. Her face was absolutely white with cold and concentrated rage.

"He must have watched us in Paris,” she said. "He must have known that we had spent the money we were going to put into his swindle, and made up his mind that his best course was to get the jewellery and the rest of the cash.

She sat down suddenly, collapsed; and began to cry. It developed into violent hysterics, which became so alarming that the manager sent for the nearest doctor.

A knot of servants and one or two guests had gathered in the atrium of the hotel. The outside porter had become the man of the moment.

”Why, certainly,” he announced triumphantly in broken English. "Mr. Laroche, he went off this morning on the seven o’clock boat. I tink you never catch him.”

The events of the last few hours had got me down to my second wind, so to speak. I turned to the consul’s clerk; and I spoke. But my voice seemed to come not so much from me as from the animal inside me; the original Pendragon, if you know what I mean; the creature with blind instincts and an automatic apparatus of thought.

You see how it is,” I heard myself saying, "no passports, no cash, no clothes—nothing!"

I was speaking of myself in the third person. The whole process of human life and action had stopped automatically as far as the hotel was concerned. The knot of babbling gossipers was like a swarm of mosquitoes.

The consul’s clerk had taken in the situation clearly enough; but I could see that the detectives had become highly suspicious. They were itching to arrest me on the spot.

The clerk argued with them garrulously for an interminable time. The manager seemed the most uncomfortable man in Capri. He protested silently to heaven—there being nobody on earth to listen to him.

The situation was set going again by the reappearance of Lou on the arm of a chambermaid, followed by the doctor, who wore the air of a man who has once more met the King of Terrors in open combat, and knocked the stuffing out of him.

Lou was exceedingly shaky, paling and flushing by turns. I hated her. It was she who had got me into all this mess.

"Well," said the clerk, "we must simply go back to the consulate and explain what has happened. Don’t be distressed, Lady Pendragon," he said. "There can be no doubt at all that this man will be caught in a very few hours, and you’ll have all your things back."

Of course I had sense enough to know that he didn’t believe a word of what he was saying. The proverb, "Set a thief to catch a thief," doesn't apply to Italy. If a thief were worth stealing, that would be another story.

There was no boat back to Naples that night. There was nothing to do but to wait till the morning. The manager was extremely sympathetic. He got us some clothes, if not exactly what we were accustomed to, at least better than the horrible things we were wearing. He ordered a special dinner with lots of champagne, and served it in the best suite but one in the house.

His instinctive Italian tact told him not to put us in the rooms we had had before.

He looked in from time to time with a cheery word to see how we were, and to assure us that telegraphic arrangements had been made to catch Mr. Laroche Feccles.

We managed to get pretty drunk in the course of the evening; but there was no exhilaration. The shock had been too great, the disillusion too disgusting. Above all, there was the complete absence of what had, after all, been the mainspring of our lives; our love for each other.

That was gone, as if it had been packed in our luggage. The only approach to sympathetic communion between us was when Lou, practical to the last, brought out our pitifully small supply of heroin and cocaine.

"That’s all we’ve got,” she whispered in anguish of soul, "till God knows when.”

We were frightfully afraid, into the bargain, of its being taken from us. We were gnawed by fierce anxiety as to the issue of our affair with the police. We were even doubtful whether the consul wouldn’t turn against us and scout our story as a string of obvious falsehoods.

The morning was chill. We were shaking with the reaction. Our sleep had been heavy, yet broken, and haunted by abominable dreams.

We could not even stay on deck. It was too cold, and the sea was choppy. We went down in the cabin, and shivered, and were sea-sick.

When we reached the consulate we were physical wrecks. One bit of luck, however, was waiting for us. Our luggage had been found in a hotel at Sorrento. Everything saleable had, of course, been removed by the ingenious Mr. Feccles, including our supply of dope.

But at least we had our passports, and some clothes to wear; and the finding of the luggage in itself, of course, confirmed our story.

The consul was extremely kind, and returned with us himself to the commissario, who dismissed us genially enough, obviously confirmed in his conviction that all English people were mad, and that we in particular ought to travel, if travel we must, in a bassinette.

It took three days to telegraph money from England. It was utterly humiliating to walk about Naples. We felt that we were being pointed at as the comic relief in a very low-class type of film.

We borrowed enough money to get on with, and, of course, we had only one use for it. We stayed in our room in a little hotel unfrequented by English, and crawled out by night to try to buy drugs.

That in itself is a sordid epic of adventure and misadventure. The lowest class of so-called guide was our constant companion. Weary in spirit, we dragged ourselves from one dirty doubtful street to another; held long whispered conferences with the scavenger type of humanity, and as often as not bought various harmless powders at an exorbitant price, and that at the risk of blackmail and other things possibly worse.

But the need of the stuff drove us relentlessly on. We ultimately found an honest dealer, and got a small supply of the genuine stuff. But even then we didn't seem to pick up. Even large doses did hardly more than restore us to our normal, by which I mean, our pre-drug selves. We were like Europe after the war.

The worst and the best we could do was to become utterly disgusted with ourselves, each other, Naples, and life in general.

The spirit of adventure was dead—as dead as the spirit of love. We had just enough moral courage after a very good lunch at Gambrinus, to make up our minds to get out of the entire beastly atmosphere.

Our love had become a mutual clinging, like that of two drowning people. We shook hands on the definite oath to get back to England, and get back as quick as we could.

I believe I might have fallen down even on that. But once again Lou pulled me through. We got into a veittura and took our tickets then and there.

We were going back to London with our tails between our legs, but we were going back to London!  
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:29 am

BOOK II: INFERNO

CHAPTER I: SHORT COMMONS


August 17.

We are at the Savoy. Cockie has gone to see his lawyer. He is looking awfully bad, poor boy. He feels the disgrace of having been taken in by that Feccles. But how was he to know?

It was all really my fault. I ought to have had an instinct about it.

I feel rotten myself. London is frightfully hot; much hotter than it was in Italy. I want to go and live at Barley Grange. No, I don’t; what I want is to get back to where we were. There’s frightfully little H. left. There’s plenty of C.; only one wants so much.

I wonder if this is the right stuff. The effect isn’t what it used to be. At first everything went so fast. It doesn’t any more.

It makes one’s mind very full; drags out the details; but it doesn’t make one think and talk and act with that glorious sense of speed. I think the truth is that we’ve got tired out.

Suppose I suggest to Cockie that we knock off for a week and get our physical strength back and start fresh.

I may as well telephone Gretel and arrange for a really big supply. If we’re going to live at Barley Grange, well have to be cocaine hogs and lay in a big stock. There wouldn’t be any chance of getting it down there; and besides one must take precautions. . . .
 
Bother August! Of course Gretel’s out of town—in Switzerland, the butler said. They don’t know when she’ll be back. I wonder when Parliament meets. . . .

Cockie came back for lunch with a very long face. Mr. Wolfe gave him a good talking-to about money. Well, that’s perfectly right. We had been going the pace.

Cockie wanted to take me out and buy me some jewellery to replace what was stolen; but I wouldn’t let him, except a new watch and a wedding ring.

I’ve got a horrid feeling about that. It’s frightfully unlucky to lose your wedding ring. I feel as if the new one didn’t belong to me at all.

We had a long talk about Gretel being away. We tried one or two places, but they wouldn’t give us any. I wish Cockie had taken out his diploma.

The papers are disgusting. It’s the silly season, right enough. Every time one picks one up, there’s something about cocaine. That old fool Platt is on the war-path. He wants to "arouse public opinion to a sense of the appalling danger which threatens the manhood and womanhood of England.”

One paper had a long speech of his reported in full. He says it’s the plot of the Germans to get even with us.

Of course, I’m only a woman and all that; but it sounds to me rather funny.

We went to tea with Mabel Black. Every one was talking about drugs. Every one seemed to want them; yet Lord Landsend had just come back from Germany and he said you could buy it quite easily there, but nobody seemed to want to.

Then is the whole German people in a silent conspiracy to destroy us? I never took much stock in all those stories about the infernal cunning of the Hun.

We heard a lot about the underground traffic, though, and I think we ought to be able to get it pretty easily....

I don’t know what’s the matter with us both. It made us a bit better to meet the old crowd, and we thought we’d celebrate.

It didn’t come off.

We had a wonderful dinner; and then a horrible thing happened, the most horrible thing in my life. Cockie wanted to go to a show! You might have hit me on the head with a poker. I don’t attract him any more; and I love him so much!

He went to the box office to see about tickets, and while he was gone—this was the really horrible thing— I found I was simply telling myself "I love him so much.”

Love is dead. And yet that’s not true. I do love him with all my heart and soul; and yet, somehow, I can’t. I want to be able to love until I get back. Oh, what’s the good of talking about it!

I know I love him, and yet I know I can’t love any one.

I took a whole lot of cocaine. It dulled what I felt. I was able to fancy I loved him.

We went to the show. It was awfully stupid. I was thinking all the time how I wanted to love, and how I wanted dope, and how I wanted to stop dope so that the dope might do me some good.

I couldn’t really feel. It was a dull, blind sense of discomfort. I was awfully nervous, too. I felt as if I were somehow caught in a trap; as if I had got into the wrong house by mistake and couldn’t get out again. I didn’t know what might be behind all those doors; and I was quite alone. Cockie was there; but he couldn’t do a thing to help me. I couldn’t call to him. The link between us was broken.

And yet apart from all the fear I had for myself, there was an even deeper fear on his account. There is something in me that loves him, something deeper than life; but it won’t talk to me.

I sat through the show like being in a nightmare. I was clinging desperately to him; and he didn't seem to understand me and my need. We were strangers.

I think he was feeling rather good. He talked in a charming, light, familiar way; but every smile was an insult, every caress was a stab.

We got back to the Savoy, utterly worn out and wretched. We kept on taking H. and C. all night; we couldn’t sleep, we talked about the drugs. It was just a long argument about how to take them. We felt we were somehow doing it wrong.

I had been so proud of his medical knowledge, and yet it didn’t seem to throw any light.

It seems that in the medical books, they speak of what they call "Drug virginity.” The thing was to get it back; and according to the books the only way to do it is to take nothing for a long time.

He said it was really just the same as any other appetite. If you have a big lunch you can’t expect to be hungry at tea-time.

But then, what is one to do in the meanwhile?

August 18

We lay in bed very late. I didn’t seem to miss my sleep; but I was too weak to get out of bed.

We had to buck ourselves up in the usual way, and manage to get downstairs for lunch.

London is quite empty and terribly dull. We met Mabel Black by accident walking in Bond Street. She is looking frightfully ill. I can see she dopes too hard. Of course, the trouble with her is she hasn’t got a man. She has a lot of men round her. She could marry any day she liked.

We talked about it a bit. She hasn’t got the energy, she said, and the idea of men disgusts her.

She wears the most wonderful boots. She has a new pair almost every day, and hardly ever puts the same pair on twice. I think she’s a little bit crazy. . . .

London seems different somehow. I used to be interested in every funny little detail. I w T ant to get back to myself. Drugs help me to get almost there; but there is always one little corner to turn and they never take one round. . . .

August 19

We got back from Bond Street bored and stupefied. We went off unexpectedly to sleep; and when we woke it was this morning. I can’t understand why a long sleep like that doesn’t refresh one. We’re both absolutely fagged.

Cockie said a meal would put us right, and he rang down for breakfast in bed. But when it came, we couldn’t either of us eat it.

I remember what Haidee said about the spiritual life. We were being prepared to take our places in the new order of Humanity. It’s perfectly right that one should have to undergo a certain amount of dis¬ comfort. You couldn't expect anything else. It’s nature’s way. . . .

We picked ourselves up with five or six goes of heroin. It’s no use taking cocaine unless you’re feeling pretty good already. . . .

The supply is really awfully small. Confound this silly holiday habit. It really isn’t fair of Gretel to let us down like this.

We went to the Cafe Wisteria. Somebody introduced us to somebody that said he could get all he wanted.

But now there was a new nuisance. The police find it troublesome and dangerous to attend to the crime wave. Besides they’re too busy enforcing regulations. England's altogether different since the war. You never know where you are. Nobody takes any interest in politics in the way they used to, and nobody bothers any more about the big ideas.

I was taught about Magna Charta and the liberty of the individual, and freedom slowly broadening down from precedent to precedent, and so on and so forth.

All sorts of stupid interference with the rights of the citizen gets passed under our noses without our knowing what it is. For all I know, it may be a crime to wear a green hat with a pink dress.

Well, it would be a crime; but I don't think it’s the business of the police.

I read in a paper the other day that a committee of people in Philadelphia had decided that a skirt must be not less than seven and a half inches from the ground—or not more. I don’t know which and I don’t know why. Anyhow, the net result is that the price of cocaine has gone up from a pound an ounce to anything you like to pay. So of course everybody wants it whether they want it or not, and anybody but a member of parliament would know that if you offer a man twenty or thirty times what a thing is worth in itself, he’ll go to a lot of trouble to make you want to buy it. . . .

Well, we found this man was a fraud. He tried to sell us packets of snow in the dark. He tried to prevent Cockie examining the stuff by pretending to be afraid of the police.

But as it happened, Cockie’s long suit was chemistry. He was the wrong man to try to sell powdered borax to at a guinea a sniff. He told the man he’d rather have Beecham’s Pills.

What I love about Cockie is the witty way he talks. But somehow or other, the flashes don’t come like they did—not so often, I mean. Besides which, he seems to be making his jokes to himself.

Most of the time, I don’t get what he means. He talks to himself a great deal, for another thing. I get a feeling of absolute repulsion.

I don't know why it is. The least thing irritates me absurdly. I think it’s because every incident, even the things that are pleasant, distracts my mind from the one thing that matters—how to get a supply and go down to Kent and lay off for a bit and have a really good time like we used to last month. I am sure love would come back if we did, and love’s the only thing that counts in this world or the next.

I feel that it’s only round the corner; but a miss is as good as a mile. It makes it somehow worse to be so near and yet so far. . . .

A very funny thing has just struck me. There’s something in one’s mind that prevents one from thinking of the thing one wants to.

It was perfectly silly of us to be hunting round London for dope and getting mixed up with a rotten crowd like we did in Naples. It never struck us till to-night that all we had to do was to go round to King Lamus. He would give us all we needed at the proper price.

Funny, too, it was Cockie that thought of that. I know he hates the man, though he never ^said so except in an outburst which I knew didn’t mean anything. ...

We went to the studio in a taxi. Curse the luck, he was out! There was a girl there, a tall, thin woman with a white face like a wedge. We gave several hints; but she didn’t rise, and wretched as we were, we didn’t want to spoil the market by telling her outright.

Lamus would be there in the morning, she said.

We said we’d be there at eleven o clock.

We drove back. We had a rotten night economising. We didn’t dare tell each other what we really feared: that somehow he might let us down. . . .

I can’t sleep. Cockie is lying awake with his eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling. He doesn’t stir a muscle. It maddens me that he takes no interest in me. But after all, I take no interest in him. I am as restless as the wandering Jew. At the same time, I can’t settle down to anything. I keep on scribbling this stuff in my diary. It relieves me somehow to write what I feel.

What is so utterly damnable is that I understand what I am doing. This complaining rambling rubbish is the substitute which has taken the place of love.

What have I done to forfeit love? I feel as if I had died and got forgotten in some beastly place where there was nothing but hunger and thirst. Nothing means anything any more except dope, and dope itself doesn’t really mean anything vital.

August 20

I am so tired, so tired, so tired! . . .

My premonition was right about Lamus. There was a very unpleasant scene. We were both frightfully wretched when we got there. (I can’t get my hands and feet warm, and there’s something wrong with my writing).

Peter Pan thought it best to remind him in a jocular way about his remark that we were to come when we needed him, and then introduced the subject of what we needed.

But he took the words brutally out of our mouths.

“You needn’t tell me what you need,’’ he said. "The lack is only too obvious.”

He said it in a non-committal way so that we couldn't take offence; but we knew instinctively he meant brains.

However, Peter stuck to his guns, like the game little devil he is. That’s why I love him.

"Oh, yes, heroin,” said Lamus; "cocaine. We regret exceedingly to be out of it for the moment.”

The brute seemed unconscious of our distress. He gave an imitation of an apologetic shop-walker.

"But let me show you our latest lines on morphine.”

Cockie and I looked at each other wanly. Morphine would no doubt be better than nothing. And then, if you please, the beast pulled a review with a blue cover out of a revolving bookcase and read aloud a long poem. His intonation was so dramatic, he gave so vivid a picture that we sat spell-bound. It seemed as if he had long pincers twisted in our entrails, and were wrenching at them. He gave me the verses when he had finished.

"You ought to paste these,” he said, "in your Magical Diary.”

So I have. I hardly know why. There’s a sort of pleasure in torturing oneself. Is that it?

Thirst!
Not the thirst of the throat
Though that be the wildest and worst
Of physical pangs—that smote
Alone to the heart of Christ,
Wringing the one wild cry
"I thirst!" from His agony,
While the soldiers drank and diced:
Not the thirst benign
That calls the worker to wine;
Not the bodily thirst
(Though that be frenzy accurst)
When the mouth is full of sand,
And the eyes are gummed up, and the ears
Trick the soul till it hears
Water, water at hand,
When a man will dig his nails
In his breast, and drink the blood
Already that clots and stales
Ere his tongue can tip its flood,
When the sun is a living devil
Vomiting vats of evil,
And the moon and the night but mock
The wretch on his barren rock,
And the dome of heaven high-arched
Like his mouth is arid and parched,
And the caves of his heart high-spanned
Are choked with alkali sand!

Not this! but a thirst uncharted;
Body and soul alike
Traitors turned black-hearted,
Seeking a space to strike
In a victim already attuned
To one vast chord of wound;
Every separate bone
Cold, an incarnate groan
Distilled from the icy sperm
Of Hell’s implacable worm;
Every drop of the river
Of blood aflame and a-quiver
With poison secret and sour—
With a sudden twitch at the last
Like certain jagged daggers.
(With bloodshot eyes dull-glassed
The screaming Malay staggers
Through his village aghast).
So blood wrenches its pain
Sardonic through heart and brain.
Every separate nerve
Awake and alert, on a curve
Whose asymptote’s name is "never"
In a hyperbolic "for ever!"
A bitten and burning snake
Striking its venom within it,
As if it might serve to slake
The pain for the tithe of a minute.

Awake, for ever awake!
Awake as one never is
While sleep is a possible end,
Awake in the void, the abyss
Whose thirst is an echo of this
That martyrs, world without end,
(World without end, Amen!)
The man that falters and yields
For the proverb’s "month and an hour
To the lure of the snow-starred fields
Where the opium poppy's aflower.

Only the prick of a needle Charged from a wizard well!
Is this sufficient to wheedle
A soul from heaven to hell?
Was man’s spirit weaned
From fear of its ghosts and gods
To fawn at the feet of a fiend?
Is it such terrible odds—

The heir of ages of wonder,
The crown of earth for an hour,
The master of tide and thunder
Against the juice of a flower?
Ay! in the roar and the rattle
Of all the armies of sin,
This is the only battle
He never was known to win.

Slave to the thirst—not thirst
As here it is weakly written,
Not thirst in the brain black-bitten,
In the soul more sorely smitten!
One dare not think of the worst!
Beyond the raging and raving
Hell of the physical craving
Lies, in the brain benumbed,
At the end of time and space,
An abyss, unmeasured, unplumbed—
The haunt of a face!

She it is, she, that found me
In the morphia honeymoon;
With silk and steel she bound me,
In her poisonous milk she drowned me.
Even now her arms surround me,
Stifling me into the swoon
That still—but oh, how rarely!—
Comes at the thrust of the needle.
Steadily stares and squarely,
Nor needs to fondle and wheedle
Her slave agasp for a kiss,
Hers whose horror is his
That knows that viper womb,
Speckled and barred with black
On its rusty amber scales,
Is his tomb—
The straining, groaning, rack
On which he wails—he wails!

Her cranial dome is vaulted,
Her mad Mongolian eyes
Aslant with the ecstasies
Of things immune, exalted
Far beyond stars and skies,
Slits of amber and jet—
Her snout for the quarry set
Fleshy and heavy and gross,
Bestial, broken across,
And below it her mouth that drips
Blood from the lips
That hide the fangs of a snake,
Drips on venomous udders
Mountainous flanks that fret,
And the spirit sickens and shudders
At the hint of a worse thing yet.

Olya! the golden bait
Barbed with infinite pain,  
Fatal, fanatical mate  
Of a poisoned body and brain!
Olya, the name that leers
Its lecherous longing and knavery,
Whispers in crazing ears
The secret spell of her slavery.

Horror indeed intense,
Seduction ever intenser,
Swinging the smoke of sense
From the bowl of a smouldering censer
Behind me, behind and above,
She stands, that mirror of love.
Her fingers are supple-jointed;
Her nails are polished and pointed,
And tipped with spurs of gold:
With them she rowels the brain.
Her lust is critical, cold;
And her Chinese cheeks are pale,
As she daintily picks, profane
With her octopus lips, and the teeth
Jagged and black beneath.
Pulp and blood from a nail.

One swift prick was enough
In days gone by to invoke her:
She was incarnate love
In the hours when I first awoke her.
Little by little I found
The truth of her, stripped of clothing,
Bitter beyond all bound,
Leprous beyond all loathing.
Black, the plague of the pit,
Her pustules visibly fester,
Cancerous kisses that bit
As the asp caressed her.

Dragon of lure and dread,
Tiger of fury and lust,
The quick in chains to the dead,
The slime alive in the dust,
Brazen shame like a flame,
An orgy of pregnant pollution
With hate beyond aim or name—
Orgasm, death, dissolution!
Know you now why her eyes
So fearfully glaze, beholding
Terrors and infamies
Like filthy flowers unfolding?
Laughter widowed of ease,  
Agony barred from sadness,
Death defeated of peace,
Is she not madness?

She waits for me, lazily leering,
As moon goes murdering moon;
The moon of her triumph is nearing;
She will have me wholly soon.

And you, you puritan others,
Who have missed the morphia craving,
Cry scorn if I call you brothers,
Curl lip at my maniac raving,
Fools, seven times beguiled,
You have not known her? Well!
There was never a need she smiled
To harry you into hell!

Morphia is but one
Spark of its secular fire.  
She is the single sun—  
Type of all desire!
All that you would, you are—
And that is the crown of a craving.
You are slaves of the wormwood star.
Analysed, reason is raving.  
Feeling, examined, is pain.
What heaven were to hope for a doubt of it!
Life is anguish, insane;  
And death is—not a way out of it!


Olya, too, reminds me of myself. I have a morbid wish to be an impossible monster of cruelty and wickedness.

Lamus had told me that long ago. He said it was the phantasm which summed up my longing to "revert to type.” La nostalgie de la boue.

Cockie lost all his dignity. He pleaded for just one sniff. We weren't really very bad, but the description of the thirst in that horrible poem had made us feel thirsty.

"My dear man,” said Lamus very brutally. "I'm not a dope peddler. You’ve come to the wrong shop.”

Cockie's head was drooping, and his eyes were glassy. But the need of dope drove him desperately to try every dodge.

Hang it all, ' he said with a little flash of spirit. “You encouraged us to go on.”

"Certainly,” admitted Lamus, "and now, I'm encouraging you to stop.”

"I thought you believed in do what you like; you’re always saying it.”

"I beg your pardon,” came the sharp retort. "I never said anything of the kind. I said, ‘ Do what thou wilt,’ and I say it again. But that's a horse of quite a different colour.”

"But we need the stuff,” pleaded Peter. "We’ve got to have it. Why did you induce us to take it?"

"Why,” he laughed subtly, “it’s my will to want you to do your will.”

"Yes, and I want the stuff.”

"Acute psychologist as you are, Sir Peter, you have failed to grasp my meaning. I fear I express myself badly.”

Cockie was boiling inwardly, yet he was so weak and faint that he was like a lamb. I myself would have killed Lamus if I had had the means. I felt that he was deliberately torturing us for his own enjoyment.

"Oh, I see,” said Cockie, "I forgot what you were. What's your figure?"

The point blank insult did not even make him smile. He turned to the tall girl who was at the desk, correcting proofs.

"Note the characteristic reaction,” he said to her, as if we had been a couple of rabbits that he was vivisecting. "They don’t understand my point of view. They misquote my words, after hearing them every time we have met. They misinterpret four words of one syllable, ‘ Do what thou wilt.' Finally realising their lack of comprehension, they assume at once that I must be one of the filthiest scoundrels unhanged.”

He turned back to Cockie with a little bow of apology.

"Do try to get some idea of what I'm saying,” he said very earnestly.

I was bursting with hatred, brimming with suspicion, aghast with contempt. Yet he forced me to feel his sincerity. I crushed down the realisation with furious anger.

"I encourage you to take drugs," he went on, "exactly as I encourage you to fly. Drugs claim to be every man’s master.

‘Is it such terrible odds—
The heir of ages of wonder,
The crown of earth for an hour,
The master of tide and thunder
Against the juice of a flower?  
Ay! in the roar and the rattle
Of all the armies of sin,
This is the only battle
He never was known to win.'


You children are the flower of the new generation. You have got to fear nothing. You have got to conquer everything. You have got to learn to make use of drugs as your ancestors learnt to make use of lightning. You have got to stop at the word of command, and go on at the word of command according to circumstances."

He paused. The dire need of the drug kept Peter alert. He followed the argument with intense activity.

"Quite," he agreed, " and just at the moment, the word of command is ‘go on.’"

The face of King Lamus flowered into a smile of intense amusement; and the girl at the desk shook her thin body as if she were being deliciously tickled.

Intuition told me why. They had heard the argument before.

"Very cleverly put, Sir Peter. It would look well in a broad frame, very plain, of dark mahogany, over the mantelpiece, perhaps."

For some reason or other, the conversation was pulling us together. Though we had had no dope, we both felt very much better. Cockie fired his big gun.

"It’s the essence of your teaching, surely, Mr. Lamus, that every man should be absolute master of his own destiny.”

"Well, well,” admitted the Teacher with an exaggerated sigh, "I expected to be beaten in argument. I always am. But I, too, am the master of mine.

‘If Power asks Why, then is Power weakness/ as we read in the Book of the Law; and it’s not my destiny to give you any drugs this morning.”

”But you’re interfering with my Will,” protested Cockie, almost vivaciously.

"It would take too long to explain,” returned Lamus, "why I think that remark unfair. But to quote the Book of the Law once more, ‘Enough of Because, be he damned for a dog.’ Instead, let me tell you a story.”

We tactfully expressed eagerness to hear it.

”The greatest mountaineer of his generation, as you know, was the late Oscar Eckenstein.”

He went through a rather complicated gesture quite incomprehensible; but it vaguely suggested to me some ceremonial reverence connected with death.

"I had the great good fortune to be adopted by this man; he taught me how to climb; in particular, how to glissade. He made me start down the slope from all kinds of complicated positions; head first and so on; and I had to let myself slide without attempting to save myself until he gave the word, and then I had to recover myself and finish, either sitting or standing, as he chose, to swerve or to stop; while he counted five. And he gave me progressively dangerous exercises. Of course, this sounds all rather obvious, but as a matter of fact, he was the only man who had learnt and who taught to glissade in this thorough way.

"The acquired power, however, stood me in very good stead on many occasions. To save an hour may sometimes mean to save one’s life, and we could plunge down dangerous slopes where (for example) one might find oneself on a patch of ice when going at high speed if one were not certain of being able to stop in an instant when the peril were perceived. We could descend perhaps three thousand feet in ten minutes where people without that training would have had to go down step by step on the rope, and perhaps found themselves benighted in a hurricane in consequence.

"But the best of it was this: I was in command of a Himalayan expedition some years ago; and the coolies were afraid to traverse a snow slope which overhung a terrific cliff. I called on them to watch me, flung myself on the snow head first, swept down like a sack of oats, and sprang to my feet on the very edge of the precipice.

"There was a great gasp of awed amazement while I walked up to the men. They followed me across the mauvis pas without a moment’s hesitation. They probably thought it was magic or something. No matter what. But at least they felt sure that they could come to no harm by following a man so obviously under the protection of the mountain gods.”

Cockie had gone deathly white. He understood with absolute clarity the point of the anecdote. He felt his manhood shamed that he was in the power of this blind black craving. He didn’t really believe that Lamus was telling the truth. He thought the man had risked his life to get those coolies across. It seemed impossible that a man could possess such absolute power and confidence. In other words, he judged King Lamus by himself. He knew himself not to be a first-rate airman. He had flattered himself that he had dared so many dangers. It cut him like a whip that Lamus should despise what people call the heroic attitude; that he looked upon taking unnecessary risks as mere animal folly. To be ready to take them, yes. "I do not set my life at a pin’s fee.”

Lamus had no admiration for the cornered rat. His ideal was to make himself completely master of every possible circumstance.

Cockie tried to say something two or three times; but the words wouldn’t come. King Lamus went to him and took his hand.

"Drugs are the slope in front of us,” he said, "and I’m wily old Eckenstein, and you’re ambitious young Lamus. And I say stop!’ and when you show me that you can stop, when you have picked yourself together and are standing on the slope laughing, I’ll show you how to go on.”

We knew at the back of our minds that the man was inexorable. We hated him as the weak always hate the strong, and we had to respect and admire him, detesting him all the more for the fact.
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Wed Sep 18, 2019 1:50 am

CHAPTER II: INDIAN SUMMER

We went out gritting our teeth with mingled rage and dejection. We walked on aimlessly in silence. A taxi offered itself. We climbed into it listlessly and drove back here. We threw ourselves on our beds. The idea of lunch was disgusting. We were too weak and too annoyed to do anything. We could not trust ourselves to speak; we should have quarrelled. I fell into a state of sleepless agony. Our visit to the studio had burnt itself into my mind. I imagined the flesh of my soul sizzling beneath the white hot branding iron of Lamus’s Will.

I reached out my hands for this diary. It has relieved me to write it down in all this detail.

I found myself on fire with passionate determination to fight H. and C. to a finish; and my hands were tied behind my back, my feet were fettered by a chain and ball. I wouldn’t be made to stop by that beast. We’d get it despite him. We wouldn’t be treated like children; we’d get as much as we wanted and we’d take it all the time, if it killed us.

The conflict in myself raged all the afternoon. Cockie had gone to sleep. He snored and groaned. He was like one’s idea of a convict. He hadn’t shaved for two days. My own nails were black. I felt sticky and clammy all over. I hadn’t dressed myself. I had thrown my clothes on carelessly.

Cockie woke about dinner-time. We couldn’t go down as we were. We were suddenly stung by the realisation that we were making ourselves conspicuous in the hotel. We had a horrible fear of being found out. They might do something. It was all the worse that we didn’t quite know what. And we felt so helpless, almost too weak to move a finger.

Oh, couldn’t we find some anywhere! . . .

My God! what a bit of luck. What a fool I am. There was one packet of H. in the pocket of my travelling dress. We crawled towards each other and shared it. After the long abstention, the effect was miraculous.

Cockie picked himself up almost fiercely. The desperate anguish of our necessity drove him to swift resolute action. He sent for the barber and the waiter. We had the maid pack our things. We paid the bill and left our heavy trunks in the hotel, explaining that we had been called away suddenly on business. We put our dressing cases into a taxi and said, "Euston, main line.”

Cockie stopped the man at Cambridge Circus.

"Look here,” he said in an eager whisper, "we want some rooms in Soho. Some French or Italian place.”

The man was equal to the problem. He found us a dirty dark little room on the ground floor in Greek Street. The landlady was some kind of Southerner with a dash of black blood. Her face told us that she was exactly the kind of woman we wanted.

We paid the taxi. Cockie was very restless. He wanted to get the man to do what we wanted. He was itching all over, but he was afraid. We sat down on the bed, and began to make plans.

August 21

I don’t remember anything. I must have gone off suddenly to sleep as I was. Cockie is out. . . .

He has been going round town all night; the clubs and that. He got two sniffs from Mabel Black; but she was shy herself. He and Dick Wickham went down to Limehouse. No luck I They nearly got into a row with some sailors....

Madame Bellini has brought breakfast. Horrible, beastly food. We must eat some; I'm so weak. . . .

She came in to clear it away and do the room. I got her talking about her life. She has been in England nearly thirty years. I worked round to the interesting subject. She doesn’t know much about it. She thinks she can help. One of the women lodgers injects. She asked could we pay. It’s really rather comic. Eight thousand a year and one of the most beautiful houses near London. And here we are in this filthy hole being asked “can we pay!” by a hag that never saw a sovereign in her life unless she stole it from some drunken client.

Cockie seems to have lost his sense. He flashed a fifty-pound note in her face. It was because he was angry at her attitude. She rather shut up. Either she thinks we’re police spies or she’s made up her mind to rob us.

The sight of the cash knocked her out of time! It destroyed her sense of proportion. It put all her ideas of straight dealing out of her mind. Her manner changed. She went off.

Pete told me to go and see the dope girl myself. It’s the first time he ever spoke to me like that. All sexual feeling is dead between us. We’ve tried to work up the old passion. It was artificial, horrible, repulsive; a degradation and a blasphemy. Why is it? The snow intensified love beyond every possibility. Yet I love him more than ever. He’s my boy. I think he must be ill. I wish I weren’t so tired. I’m not looking after him properly, and I can’t think about anything except getting H. I don’t seem to mind so much about C. I never liked C. much. It made me dizzy and ill.

We have no amusements now. We get through the day in a dark, dreary dream. I can’t fix my mind on anything. The more I want H. the less I am able to think and act as I should to get anything else I wanted.

Cockie went out slamming the door. It swung open again.

I couldn’t go to the woman like this. I’ve written this to try to keep from crying.

But I am crying, only the tears won’t come.

I'm snivelling like a woman I once saw when I visited the hospital.

I haven’t got a handkerchief.

I can’t bring myself to wash in that dirty cracked basin. We’ve brought no soap. The towel’s soiled and torn. I must have some H. . . .

I’ve just been to see Lillie Fitzroy. How can men give her money? Her hair is gray, crudely dyed. She has wrinkles and rotten teeth. She was in bed, of course. I shook her roughly to wake her. I’ve lost every feeling for others, and people see it, and it spoils my own game. I must pretend to have the kindness and gentleness which I used to have so much; which used to make people think me an amiable fool.

Some one told me once that adjectives spoilt nouns in literature, and you can certainly cut out that one.

She’s a good sort, all the same, poor flabby old thing. She only takes M., and only gets that in solution ready to inject. She saw I was all in, and gave me a dose in the thigh. It doesn’t touch the spot like H., but it stops the worst of the suffering. She never gets up till tea-time. I left her a fiver. She promised to see what she could do that night with the man who gets it for her.

She got very affectionate in a sentimental, motherly style, told me the story of her life, and so on, for ever it seemed. Of course, I had to pretend to be interested to keep her in good humour. Everything might depend on that.

But it was awful to have to let her kiss me when I went away. I wonder if I should get like that if I went on with dope.

What absolute nonsense! For all I know, it may have prevented her going faster still. She must have had a beastly rotten life. The way she clawed at that five quid was the clue to her troubles; that and her ignorance of everything but the nastiest kind of vice and the meanest kind of crime.

The morphine has certainly done me a world of good. I am quite myself. I feel it by the way I am writing this entry. I have a quiet impersonal point of view. I have got back my sense of proportion. I can think of things consecutively and I feel physically much stronger, but I've got very sleepy again. . . .

Joy! Cockie has just come in full of good news. He looks fine—as fine as he feels. He had a sample from a pedlar he met in the Wisteria. It’s absolutely straight stuff. Pulled him round in a second. There are two of them in it; the man with the dope and the sentry. They talk business in the lavatory, and if another man comes in, the pedlar disappears. In case of real danger, he gets rid of his sample in a flash beyond any possibility of being traced. The loss is trifling; they can buy the stuff at a few shillings an ounce and sell it for I don’t know how many times its weight in gold.

We shall have a great night to-night!

August 22

A hellish night!

Cockie kept his date with the pedlar, got ten pounds' worth of H. and fifteen of C., and the H. was nothing at all and the C., so adulterated that we took the whole lot and it was hardly worth talking about.

What filthy mean beasts people are! . . .

How can men take advantage of the bitter needs of others? It was the same in the war with the profiteers. It’s always been the same.

I am writing this in a Turkish bath. I couldn’t stand that loathsome house any more. It has done me lots of good. The massage has calmed my nerves. I slept for a long while, and a cup of tea has revived me.

I tried to read a paper, but every line opens the wound. They seem to have gone mad about dope. . . .

I suppose it’s really quite natural. I remember my father telling me once that the inequality of wealth and all the trickery of commerce arose from artificial restriction.

Last night’s swindle was made possible by the great philanthropist Jabez Platt. His Diabolical Dope Act has created the traffic which he was trying to suppress. It didn’t exist before except in his rotten imagination. . . .

I get such sudden spells of utter weariness. Dope would put me right. Nothing else has any effect. Everything that happens makes me want a sniff; and every sniff makes something happen. One can’t get away from the cage, but the complexity makes me . . . there, I can’t think what I started to say. My mind stops suddenly. It’s like dropping a vanity bag. You stop to pick it up and the things are all over the place and it always seems as if something were missing. One can never remember what it is, but the feeling of annoyance is acute. It’s mixed up with a vague fear. I’ve often forgotten things before—every one does all the time, but it doesn’t bother one.

But now, every time that I remember that I’ve forgotten something, I wonder whether it’s H. or C. or mixing the two that is messing up my mind. . . .

My mind keeps on running back to that American nigger we met in Naples. He said snow made people "flighty and sceptical.” It was such a queer expression. By sceptical he meant suspicious, I think. Anyhow, I’ve got that way. Flighty—I can’t keep my mind on things like I could, except, of course, the one thing. And even that is confused. It’s not a clear thought. It’s an ache and a fear and a pain—and a sinister rapture. And I am suspicious of everybody I see.

I wonder if they think I’m taking it, and if they can do something horrid. I’m always on the look-out for people to play me some dirty trick, but that isn't a delusion at all. I’ve seen more meanness and treachery since the night I met Cockie than I knew in the rest of my life.

We seem to have got into a bad set somehow. And yet, my oldest friends—I can’t trust them like I did. They’re all alike. I wonder if that's a delusion? How can I tell? They do act funnily. I’m unsettled. How can one be sure of anything? One can’t. The more one thinks of it, the more one sees it must be so.

Look how Feccles let us down. For all I know, there may be some motive at the back of even a really nice woman like Gretel—or Mabel Black. I’m really suspicious of myself. I think that’s it.

I must go home. I hope to God Cockie’s found some somewhere! . . .

I met Mabel Black coming out of the Burlington Arcade. She looked fine, all over smiles, a very short, white skirt and a new pair of patent leather boots almost up to her knees. She must find them frightfully hot. She rushed me into a tea place, awfully smart with rose-shaded lights reflected up to a blue ceiling; the combination made a most marvellous purple.

We got an alcove shut off by canary-coloured curtains and a set of the loveliest cushions I ever saw. Two big basket chairs and a low table. They have the most delightful tea in egg-shell china and Dolly cigarettes with rose leaves.

Mabel talked a hundred miles a minute. She has struck the biggest kind of oil—a romantic boy of sixty- five. He had bought her a riding crop with a carved ivory handle; the head of a race horse with ruby eyes and a gold collar.

I asked her laughingly if it was to keep him in order. But what she was really keen on was H. She had got a whole bottle and gave me quite a lot in an envelope.

The first go, oh, what joy! And then—how strange we all are! The minute f had it in my bag—in my blood—my mind began to work freely. The irritating stupefaction passed off like waking from a nightmare —a nightmare of suffocation—and it came to me with the force of a blow that the effect was not due to the H. at all, or hardly at all. When we got it again in Naples, it didn’t do us much good.

Why was I translated into heaven this afternoon? Why had I found my wings?

The answer came as quick as the question. It’s the atmosphere of Mabel and the relief of my worry. With that came a rational fear of the drug. I asked her if she hadn’t had any troubles from taking it.

“You can’t sleep without it,” she said, but not as if it mattered much, "and it rather gets on one’s nerves now and then.”

She had to rush off to meet her beau for dinner. I went back to our dirty little den, brimming over with joy. I found Cockie sprawling on the bed in the depth of dejection. He did not move when I came in. I ran to him and covered him with kisses. His eyes were heavy and swollen and his nose was running.

I gave him my handkerchief and pulled him up. His clothes were all rumpled and of course he hadn’t shaved. I couldn’t resist the temptation of teasing my darling. My love had come back in flood. I tingled with the pain of feeling that he did not respond. I hugged the pain to my heart. My blood beat hard with the joy of power. I held him in my hand. One dainty act, and he was mine. I hadn’t the strength to enjoy myself to the full. Pity and tenderness brought the tears to my eyes. I shook out a dose of the dull white wizardry.

He sniffed it up with stupid lethargy like a man who has lost hope of life, yet still takes his medicine as a routine. He came up gradually, but was hardly himself till after the third dose.

I took one, too, to keep him company, not because I needed it. I sent him out to get shaved and buy clean linen.

I take a curious delight in writing this diary. I know now why it is and it has rather startled me. It’s just that chance phrase of King Lamus: "Your magical diary.”

I have flirted a lot with Lamus, but it was mostly swank. I dislike the man in many ways.

By Jove, I know why that is, too. It’s because I feel that he despises me intellectually, and because I respect him. Despite my dislike, I am eager to show him that I am not such a rotter after all.

One of his fads is to make his pupils keep these magical diaries. I feel that I’ve gone in for a competition; that I have to produce something more interesting than anything they do, whoever they are.

Here comes Peter Pan. He hasn’t grown old after all. . . .

We had a gorgeous feed at the dear old cafe. King Lamus came up to our table but he only said a few words.

"So you got it, I see.”

Cockie gave him one back.

”I hate to injure your reputation as a prophet, Mr. Lamus, but it isn’t stopping when you have to stop. I’ye got it, as you say, and now, with your kind permission, I’m going to show you that we can stop.”

Lamus changed his manner like a flash. His contemptuous smile became like sunrise in spring.

"That’s talking,” he said. "I’m glad you’ve got the idea. Don’t think I’m trying to put you off, but if you should find it more difficult than you imagine, don t be too proud to come to me! I really do know some fairly good tips.”

I was glad that Peter took it in good part. Being in good form, he realised, I suppose, that it was a serious business. We might strike a snag.

August 23

The night has been a miracle!

We went on taking H. pretty steadily. I think the C. spoils it. Our love bloomed afresh as if it was a new creation. We were lapsed in boundless bliss!

"Awake, for ever awake!
Awake as one never is
While sleep is a possible end,
Awake in the void, the abyss.”


But not in the unutterable anguish of which the poet was writing. It is a formless calm. But love! We had never loved like this before. We had defiled love with the grossness of the body.

The body is an instrument of infinite pleasure; but excitement and desire sully its sublimity. We were conscious of every nerve to the tiniest filament; and for this one must be ineffably aloof from movement.

H. makes one want to scratch, and scratching is infinite pleasure. But that is only a relic of animal appetite.

After a little while, one is able to enjoy the feeling that makes one want to scratch in itself. It is an impersonal bliss perfectly indescribable and indescribably perfect.

I cannot measure the majesty of my consciousness; but I can indicate the change in the whole character of my consciousness.

I am writing this in the mood of the recording angel. I am living in eternity, and temporal things have become tedious and stupid symbols. My words are veils of my truth. But I experience quite definite delight in this diary.

King Lamus is always at the root of my brain. He is Jupiter and I have sprung from his thought; Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom!

The most tremendous events of life are unworthy trifles. The sublimity of my conceptions sweeps onward from nowhere to nowhere. Behind my articulate anthem is a stainless silence.

I am not writing for any reason, not even for myself to read; the action is automatic.

I am the first-born child of King Lamus without a mother. I am the emanation of his essence.

I lay all night without moving a muscle. The nearness of my husband completed the magnetic field of our intimacy. Act, word, and thought were equally abolished. The elements of my consciousness did not represent me at all. They were sparks struck off from our Selves. Those Selves were one Self which was whole. Any positive expression of it was of necessity partial, incomplete, inadequate. The Stars are imperfection of Night; but at least these thoughts are immeasurably faster and clearer than anything I have thought all my life.

If I were ever to wake up—it seems impossible that I ever should—this entry will probably be quite un¬ intelligible to me. It is not written with the purpose of being intelligible or any other purpose. The idea of having a purpose at all is beneath contempt. It is the sort of thing a human being would have.

How can a supreme being inhabiting eternity have a purpose? The absolute, the all, cannot change; how then could it wish to change? It acts in accordance with its nature; but all such action is without effect. It is essentially illusion; and the deeper one enters into one’s self the less one is influenced by such illusions.

As the night went on, I found myself less and less disturbed by my own exquisite emotions. I felt myself dissolving deliciously into absence of interruption to the serenity of my soul....

I think writing this has reminded me of what I used to think was reality. It was time to go out and have lunch. The luxurious lethargy seems insuperable....

It isn’t hunger; it's habit. Some instinct, some obscure and obscene recollection of the lurking brute drives one to get up and go out. The dodge for doing this is to take three or four rather small sniffs in quick succession. C. would be much better, but we haven’t got any.

September 1

What ages and ages have passed! These filthy lodgings have been Eden without the snake. Our lives have been Innocence; no toil, no thought. We did not even eat, except the little food the woman brought in.

We scared her, by the way. She can’t or won't get us any H. or C. The morphine girl has disappeared.

I'm not sure and it doesn’t matter, but I think the landlady—I can never remember the woman’s name, she reminds me of those dreadful days in Naples—told us that she stole some things from a shop and went to jail. It was a great nuisance, because I had to put my clothes on and call on Mabel. Luckily, she was in and had a whole lot of it.

We must have been increasing the dose very fast; but I can’t be sure, because we don’t keep track of it or of the days either. Counting things is so despicable. One feels so degraded. Surely that’s the difference between spirit and matter. It’s bestial to be bounded.

Cockie agrees with me about this. He thinks I’m writing rather wonderful things. But as soon as we come down to ordinary affairs, we quarrel all the time. We snap about nothing at all. The reason is evident.

Having to talk destroys the symphony of silence. It’s hateful to be interrupted; and it interrupts one to be asked to pass a cigarette.

I wasn’t going to be bothered to go out again, so I made Mabel give me all she could spare. She promised to get some more and send it round next Sunday....

We’re not very well, either of us. It must be this dark, dirty room and the bad atmosphere; and the street noises get on my nerves.

We could go to Barley Grange, but it’s too much trouble. Besides, it might break the spell of our happiness. We’re both a little afraid about that.

It happened once before, and we don’t want to take any chances. It wants a lot of clever steering to keep the course. For instance, we took too much one night and made ourselves sick. It took three or four hours to get back, and that was absolute hell. My heart is a little fretful at times. It’s certainly great, Peter Pan having medical knowledge. He went out and got some strychnine and put me right.

Champagne helps H. quite a lot. You mustn’t drink it off. The thing to do is to sip it very slowly. It helps one to move one’s hands.

We sent out a boy and got in three dozen small bottles.

September 5

The world is a pig. It keeps on putting its nose where it isn’t wanted. We are overdrawn at the bank. Cockie had to write to Mr. Wolfe.

“It ought to be stopped,” he cried, “it amounts to brawling in church!”

A flash of the old Peter Pan!

September 8

The woman says it’s Tuesday, and we’re running awfully short. Why can’t people keep their promises? I’m sure Mabel said Sunday.
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:37 am

CHAPTER III: THE GRINDING OF THE BRAKES

September 9

Peter and I have had a long, nasty quarrel, and I had to pull his hair for him. It broke one of my nails. I've let them go very long. I don't know when I was manicured last.

For some reason, they're dry and brittle. I must have them done. I'd send the boy out, but I don’t like the idea of a strange girl coming here. One never knows what may go wrong. It doesn’t really matter, either. The body is merely a nuisance, and it hurts.

“So blood wrenches its pain
Sardonic through heart and brain.”


I am beginning to hate that horrible poem. It haunts me. I don’t know why I should remember it like I do.

Have I been reading it, I wonder? Or perhaps it is the incredible access of intellectual power which heroin gives that has improved my memory. Anyhow, the fact is that odd bits of it come swimming into my mind like goldfish darting in and out among streaming seaweed.

Oh, yes, my quarrel with Cockie. He said we mustn’t risk being absolutely short of the suit; and I must go and get a new supply from Mabel before we ran clean out. I can't help seeing that Cockie is degenerating morally. He ought to be ashamed of himself. He ought to have made proper arrangements for a regular supply instead of relying on me.

He lies there all the time perfectly useless. He hasn’t washed or shaved in a month, and he knows perfectly well that I detest dirt and untidiness. One of the things that attracted me most about him was his being so spruce and well-groomed and alert. He has changed altogether, since we came to London. I feel there is some bad influence at work on him....

This place is full of vermin. I found what had been annoying me. I think I shall bob my hair. I’m awfully proud of its length, but one must be practical....

I am lying down for a bit. It was a frightful nuisance getting ready to go out. Cockie nagged and bullied all the time.

I’m stiff all over, and it seems such waste of time to wash and dress, besides, the irritation of the interruption, and my clothes are impossible. I’ve been sleeping in them. I wish we’d brought some trunks from the Savoy. No, I don’t, it would have been a lot of trouble, and interfered with our heroin honeymoon.

It’s best the way it is. I wish I had Jacqueline here all the same. I need a maid, and she could have gone out and got things. But we both felt that any one at all would be a pill. The old woman doesn’t bother us, thank goodness. I’m sure she still thinks we’re spies. Bother, what’s this?...

Damn! It’s a letter from Basil!

(Note. The original of this letter was destroyed. It is now printed from the carbon copy in the files of Mr. King Lamus. Ed.)

"Dear Unlimited Lou,—Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. You will, I am sure, forgive me for boring you with a letter; but you know what a crank I am, and it is my mania just now to collect information about the psychology of people who are trying to advance spiritually in the way we spoke about when you so charmingly dawned on my studio the other morning.

Do you find, in particular, that there is any difficulty in calling a halt? If so, is it not perhaps because you hear on all sides—especially from people quite ignorant of the subject, such as journalists, doctors and parrots —that it is in fact impossible to do so? Of course, I don't doubt that you immediately killed any such 'pernicious suggestion' by a counter-suggestion based on my positive statement, from experience, that people of strong character and high intelligence like yourself and Sir Peter—to whom please give my most cordial greetings!—were perfectly well able to use these things in moderation as one does soap.

“But, apart from this, do you find that the life of a ‘Heroine’ makes you abnormally ‘suggestible?'

"As you know, I object to the methods of Coue and Baudouin. They ask us deliberately to abandon free will and clear mentality for the semi-hypnotic state of the mediaeval peasant; to return like ‘the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire' from which we have been extricated by evolution.

"Now, doesn’t waltzing with the Hero's Bride or making Snow Men tend to put you into a state of mind which is too dreamy to resist the action of any strenuous idea which is presented to it strongly enough, is too dead to feeling to wish to resist, or so excitable that it is liable to be carried away by its admiration for any fascinatingly forceful personality?

“I should be so glad to have your views on these points; and, of course, your personal confirmation of my theory that people like you and Sir Peter can use these substances with benefit to yourselves and others, without danger of becoming slaves. I have trained myself and many others to stop at Will; but every additional affidavit to this effect is of great value to me in my present campaign to destroy the cowardly superstition that manhood and womanhood are incapable of the right and proper use of anything whatever in nature. We have tamed the wild lightning, after all; shall we run away from a packet of powder?

"Love is the law, love under will.

"With my kind regards to Sir Peter,

"Yours ever,
"Basil King Lamus."


Satirical, sneering stupidity—or is he a devil incarnate, as Gretel told us he was? Does he gloat? I loathe the beast—and I thought—once—well, never mind! Peter took the letter. Anything, anything to distract the mind from its boredom! Yet we haven't the energy to do anything: we take whatever comes to us, and clutch at it feebly. "It’s true,” said Cockie, to my amazement, "and we’ve got to be able to tell him we’ve won.” There was a long quarrel—as there is over every incident of any sort. That is natural, with this eternal insomnia and sleeping at the wrong time. I hated Peter (and K.L.) the more because I knew all the time he was right. If K.L. is a Devil, it’s up to us to get the last laugh. I tore the beastly letter into shreds. Peter has gone out—I hope he has gone to kill him. I want to be thrilled—just once more— if I had to be hanged for it myself.

Our watches have run down. It doesn’t matter. I can call on Mabel any time I like. I may as well go now. I’ll drink a small bottle and go along....

It is night. Cockie has not returned. Just when I needed him most! I’m frightened of myself. I'm stark staring sober. I went to the glass to take my hat off. I didn’t know who I was. There is no flesh on my face. My complexion’s entirely gone. My hair is lustreless and dry, and it’s coming out in handfuls. I think I must be ill. I’ve a good mind to send for a doctor. But I daren’t. It has been a frightful shock! ...

I must pull myself together and write it up.

It was about five o’clock when I got to Mount Street. If Mabel wasn’t in, I could wait.

A strange man answered the door. It annoyed me. I felt frightened. Why had she changed Cartwright? I felt faint. Had something told me?

It embarrassed me to ask "Is Mrs. Black at home?" The man answered as if he had been asked the time.

"Mrs. Black is dead.”

Something inside me screamed. "But I must see her,” I cried insanely, feeling the ground cut suddenly from under my feet.

"I’m afraid it’s impossible, madame," he said, misunderstanding me altogether. "She was buried yesterday morning."

So that was why she hadn’t sent the stuff! I stood as if I was in a trance. I heard him explaining, mechanically. I did not take in what he was saying. It was like a record being made on a gramophone.

"She was only ill two days," the man said. "The doctors called it septic pneumonia.”

I suppose I thanked him, and went away automatically. I found myself at home without knowing how I got here. Something told me that the real cause of her death was heroin, though, as a matter of fact, septic pneumonia can happen to any one at any moment. I’ve known two or three people go off like that.

As my Uncle John used to say, conscience makes cowards of us all.

King Lamus was always saying that as long as one has any emotion about any thing, love or fear or anything else, one can't observe things correctly. That’s why a doctor won’t attend his own family, and I can see coldly and clearly like a drowning man that whenever the idea of H. comes into my mind, I begin to think hysterically and come to the most idiotic conclusions; and heroin has twined itself about my life so closely that everything is connected with it one way or another.

My mind is obsessed by the thought of the drug. Sometimes it’s a weird ecstasy, sometimes a dreadful misgiving.

"Not thirst in the brain black-bitten
In the soul more sorely smitten!
One dare not think of the worst!
Beyond the raging and raving
Hell of the physical craving,
Lies, in the brain benumbed,
At the end of time and space,
An abyss, unmeasured, unplumbed—
The haunt of a face!"


September 12

Peter came in just as I had finished writing this account. He seemed much more cheerful, and his arms were full of books.

"There,” he said, throwing them on the bed, "that will refresh my memory, in case we have any trouble in stopping, I'll show Mr. King Lamus what it means to be a Pendragon.”

I told him about Mabel. And now a strange thing happened. Instead of being depressed, we felt a current of mysterious excitement, rippling at first, then raging and roaring in every nerve. It was as if the idea of her death exhilarated us. He took me in his arms for the first time in—is it weeks or months? His hot breath coiled like a snake about my ear, and thrilled my hair like an electric machine. With a strange ghastly intensity his voice, trembling with passion, strummed the intoxicating words:—

"Olya! the golden bait
Barbed with infinite pain,
Fatal, fanatical mate
Of a poisoned body and brain!
Olya, the name that leers
Its lecherous longing and knavery,
Whispers in crazing ears
The secret spell of her slavery.”


The room swam before my eyes. We were wreathed in spirals of dark blue smoke bursting with crimson flashes.

He gripped me with epileptic fury, and swung me round in a sort of savage dance. I had an intuition that he w r as seeing the same vision as I was. Our souls were dissolved into one; a giant ghost that enveloped us.

I hissed the next lines through my teeth, feeling myself a fire-breathing dragon.

"Horror indeed intense,
Seduction ever intenser,
Swinging the smoke of sense
From the bowl of a smouldering censer!"


We were out of breath. My boy sat on the edge of the bed. I crept up behind him. I shook out my hair all over his face, and dug my nails into his scalp.

We were living the heroin life, the life of the world of the soul. We had identified ourselves with the people of the poem. He was the poet, wreathed with poppies, with poisonous poppies that corrupted his blood, and I was the phantom of his delirium, the hideous vampire that obsessed him.

Little drops of blood oozed from his scalp and clotted to black under my greedy nails. He spoke the next lines as if under some cruel compulsion. The words were wrenched from him by some overwhelming necessity. His tone was colourless, as if the ultimate anguish had eaten up his soul. And all this agony and repulsion exercised a foul fascination. He suffered a paroxysm of pleasure such as pleasure itself had never been able to give him. And I was Olya, I was his love, his wife, world without end, the demon whose supreme delight was to destroy him.

"Behind me, behind and above,
She stands, that mirror of love.
Her fingers are subtle-jointed;
Her nails are polished and pointed,
And tipped with spurs of gold:
With them she rowels the brain.
Her lust is critical, cold;
And her Chinese cheeks are pale,
As she daintily picks, profane
With her octopus lips, and the teeth
Jagged and black beneath,
Pulp and blood from a nail.”


I jerked his head back, and fastened my mouth on his. I sucked his breath into my lungs. I wanted to choke him; but there was time enough for that. 1 would torture him a few years longer first.

I leapt away from him. He panted heavily. When he got his breath back, he glared at me horribly with the pin-point pupils of his sightless eyes.

He began with romantic sadness, changing to demoniac glee.

"She was incarnate love
In the hours when I first awoke her.
Little by little I found
The truth of her, stripped of clothing,
Bitter beyond all bound,
Leprous beyond all loathing.”


We shouted with delight, and fell into a fit of hysterical laughter. We came out of it completely exhausted. I must have slept for a while.

When I woke he was sitting at the table under the yellow gas jet, reading the books he had bought.

Somehow, the past had been washed out of us. We found ourselves intent on the idea of stopping H.; and the books didn’t help very much. They were written in a very positive way. The writers quarrelled among themselves like a Peace Conference.

But they all agreed on two points: that it was beyond the bounds of human possibility to break off the habit by one’s own efforts. At the best, the hope was pitifully poor. The only chance was a "cure" in a place of restraint. And they all gave very full details of the horrors and dangers of the process. The physician, they said, must steel his heart against every human feeling, and refuse inexorably the petitions of the patient. Yet he must always be ready with his syringe, in case of a sudden collapse threatening life itself.

There were three principal methods of cure: Cutting the drug off at once, and trust to the patient’s surviving; then there was a long tedious method of diminishing the daily dose. It was a matter of months. During the whole of the time, the agony of the patient continues in a diluted form. It was the choice between plunging into boiling oil and being splashed with it every day for an indefinite period. Then there was an intermediate method in which the daily amount was reduced by a series of jerks. As Peter said, one was to be sentenced to be flogged at irregular intervals without knowing exactly when. One would be living in a state of agonising apprehension which would probably be more morally painful than in either of the other ways.

In all cases alike there was no hint of any true comprehension of the actual situation. There was no attempt to remove the original causes of the habit; and they all admitted that the cure was only temporary, and that the rule was relapse.

There was also a horribly disquieting impression that the patient could not trust the honesty of the doctor. Some of them openly advocated attempts to deceive the patient by injecting plain water. Others had a system of giving other drugs in conjunction with the permitted dose, with the deliberate intention of making the patient so ill that he would rather bear the tortures of abstention than those devised by his doctor.

I felt too, that if I went to one of those places, I should never know what trick might be played on me next. They were cruel, clumsy traps set by ignorant and heartless charlatans. I began to understand the intensity of jealousy with which the regular physician regards the patent-medicine vender and the Christian scientist.

They were witch-doctors with a licence from government to torture and kill at extravagant prices. They guarded their prerogatives with such ferocity because they were aware of their own ignorance and incompetence; and if their victims found them out their swindle would be swept away. They were always trying to extend their tyranny. They were always wanting new laws to compel everybody, sick or well, to be bound to the vivisection table, and have some essential organ of the body cut out. And they were brazen enough to give the reason. They didn't understand what use it was! And everybody must be injected with all sorts of disgusting serums and vaccines ostensibly to protect them against some disease which there was no reason whatever to suppose they were likely to get....

The last three days have been too dreadful. This is the first time I have felt like writing, and yet I have been itching insanely to put down that hideously luxurious scene when our love broke out like an abscess. All the old fantastic features were there. They had assumed a diabolical disguise; but my mind has been in abeyance. We shut the medical books with a shudder, and slung them out of the window into the street. A little crowd gathered; they were picked up, and the passers-by began talking about what was to be done. We realised the rashness of our rage. The last thing was to attract attention! We pulled the frowsy old curtains across, and put out the light.

The reaction of our reading was terrific. We venomously contrasted the calm confidence of King Lamus with the croaking clamour of the "authorities."

Cockie summed up the situation with a quotation.

"Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore!’"

Our thoughts splashed to and fro like an angry sea in a cave. These three days have been a flux of fugitive emotion. We are resolved to stop taking H.; and there the memory of Lamus’s letter was like a rope held by a trustworthy leader for a novice on some crumbling crag.

If we could only have relied on that! But our minds were shaken by panic.

Those cursed medical cowards! Those pompous prophets of evil! Every time we came back to the resolution to stop, they pulled us off the rock.

"It's beyond human power.”

But they know which side their bread’s buttered. It’s their game to discourage their dupes.

But they had over-played their hand. They had painted their picture in too crude colours. They revolted us.

Again, the effect of Mabel’s death, and the fact that our supplies were so short, combined to drive us into the determination to stop at whatever cost.

We struggled savagely hour by hour. There were moments when the abstinence itself purged us by sheer pain of the capacity to suffer. Our minds began to wander. We were whirled on the wings of woe across the flaming skies of anguish.

I remember Peter standing at the table, lost to all sense of actuality. He cried in a shrill, cracked voice:—

"Her cranial dome is vaulted,
Her mad Mongolian eyes
Aslant with the ecstasies
Of things immune, exalted
Far beyond stars and skies,
Slits of amber and jet-”


I heard him across abysses of aching inanity. A thrill of Satanic triumph tingled in my soul,' and composed a symphony from its screams. I leapt with lust to recognise myself in the repulsive phantasm pictured by the poet.

"Her snout for the quarry set
Fleshy and heavy and gross,
Bestial, broken across,
And below it her mouth that drips
Blood from the lips
That hide the fangs of the snake,
Drips on venomous udders
Mountainous flanks that fret,
And the spirit sickens and shudders
At the hint of a worse thing yet.”


We had, on the other side, some spasms of weakness; a ghastly sensation of the sinking of the spirit. It’s the same unescapable dread that seizes one when one is in a lift which starts down too quickly, or when one swoops too suddenly in a ’plane. Waves of weakness washed over us as if we were corpses cast up by the sea from a shipwreck. A shipwreck of our souls.

And in these hideous hours of helplessness, we drifted down the dark and sluggish river of inertia towards the stagnant and stinking morass of insanity.

We were obsessed by the certainty that we could never pull through. We said nothing at first. We were sunk in a solemn stupor. When it found voice at last it was to whimper the surrender. The Unconditional surrender of our integrity and our honour!

We eked out our small allowance of H. with doses of strychnine to ward off the complete collapse of all our physical faculties, and we picked ourselves up a bit on the moral plane by means of champagne.

In these moments of abdication we talked in fragile whispers, plans for getting supplies. We had both of us a certain shame in admitting to each other that we were renegades. We felt that in future we should never be able to indulge frankly and joyously as we had hitherto done. We should become furtive and cunning; we should conceal from each other what we were doing, although it was obvious to us both.

I slipped out this afternoon on tiptoe, thinking Peter was asleep, but he turned like a startled snake just as I made for the door.

"Where are you going, Lou?"

His voice was both piteous and harsh. I had not thought of inventing a pretext; but a lie slipped ready-made from my tongue.

“I am going to Basil, to see if he can’t give me something to help us out.”

I knew he didn’t believe me, and I knew he didn’t care where I went or what I did. He was not shocked at my lying to him—the first time I had ever done so.

I took a taxi round to the studio. My lie was half truth. I was going to ask him to help in the cure; but my real object was to induce him, no matter how, to give me at least one dose. I didn’t care how I got it. I would try pretending illness. I would appeal to our old relations, and I would look about slyly to see if I couldn’t find some and steal it. And I didn’t mean to let Peter know.

On the top of everything else was the torture of shame. I had always been proud of my pride. A subtle serenity made my brain swim when I got into the street. It delighted me to be alone—to have got rid of Peter. I felt him as a restraining influence, and I had shaken him off. I despised myself for having loved him. I wanted to go to the devil my own way.

I found Basil in, and alone. What luck! That hateful tall thin girl was out of the way.

Basil received me with his usual greeting. It stung me to the quick like an insult. What right had he to reproach me? And why should "Do what thou wilt" sound like a reproach?

As a rule he added something to the phrase. He slid into ordinary conversation with a kind of sinuous grace. There was always something feline about him. He reminded me of a beautiful, terrible tiger winding his way through thick jungle.

But to-day, he stopped short with dour decision. It was as if he had fired a shot, and was waiting to see the effect. But he motioned me silently into my usual arm-chair, lit a cigarette for me and put it into my mouth, switched in the electric kettle for tea, and sat on the corner of his big square table swinging his leg. His eyes were absolutely motionless; yet I felt that they were devouring my body and soul inch by inch.

I wriggled on my chair as I used to do at school when I didn't feel sure whether I had been found out in something or not.

I tried, to cover my confusion by starting a light conversation * but I soon gave it up. He was taking no notice of my remarks. To him they were simply one of my symptoms.

I realised with frightful certitude that my plans were impossible. I couldn’t fool this man, I couldn’t play on his passions, I couldn’t steal in his presence.

Despite myself, my lie had become the truth. I could only do what I said I was coming to do; to ask him to help me out. No, not even that. I had not got rid of Peter after all.

With King Lamus, I found I couldn’t think of myself. I had to think of Peter. I was absolutely sincere when I said with a break in my voice, "Cockie’s in an awful mess.”

I had it in my mind to add, "Can’t you do something to help him?" and then I changed it to "Won’t you?" and then I couldn’t say it at all. I knew it was wasting words. I knew that he could and he would.

He came over and sat on the arm of my chair, and took down my hair, and began playing with the plaits. The action was as absolutely natural and innocent as a kitten playing with a skein of wool.

It stabbed my vanity to the heart for a second to realise that he could do a thing like that without mixing it up with sexual ideas. Yet it was that very superiority to human instincts that made me trust him.

"Sir Peter’s not here,” he said lightly and kindly.

I knew that it had pleased him that I had not mentioned my own troubles.

"But it’s you, my dear girl, that I see in my wizard’s spy-glass, on a lee shore with your masts all gone by the board, and the Union Jack upside down flying from a stump, and your wireless hero tapping out S.O.S.”

He dropped my hair and lighted his pipe. Then he began to play with it again.

"And some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship, they all came safe to land.”

One’s familiarity with the New Testament makes a quotation somehow significant, however little one may believe in the truth of the book.

I felt that his voice was the voice of a prophet. I felt myself already saved.

“You take some of this,’’ he went on, bringing a white tablet from a little cedar cabinet, and a big glass of cold water. "Throw your head back, and get it well down, and drink all this right off. Here is another to take home to your husband, and don’t forget the water. It will calm you down; your nerves have all gone west. I’ve got some people coming here in a few minutes. But this will help you through the night, and I’m coming round in the morning to see you. What’s the address?"

I told him. My face blazed with the disgrace. A house where the top social note was a fifth-rate musician in a jazz-band, and the bottom where we don’t give it a name.

He jotted it down as if it had been the Ritz. But I could feel in my over-sensitive state the disgust in his mind. It was as if he had soiled his pencil.

The tablet made me feel better; but I think that the atmosphere of the man did more than its share of the work. I felt nearly normal when I got up to go. I didn’t want his friends to see me. I knew too well what I was looking like.

He stopped me at the door.

"You haven’t any of that stuff, I take it? ’’ he said.

And I felt an inexpressible sense of relief. His tone implied that he had taken charge of us.

"No," I said, "we used up the last grain some time ago."
 
"I won’t ask you to remember when,” he replied. "I know too well how muddled one gets. And besides, when one starts this experiment, the clock doesn't tell one much, as you know.”

My self-respect came back to me with a rush. He insisted on our regarding ourselves as pioneers of science and humanity. We were making an experiment; we were risking life and reason for the sake of mankind.

Of course, it wasn't true. And yet, who can tell the real root of one's motives? If he chose to insist that we were doing what the leaders of thought have always done, how could I contradict him?

A buoyant billow of bliss bounded in my brain. It might not be true; but, by God, we'd make it come true.

I suppose a light leapt in my eyes, and enabled him to read my thought.

"Respice finem! Judge the end;
The man, and not the child, my friend!"


he quoted gaily.

And then, to my absolute blank amazement, he took me back into the studio, got a bottle of heroin from the cedar cabinet and shook out a small quantity on to a scrap of paper. He twisted it up, and put it in my hand.

"Don't be surprised,” he laughed, "your face tells me that it's all right. You hadn't got that look of a dying duck in a thunderstorm which shows that you're wholly enslaved. As Sir Peter very cleverly pointed out the other day, you can't stop unless you've got something to stop with. You're keeping your magical diary, of course.”

Oh, yes, I cried gladly, I knew how important he thought the record was.

He shook his head comically.

“Oh, no, Miss Unlimited Lou, not what I call a magical diary. You ought to be ashamed of yourself for not knowing the hours, minutes, and seconds since the last dose. Nous allons changer tout cela. You can take this if you like, and when you like. I merely put it up to you as a sort of sporting proposition that you should see how long you can manage to keep off it. But I trust you to make a note of the exact time when you decide on a sniff, and I trust you to tell me the truth. Get it out of your mind once for all that I disapprove of your taking it. It's entirely your business, not mine. But it's every one's business to be true to himself; and you must regard me as a mere convenience, an old hand at the game whose experience may be of use to you in training for the fight."

I hurried home a different woman. I didn’t want to save myself. I felt myself as a suit of armour made for the purpose of protecting Peter. My integrity was important not for my own sake but for his.

Peter is out, so I have written this up. How surprised he will be....

I wonder why he is so long, and where he has gone. It is very uncomfortable, waiting, with nothing to do. I should like a dose. The tablet has not made me sleepy; it seems to have calmed me. It has taken the edge off that hateful restlessness. I can bear it as far as that goes, if only I had something to do to take my mind off things. My mind keeps prowling around the little packet of paper in my bag. I turn a thousand corners; but it is always waiting behind all of them. There is something terrifying about the fatality of the stuff. It seems to want to convince you that it's useless to try to escape. One's thoughts always recur to lots of other subjects which we don't think of as obsessing. Why should we have this idea in connection with dope and be unable to do anything to throw it off? What's the difference?
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:49 am

CHAPTER IV: BELOW THE BRUTES

September 13

I wonder how I have lived through this. Peter came in last night just after I had closed my diary. I had never seen him like it before; his eyes were half out of his head, bloodshot and furious. He must have been drinking like a madman. He was trembling with rage. He came straight up to me, and hit me deliberately in the face.

"That'll teach you," he shouted, and called me a foul name.

I couldn't answer. I was too hurt, not by the blow, but by the surprise. I had pictured it so differently.

He staggered back into the middle of the room and pointed to the blood that was running down my face. The edge of his ring had cut the corner of my eye. The sight sent him into fits of hysterical laughter.

The only feeling in my mind was that he was ill; that it was my duty to nurse him. I tried to go to the door to get help. He thought I was escaping, and flung me back right across the room on to the bed, howling with rage.

"You can get away with it at once," he said, "but that’s enough. You wait right here, and see whether Mr. Bloody King Lamus will come to fetch you. Don’t fret; I expect he will. He likes dirt, the filthy beast!"

I burst out crying. The contrast between the two men was too shocking. And I belonged to this screaming swearing bully with his insane jealousy and his senseless brutality!

I would rather have swept out Basil’s studio for the rest of my life than be Lady Pendragon.

What masters of irony the gods are! I had been swimming in a glowing flood of glory; I had been almost delirious to think I was the wife of a man in whose veins ran the blood of England’s greatest king; of him whose glamour had gilded the centuries with romance; to think that I might hold such royal heirship under my heart. What radiant rapture!

And Peter himself had shown himself worthy of his ancestry. Had not he too beaten back the heathen and saved England?

So this was the end of my dream! This brawling ruffian was my man!

I sat stupefied while his incoherent insults battered my brain; but my indignation was not for myself. I had deserved all I was getting; but what right had this foul-mouthed coward to take in his mouth the name of a man like King Lamus?

My silence seemed to exasperate him more than if I had taken up the quarrel. He swayed and swore with blind ferocity. He didn’t seem to know where I was. It was getting dark. He groped his way round the room looking for me; but he passed me twice before he found me. The third time he stumbled up against me, gripped me by the shoulder, and began to strike.

I sat as if I were paralysed. I could not even scream. Again and again he swore and struck me savagely, yet so weakly that I could not feel the blows. Besides, I was dulled to all possible pain. Presently he collapsed, and rolled over on the bed. I thought for a moment he was dead, and then he was seized by a series of spasms; his muscles twisted and twitched; his hands clawed at the air; he began to mutter rapidly and unintelligibly. I was horribly frightened.

I got up and lit the gas. The poor boy’s face was white as death; but small, dark crimson flushes burnt on the cheek-bones.

I sat at the table for some time and thought. I didn’t dare send for a doctor. He might know what was the matter and take him away from me; take him to one of those torture-traps, and he’d never get out.

I knew what he wanted, of course; a little heroin would bring him round all right. I told him I had some. I had to tell him several times before he understood.

When he did, the mere thought helped to restore him; but there remained an ort of rage, and he told me to give it him, with a greedy snarl. If I had wanted to keep it from him, I shouldn’t have let him know I had it.

I brought him the stuff, sitting down by his side and lifting his head with one hand while I gave it to him on the back of the other. My heart sank like a stone in deep water. The old familiar attitude, the old familiar act!—and yet how different in every point!

The convulsive movements stopped immediately. He sat up almost at once on one elbow. The only sign of distress was that he still breathed heavily. All his anger, too, had disappeared. He seemed tired, like a convalescent, but as tractable as a child. He smiled faintly. I don’t know if he had any consciousness or memory of what had passed. He talked as if there had been no quarrel at all. The colour came back to his face, the light to his eyes.

"One more go like that, Lou,” he said, "and I’ll be all right.”

I wasn’t at all sure what King Lamus would have said; but it was my own responsibility, and I couldn’t refuse him.

He went off to sleep very soon after. In the morning I found out what had happened to him. He had been round to some of the men he used to know in the hospital to get them to give him some H., but they hadn't dared to do it. They were suffering from a sense of insult about the new law, the Diabolical Dope Act. They had undergone a long and expensive training and had diplomas which made them responsible for the health of the community; and now they weren’t allowed to prescribe for their own patients. It was natural enough that they should be indignant.

The fourth man to whom Peter had gone told the same story, but had been very cordial. He thought he’d help things by standing Peter a dinner and filling him up with alcohol, with the idea that that would help him to support the lack of the other stimulant. It seems that I had to pay for the prescription.

No, Lou, you’re a naughty girl. You mustn’t be bitter like that. It’s your fault for getting born into a world where ignorance and folly are in constant competition for the premiership of the minds of the educated classes. The commonest ploughman would have had more horse-sense than that doctor.

I gave Peter the tablet with plenty of water when he began to get restless. It soothed him a great deal. I wished I had one for myself. I felt my irritability returning; but I didn’t break out because it couldn't be long till Basil came round. I looked forward to his coming as to a certain end to all our troubles....

What actually happened was quite different. I hardly know how to write it down. The shame and the disappointment are blasting. I feel that the doors of hope have been slammed in my face. I can imagine the grinding of the key as it turns in the lock, the screech of the rusty bolt as it is driven home.

The moment Basil appeared, Peter’s insanity blazed up. He poured out a stream of insults, and accused Basil to his face of trying to get me away.

If Basil had only known how eagerly I would have gone! A man in sexual mania is not fit to consort with human beings. I never realised before why women despise men in their hearts so deeply. We respect men who have mastered their passions, if only because we are ourselves ultimately nothing but those passions. We expect a man to show himself superior. It will not do to kill passion, like Klingsor; the sexless man is even lower than "the wounded king,” Amfortas, the victim of his virility. The true hero is Parsifal, who feels the temptations. "A man of like passions with ourselves.” The more acutely alive he is to love, the greater are his possibilities. But he must refuse to surrender to his passions; he must make them serve him. "Dienen! Dienen!"

Who would kill a horse because he was afraid to ride him? It is better to mount, and dare the brute to bolt.

After the man is thrown, we pick him up and nurse him, but we don’t adore him. Most men are like that. But what every woman is looking for is the man with the most spirited horse and the most complete mastery of him. That’s most symbolic in The Garden of Allah, where the monk who cannot ride takes a stallion out into the desert, determined to fight the thing out to a finish.

Basil was not moved by the savage spite of Peter. He refused to be provoked. Whenever he got a chance to put a word in, he simply asserted the purpose of his visit. He did not even take the trouble to deny the main accusation.

It tired Peter to dash himself so uselessly against the cliff of Basil’s contempt. I don’t mean that it was contempt, either, but his calm kindness was bound to be felt as contempt because Peter couldn’t help knowing how well he deserved disdain. He was aware of the fact that his abuse became weaker and emptier with every outburst. He simply pulled himself together with a last effort of animosity toward the friend who could have saved us, and ordered him out of the house. He made himself more ridiculous by posing as an outraged husband.

Lofty morality is the last refuge when one feels oneself to be hopelessly in the wrong.

It was the first time I had ever known Peter play the hypocrite. His professions of propriety were simply the measure of his indignity.

There was nothing for Basil to do but to go. Peter pretended to have scored a triumph. It would not have deceived anybody, but—if there had been a chance he cut away the pulpit from under his own feet when he swung back into the room and snapped with genuine feeling:—

"God damn it, what a fool I am! Why didn’t you tip me the wink? We ought to have played up to him and got some heroin out of him...

This morning has taken everything out of me. I don’t care about saving myself. I know I can't save Peter. Why must a woman always have a man for her motive? All I want is H. Both Cockie and I need it hellishly.

"Look here, Lou,” he said with a cunning grin, such as I’d never seen before, quite out of keeping with his character. “You doll yourself up and try the doctors. A man told me last night that there were some who would give you a prescription if you paid them enough. A tenner ought to do the trick.”

He pulled some dirty crumpled notes out of his trousers’ pocket.

"Here you are. For God’s sake, don’t be long.”

I was as keen as he was. All the will to stop had been washed out of me when Basil went. My self-respect was annihilated.

Yet I think it was reluctance to go that kept me hanging about on the pretence of attending to my toilet.

Peter watched me with approval. There was a hateful gleam in his eye, and I loved it. We were both degraded through and through. We had reached the foul straw of the sty. There was something warm and comfortable about snuggling up to depravity. We had realised the ideal of our perversion....

I went to my own doctor. Peter had put me up to symptoms; but he wasn’t taking any. He talked about change of climate and diet and the mixture to be taken three times a day. I saw at once it was no good by the way he jumped when I mentioned heroin first.

All I could do was to get out of the old fool’s room without losing face....

I didn’t know what to do next. I felt like Morris What's-his-name in The Wrong Box when he had to have a false death certificate, and wanted a "venal doctor."

It annoyed me that it was daylight, and I didn’t know where to go. Suddenly, out of nowhere, there came the name and address of the man who had helped Billy Coleridge out of her scrape. It was a long way off, and I was horribly tired. I was hungry, but the thought of lunch made me sick. I felt that people were looking at me strangely. Was it the scar by my eye?

I bought a thick veil. The girl looked surprised, I thought. I suppose it was rather funny in September, and might attract still more attention; but it gave me a sense of protection, and it was a very pretty veil —cream lace with embroidered zig-zags.

I took a taxi to the doctor’s. Doctor Collins, it was, 61 or 71 Fairelange Street, Lambeth.

I found him at home; a horrid, snuffy old man with shabby clothes; a dingy grimy office as untidy as himself.

He seemed disappointed at my story. It wasn’t his line, he said, and he didn’t want to get into trouble. On the other hand, he was frightened of me because of what I knew about Billy. He promised to do what he could; but under the new law, he couldn’t do more than prescribe ten doses of an eighth of a grain apiece. Four or five sniffs, the whole thing! And he wouldn’t dare to repeat it in less than a week.

However, it was better than nothing. He told me where to get it made up.

I found a cloak-room where I could put the packets into one, and started.

The relief was immense. I went on, dose after dose. Cockie could get his own. I should tell him I had drawn blanks. I felt I could eat again, and had some light food and a couple of whiskies and sodas.

I felt so good that I drove straight back to Greek Street, and poured out a mournful tale of failure. It was delicious to deceive that brute after he’d struck me.

It was keen pleasure to see him in such pain; to imitate his symptoms with minute mimicry; to mock at his misery. He was angry all the same, but his blows gave me infinite pleasure. They were the symbols of my triumph.

"Here, you get out of this,” he said, "and don’t come back without it. I know where you can get it. Andrew McCall is the man's name. I know him to the bottom of his rotten soul.”

He gave me the address.

It was a magnificent house near Sloane Square. He had married a rich old woman, and lived on the fat of the land.

I had met him once myself in society. He was a self-made Scot, and thought evening dress de rigeur in Paradise.

Peter sent me off with a sly snigger. There was some insane idea at the back of his mind. Well, what did I care? ...

Dr. McCall was a man of fifty or so, very well preserved and very well dressed, with a gardenia in his buttonhole. He recognised me at once, and drew me by the hand into a comfortable arm-chair. He began to chatter about our previous meeting; about the duchess of this and the countess of that.

I wasn't listening, I was watching. His tact told him that I wasn't interested. He stopped abruptly.

"Well, well, excuse me for running on like this about old times. The point is, what can I do for you to-day, Miss Laleham?"

I instantly saw my advantage. I shook my head laughingly.

”Oh, no,” I said, "it’s not Miss Laleham.”

He begged my pardon profusely for the mistake.

"Can it be possible? Two such beautiful girls so much alike?"

"No,” I smiled back, "it's not as bad as that. I was Miss Laleham, but now I am Lady Pendragon.”

"Dear, dear,” he said, "where can I have been? Quite out of the world, quite out of the world!"

”Oh, I’m not quite such an important person as that, and I only married Sir Peter in July.”

"Ah, that accounts for it,” said the doctor. "I've been away all the summer in the heather with the Marchioness of Eigg. Quite out of the world, quite out of the world. Well, Pm sure you’re very happy, my dear Lady Pendragon.”

He always mentioned a title with a noise like a child sucking a stick of barley sugar.

I saw at once the way to appeal to him.

"Well, of course, you know,” I said, "in really smart circles one has to offer heroin and cocaine to people. It s only a passing fashion, of course, but while it’s on, one’s really out of it if one doesn’t do the right thing.”

McCall got out of the chair at his desk, and drew up a little tapestried stool close to mine.

"I see, I see,” he muttered confidentially, taking my hand and beginning to stroke it gently, "but you know, it’s very hard to get.”

"It is for us poor outsiders,” I lamented, "but not for you.”

He rolled back my sleeve, and moved his hand up and down inside of my forearm. I resented the familiarity acutely. The snobbishness of the man reminded me that he was the son of a small shopkeeper in a lowland village—a fact which I shouldn’t have thought of for a second but for his own unctuous insistence on Debrett.

He got up and went to a little wall safe behind my back. I could hear him open and shut it. He returned and leant over the back of my chair, stretching out his left arm so that I could see what was in his hand.

It was a sealed ten-gramme bottle labelled "Heroini Hydrochlorid,” with the quantity and the maker’s name. The sight of it drove me almost insane with desire.

Within a yard of my face was the symbol of victory. Cockie, Basil, the law, my own physical pangs:— they were all in my power from the moment my fingers closed over the bottle.

I put out my hand; but the heroin had disappeared in the manner of a conjuring trick.

McCall leant his weight on the back of my chair and tilted it slightly. His ugly shrewd false face was within a foot of mine.

"Will you really let me have that?" I faltered. "Sir Peter’s very rich. We can afford to pay the price, whatever it is.”

He gave a funny little laugh. I shrank from the long wolf-like mouth hanging over me greedily open, with its bared two white rows of sharp, long fangs.

I was nauseated by the stale whisky in his breath.

He understood immediately; let my chair back to its normal position, and went back to his desk. He sat there and watched me eagerly like a man stalking game. As if inadvertently, he took out the bottle and played with it aimlessly.

In his smooth varnished voice he began to tell me what he called the romance of his life. The first time he saw me he had fallen passionately in love with me; but he was a married man, and his sense of honour prevented his yielding to his passion. He had, of course, no love for his wife, who didn’t understand him at all. He had married her out of pity; but for all that he was bound by his sense of right feeling, and above all by realising that to give rein to his passion, God-given though it was, would mean social ruin for me, for the woman he loved.

He went on to talk about affinities and soul-mates and love at first sight. He reproached himself for having told me the truth, even now, but it had been too strong for him. The irony of fate! The tragic absurdity of social restrictions!

At the same time, he would feel a certain secret pleasure if he knew that I, on my part, had had something of the same feeling for him. And all the time, he went on playing with the heroin. Once or twice he nearly dropped it in his nervous emotion.

It made me jump to think of the danger to that precious powder. But there was clearly only one thing to be done to get it: to fall in with the old fellow's humour.

I let my head fall on my breast and looked at him sideways out of the corners of my eyes.

“You can’t expect a young girl to confess everything she has felt,” I whispered with a deep sigh, "especially when she has had to kill it out of her heart. It does no good to talk of these things," I went on. “I ought really not to have come. But how could I guess that you, a great doctor like you, had taken any notice of a silly kid like me?"

He jumped to his feet excitedly.

"No, no," I said sadly, with a gesture which made him sit down again, very uneasily. "I should never have come. It was absolutely weakness on my part. The heroin was only my excuse. Oh, don’t make me feel so ashamed. But I simply must tell you the truth. The real motive was that—I wanted to see you. Now, let’s talk about something else. Will you let me have that heroin, and how much will it cost?"

"One doesn’t charge one’s friends for such slight services," he answered loftily. "The only doubt in my mind is whether it’s right for me to let you have it."

He took it out again and read the label. He rolled the bottle between his palms.

"It’s terribly dangerous stuff," he continued very seriously. “I’m not at all sure if I should be justified in giving it to you."

What absolute rubbish and waste of time, this social comedy! Every one in London knew McCall’s hobby for intrigues with ladies of title. He had invented the silly story of love at first sight on the spur of the moment. It was just a gambit.

And as for me, I loathed the sight of the man, and he knew it. And he knew, too, that I wanted that heroin desperately badly. The real nature of the transaction was as plain as a prison plum-pudding.

But I suppose it does amuse one in a sort of way to ape various affected attitudes. He knew that my modesty and confusion and blushes were put on like so much paint on the cheeks of a Piccadilly streetwalker. It didn’t even hurt his vanity to know that I thought him an offensive old ogre. He had the thing I wanted, I had the thing he wanted, and he didn’t care if I drugged myself to death to-morrow, provided I had paid his price to-day.

The callous cynicism on both sides had one good effect from the moral point of view. It prevented me wasting my time in trying to cheat him.

He went on with his gambit. He explained that my marriage made a great difference. With reasonable caution, for which we had every facility, there was not the slightest risk of scandal.

Only one thing stuck in my conscience, and fought the corrosive attack of the heroin-hunger. After King Lamus had gone this morning, Peter and I had quarrelled bitterly. I had given up Basil, I had given up all idea of living a decent life, I had embraced the monster in whose arms I was struggling, gone with my eyes wide open into his dungeon, devoted myself to drugs, and why? I was Sir Peter’s wife. The loss of my virtue, independence, self-respect, were demanded by my loyalty to him. And already that loyalty demanded disloyalty of another kind.

It was a filthy paradox. Peter had sent me to McCall with perfect foresight. I knew well enough what he expected of me, and I gloried in my infamy—partly for its own sake, but partly, unless I am lying to myself, because my degradation proved my devotion to him.

I no longer heard what McCall was saying, but I saw that he had taken a little pocket-knife and cut the string of the bottle. He had levered out the cork, and dipped the knife into the powder. He measured out a dose with a queer cunning questioning smile in his eyes.

My breath was coming quickly and shallowly. I gave a hurried little nod. I seemed to hear myself saying, "A little bit more” At least, he added to the heap.

“A little mild stimulant is indicated,” he said, with an imitation of his bedside manner. He was kneeling in front of my chair, and held up his hand like a priest making an offering to his goddess.

The next thing I remember is that I was walking feverishly, almost running, up Sloane Street. I had a feeling of being pursued. Was it true, that old Greek fable of the Furies? What had I done? What had I done?

My fingers worked spasmodically on the little amber-tinted bottle of poison. I wanted to get away from every one and everything. I didn’t know where I was going. I hated Peter from the depths of my soul. I would have given anything in the world—except the heroin—to be able never to see him again. But he had the money, why shouldn’t we enjoy our abject ruin as we had enjoyed our romance? Why not wallow in the moist, warm mire?
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:02 am

CHAPTER V: TOWARDS MADNESS

I found I was attracting attention in the street by my nervous behaviour. I shuddered at the sight of a policeman. Suppose I were arrested, and they took it away from me?

And then I remembered how silly I was. Maisie Jacobs had a flat in Park Mansions. I knew she would stand for anything, and keep her mouth shut.

She was in, thank goodness. I don't know what tale I told her. I don’t know why I was stupid enough to trouble my head to invent one. She’s a real good sport, Maisie, and doesn’t care what you do as long as you don't interfere with her.

She had some white silk, and we sewed up the H. in little packets, and stitched them in the flounces of my dress. I kept about half, and put it in an old envelope she had. That was to make my peace with Peter. But I needed two or three good goes on the spot.

I had a fit of hysterical crying and trembling. I must have fainted for a bit. I found myself on the sofa with Maisie kneeling by me and holding a glass of champagne to my lips.

She didn’t ask any questions. It wasn’t her business if my story was all lies.

I felt a bit better after a while. She began to talk about King Lamus. She had fallen for him the first time she met him, about a year ago, and had become an enthusiastic pupil. She could do what she liked; she was free, plenty of money of her own, no one to interfere.

In a way, I hated her for her independence. It was really envy of her freedom.

I felt that Basil was the only man that mattered, and I had missed my chance with him through not being worthy. I had ended by losing him altogether; and the irony of it was terrible, for I had lost him through loyalty to Peter at the very moment when I thoroughly loathed and despised him.

Yet I knew that Basil would admire and love me for that very loyalty itself. It was the first thing that I had ever had to show him. My only asset had made me bankrupt for ever!

Maisie had been talking quietly while I was thinking these things. I slid out of my concentration to hear her voice once more. She was in the middle of an explanation of her relations with Basil.

"He claims to be utterly selfish," vibrated her tense tones, "because he includes every individual in his idea of himself. He can't feel free as long as there are slaves about. Of course, there are some people whose nature it is to be slaves; they must be left to serve. But there are lots of us who are kings and don't know it; who suffer from the delusion that they ought to bow to public opinion, all sorts of alien domination. He spends his life fighting to emancipate people in this false subjection, because they are parts of himself. He has no ideas about morality. His sense of honour, even, means nothing to him as such. It is simply that he happened to be born a gentleman. ‘ If I were a dog,’ he said to me once, * I should bark. If I were an owl, I should hoot. There's nothing in either which is good or bad in itself. The only question is, what is the natural gesture?' He thinks it his mission in the world to establish this Law of Thelema."

She saw my puzzled look.

"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,’" she quoted merrily. "You must have heard those words before!"

I admitted it. We laughed together over our friend’s eccentricity.

"He says that to every one he meets," she explained, "not only to influence them, but to remind himself of his mission and prevent himself wasting his time on anything else. He’s not a fanatic; and in the year that I have known him, I’ve certainly got on more with my music than I ever did in any five years before. He proved to me—or, rather, showed me how to prove to my own satisfaction—-that my true Will was to be a singer. We began by going through all the facts of my life from my race and parentage to my personal qualities, such as my ear and my voice being physiologically superior to that of the average musician, and my circumstances enabling me to devote myself entirely to training myself to develop my powers to the best advantage. Even things like my guardian being a great composer! He won’t admit that was an accident.

"He claims that the coincidence of so many circumstances affords evidence of design; and as so many of these are beyond the control of any human intelligence, it leads one to suppose that there is some individual at work somewhere beyond our limitations of sense who has made me a singer instead of a milliner."

”Oh, yes, Maisie,” I interrupted, "but that's the old argument that the design of the Universe proves the existence of God; and people have stopped believing in God chiefly because the design was shown to be incompatible with a consistent character."

"Oh, certainly," she admitted without a qualm. "The evidence goes to show that there are many different gods, each with his own aim and his own method. Whether their conflicting ambitions can be reconciled (as seems necessary from a philosophical point of view) is practically beyond the scope of our present means of research. Basil implored me not to bother my head about any such theories. He simply laughed in my face and called me his favourite nightingale. ‘Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird,’ he chuckled, ‘ but neither wast thou born to take a course of Neo-Platonism.’ His whole point is that one mustn't leave the rails. If I had convinced myself that I was a singer, would I kindly refrain from meddling with other affairs?"

I know,” I put in, "as the captain said when the first officer interrupted him, "What I want from you, Mr. Mate, is silence, and precious damned little of that!’"

Again we found ourselves laughing together. It was really very extraordinary the way in which talking to Basil or his pupils exhilarated the mind. I began to see why he was so distrusted and disliked. People always pretend to want to be lifted out of themselves, but in reality they re terribly afraid of anything happening to them. And Basil always strikes at the root of one’s spiritual oak. He wants one to be oneself, and the price of that is to abandon the false ideas that one has of oneself. People like the sham teachers that soothe them with narcotic platitudes. They dread having to face reality in any form. That is the real reason for persecuting prophets.

Of course, I was full of H., but Maisie had made me forget all about it for a moment.

"Who’s that thin girl that’s always there?" I asked her.

It was an automatic spurt of jealousy.

"Oh, Lala,” said Maisie, "she’s rather a dear. She’s a queer girl, one of the queerest ever. Swiss or something, I fancy. He’s trained her for the last three years. He met her, I don’t know how, and asked her to pose for him. She told me once how startled she was at the reason he gave. ‘ Did you write that psalm,’ he asked her, ‘ "I can tell all my bones, they look and stare upon me?’” You know the girl hasn't got an ounce of flesh on her body. She’s perfectly healthy; she s just a freak of nature. And while he sketched her he asked her to suggest a title for the picture. ' Paint me as a dead soul,' she answered. He caught up the phrase with fiery enthusiasm, and began to work on an enormous screen, a triptych with the strangest beasts and birds and faces, all arranged to lead up to her as the central figure. She is standing naked with a disproportionately large head grinning detestably. The body is almost a skeleton covered with greenish skin. It made a perfectly grisly sensation. I wonder you haven’t seen it.”

As a matter of fact, I had seen a photograph of it in some newspaper, and now I remembered that Bill Waldorf had pointed her out, roaring with laughter, as the Queen of the Dead Souls. Basil had said that London was full of dead souls.

"It’s nothing to do with that story of Gogol’s,” said Maisie. "Basil thinks—and it’s only too ghastly true—that most of the people we see walking about, and eating and drinking and dancing, are really dead— ‘dead in trespasses and sins,’ as my old uncle used to say—in the sin of not knowing themselves to be Stars, True and Living Gods Most High-”

I sighed with sadness. I, too, was a dead soul—and I had given up the Lord of Resurrection that morning out of loyalty to another dead soul. And—the same afternoon! Faugh! what a charnel-house Life is! How chill and damp and poisonous is the air! How the walls sweat the agony of the damned!

"And look at Lala now!" Maisie went on. "He had to put her through the most frightful ordeals— for she was very dead indeed—but she got to the other end of the tunnel all right. She’s a Great Soul, if ever there was one in the world, and he has raised her mortal into immortality. Her corruptibility has put on incorruption—and she radiates light and life and love, leaping through the years in utter liberty-”

"But what does she do now?" I asked with a dull pain at my heart.

"Why, her True Will, of course!" came back the flaming answer. "She knows that she came to this planet to bear witness to the Law of Thelema in her own person, and to help her Titan in his task!"

Maisie was really stupefying. Every one knows that she was in love with Basil from the first, and is, and always will be. How was it that she could speak of another woman who loved him without jealousy, and, as things were, without envy? It was true, perhaps, after all, that he had some huge hypnotic power, and held them helpless, filed away like so many letters. But Maisie was bubbling over with energy and joy; it was absurd to think of her as vampirised, as a victim. I asked her about it point-blank.

"My dear Lou," she laughed, "don’t be too utterly gaga! My Will is to sing, and Lala’s is to help him in his work—why should we clash? Why should there be any ill-feeling? She’s helping me by helping him to help me; and I’m helping her by showing that his Law has helped me, and can help others. We’re the best friends in the world, I and Lala; how could anything else be possible?"

Well, of course, she was herself doing a notoriously impossible feat. The point of view of Basil and his crowd is simply upside down to all ordinary people. At the same time, one can’t deny that the result is amazingly invigorating to contemplate. I could quite understand his idea of developing mankind into what is practically a new species, with new faculties, and the old fears, superstitions, and follies discarded for ever.

I couldn’t stand it another second. Maisie had given him—and herself—up, and yet she possessed both herself and him: I had clung to him and to myself, and I had lost both—Lost, lost for ever! I got up to go home; and before I reached the street I realised with desolate disgust and despair the degree of my degradation, of my damnation; and I hugged desperately my hideous perverse pride in my own frightful fate, and rejoiced as the horrible hunger for heroin made itself known once more, gnawing at my entrails. I licked my lips at the thought that I was on my way to the man whom my love had done so much to destroy— and myself with him.

To begin with, no more of this diary—why should I put myself out for King Lamus? "Every step he treads is smeared with blood/' as Gretel once said. Yes, in some infernal way he had made me one of his victims. "All right—you shall get enough magical diary to let you know that I’m out of your clutches— Ill put down just those things which will tell you how I hate you—how I have outwitted you—and you shall read them when my Dead Soul has got a Dead Body to match it.”

September 14

I expected Peter would be in; impatient to know if I’d wangled McCall. Instead, he turned up after twelve, full of champagne and—SNOW!

My aunt, what a lucky day!

He was boiling with passion, grabbed me like a hawk.

"Well, old girl,” he shouted, "what luck with McCall?"

I produced my package.

"Hurrah, all our troubles are over!"

We opened our last three half-bottles of fizz to celebrate the occasion, and he gave me some coke. And I thought I didn’t like it! It's the finest stuff there is. A sniff to the right and a sniff to the left and a big heap right on my tongue; and that wasn’t all.

"I tell you what's been wrong,” he said in the morning. "Who the hell could expect to be right in a place like this? I’ve got right on to the ropes. We need never run short any more. We’ll go down to Barley Grange and have another honeymoon. You’re my honeysuckle, and I'm your bee.”

He went and flung open the door and shouted for the woman to pack our things while we went out to breakfast, and have the bill ready.

"What infernal fools we are,” he cried as we went sailing down the street to the Wisteria, where you can get real French coffee and real English bacon.

We looked at ourselves in the long mirror. We could see how ill we had been, but all that gone.

Decision and self-confidence had come back; and love had come back with them. I could feel love mingling its turbulent torrent with my blood like the junction of the Rhone and the Arve in Geneva.

We walked into a shop and bought a car on the spot, and took it away then and there. There was one at the Grange, but we wanted a racer.

We drove back to Greek Street in a flood of delight. It was a bright, fresh autumn morning; everything had recovered its tone. Winter could never come. There was no night except as a background for the moon and the stars, and to furnish the scenery of our heavenly hell.

September 17

The Grange is certainly the finest house in the world. There is only one drawback. We didn’t want callers. County society is all right in its way; but tigers don’t hunt in packs, especially on the honeymoon. So we had to send the word around that the precarious state of my health made it impossible for us to receive. Rather an obvious lie, motoring the way we were. The ’plane had come back from Deal, but we didn’t do any flying.

Cockie gave various reasons; but they were unconvincing. We roared with laughter at their absurdity. The truth was that he was nervous.

It didn’t make us ashamed. After what he had done, he could rest on his oars. It was only temporary, of course. We’d made ourselves rottenly ill in that gaga place in Greek Street. We couldn’t expect to get back to the top of our form in a week.

Besides, we didn’t want that kind of excitement. We had enough in other ways. We found we could see things. That ass, Basil, was always talking about the danger of magic, and precaution, and scientific methods and all that bunk. We were seeing more spirits and demons every day than he ever saw in ten years. They are nothing to be afraid of. I should like to see the old Boy himself. I’d——

September 18

We found a book in the library one rainy afternoon. It told us how to make the Devil appear.

Cookie’s grandfather was great on that stuff. There’s a room in the north tower where he did his stunts.

We went up after dinner. Everything had been left more or less the way it was. Uncle Mortimer never troubled to alter anything.

There was a legend about this room too. For one thing, grandfather was a friend of Bulwer Lytton’s. We found a first edition of A Strange Story, with an inscription.

Lytton had taken him for the model of Sir Philip Derval, the white magician who gets murdered. Lytton said so in this copy.

It was all very weird and exciting. The room was full of the strangest objects. There was a table painted with mysterious designs and characters and a huge cross-hilted sword; two silver crescents separated by two copper spheres and a third for the pommel. The blade was two-edged, engraved with Arabic or something.

Cockie began to swing it about. We thought flashes of light came from the point, and there was a buzzing, crackling sound.

"Take this,” said Cockie, "there’s something devilish rum about it.”

I took it out of his hand. Of course, it was only my fancy; but it seemed to weigh nothing at all, and it gave a most curious thrill in one’s hand and arm.

Then there was a golden cup with rubies round the brim. And always more inscriptions.

And there was a little wand of ebony with a twisted flame at the top; three tongues, gold, silver, and some metal we’d never seen before.

And there were rows and rows of old books, mostly Latin, Greek, and Hebrew.

There was a big alabaster statue of Ganesha, the elephant god.

"This is the place,” I said, "to get hold of the devil.”

"That’s all right,” said Cockie, "but what about a little she-devil for me?"

"Oh,” I said, “if I’m not satisfactory, you’d better give me a week's salary in lieu of notice.”

We laughed like mad.

Something in the room made our heads swim. We began kissing and wrestling.

It’s all very well to laugh at magic, but after all certain ideas do belong to certain things; and you can get an idea going, if you’re reminded of it by a place like this....

(Lady Pendragon’s Diary is interrupted by a note written on some later occasion in the handwriting of Mr. Basil King Lamus. Ed.)

Lou means all right, bless her! She makes me think of Anatole France—La Rotisserie de la Reine Pedauque —old Coignard has been warned by the Rosicrucian not to pronounce the word Agla, and the moment he does so, a wheel comes off his carriage, with the result that he gets murdered by Moses.

Then, again, all the Rosicrucian's predictions come true; and he himself goes up in a flame like the Salamander he has been invoking. Lie looks upon his own death as the crown of his career—the climax towards which he has been working.

Anatole France is, in fact, compelled to write as if the Rosicrucian theories were correct, although his conscious self is busily exposing the absurdity of magic.

It looks as if the artist's true self were convinced of the actuality of magic, and insisted on expressing itself despite every effort of the sceptical intellect to turn the whole thing into ridicule. There are numerous other examples in literature of the same conflict between the genius and the mind which is its imperfect medium. For instance—at the other end of the scale — Mr. W. S. Maugham, in "The Magician,” does his malignant utmost to make the "villain" objectionable in every way, an object of contempt, and a failure. Yet in the very moment when his enemies succeed in murdering him and destroying his life’s work, they are obliged to admit that he has "Accomplished the Great Work"—of creating Living Beings! "Every man and every woman is a star.” — B. K. L.


I don’t like that room. I said nothing about it to Peter; but the old man was there walking about as large as life. You have to be specially prepared to see these things.

Cockie was never spiritually minded.

September 18

An alarm of burglars last night. We roused the house—but no traces could be found. The servants here are frightfully stupid. They irritate me all the time.

One can’t sleep in this house. It’s too old. The wood cracks all the time. Just as one is on the verge of sleep some noise makes one more wide-awake than ever.

I can’t bear the idea of being touched. My skin is very sensitive. It's part of the spiritualising of my life, I suppose.

I’m glad, though, that the new honeymoon didn't last more than three or four days.

It is irritating to one's vanity. But that is merely a memory. How can vanity co-exist with the spiritual life?

I saw the Spirit of heroin to-day when I went up to the magic room. It is tremendously tall and thin, with tattered rags fluttering round it, and these turn into little birds that fly off it, that come and burrow in one’s skin!

I just feel the prick of the beak, and then it disappears. They were messengers from the other world. There is a little nest of them in my liver. It is very curious to hear them chirping when they want food. I don’t know what they’ll do so far away from their mother.

It is horrible not being able to sleep. That, too, must be a preparation for the new life.

I wandered up all alone to the magic room, and sat with my hands on the table opposite the old man, trying to get him to talk.

His lips move, but I can’t hear what he says.

I was disturbed, of course. I always am being disturbed. I am so tired. Why won't they let me alone?

This time it was a shot. The magic room has windows all around it.

I went to see who could have fired. It was very bright moonlight; but I could see nothing.

Then there came another flash and report. I went round to the side it came from, and watched. It was by the lake. I watched a long time. Then a crouching figure hidden among the reeds sprang up, put a gun to its shoulder and fired twice in rapid succession. Then it screamed, and ran to the house throwing away its gun. I wonder what it could be.

September 20

I have found a manuscript in grandfather’s room that tells you how to invoke the Devil. It needs two people, and I don’t feel sure about Peter.

He can’t see into the spiritual world at all. On the contrary, he is getting a little queer in the head, and imagines he sees things which don’t exist at all. He’s constantly scratching himself.

He behaved very strangely at dinner. I think the butler noticed it.

At midnight we went up to the old man’s room and began to go through the ritual. A lot of it seems silly, but the climax is fine.

You keep on saying, over and over;—

"Io Pan Pan! Io Pan Pan! Ai Pan Pan!
Io Pan Pan! Io Pan Pan! Pan Pan Pan!
Aegipan, Aegipan, Aegipan, Aegipan, Aegipan, Aegipan, Io Pan Pan!"


You go on till something comes. We used two black robes that we found hanging up there.

They were lovely silk robes with hoods.

You take candles in both hands and dance while you make the incantations.

We got frightfully excited. It was as if a strange force had got hold of us. It seemed to lead us all round the house and then into the grounds.

We were shouting at the top of our voices.

Once or twice we saw a servant putting out a nose through a chink of a door. It would always be shut with a little squeal, and we could hear keys turning and bolts being pushed.

We wanted to roar with laughter, but we had to keep on with the invocation. The book said you mustn’t stop it while you were outside the magic room, or the Devil could get you.

The strange thing is that I don’t remember at all what happened. Did the Devil come or not?

I don’t even remember getting back to the magic room. I must have gone to sleep, for I’ve woken up frightfully hungry.

Cockie’s awake too. He’s kneeling at the window with a shot gun. He aimed it two or three times, but didn’t fire. He came back to me after putting the gun in a corner.

He said, "It’s no good. They’re too spry. The only chance to get them is at night.”

He was hungry too. We rang for some food. Nobody answered the bell.

We rang again and again.

Then Peter got angry and went to see what was wrong.

There isn’t a soul in the place!

It’s perfectly incomprehensible. What could have happened to them all?

Peter says it's the Germans. Part of a plot to persecute him for what he did in the war. But I don't think so at all.

It says in a book that you have to get rid of every one if you’re going to start the spiritual life.

I expect my spiritual guide put it into their minds to go, but I'm very doubtful about Cockie. He’s not ready. for any high development. Men are always revoltingly gross.

Think how they are even about love. I must say this for Cockie, he’s all right about that. The very flower of purity—a perfect knight!

Yet we went through a period of a very evil character. No doubt we had to be purged of all our baser elements.

There is a great sympathy between us at times, and it is not soiled by any animality.

The only thing is I’m not sure whether it hasn’t been too great a strain for his mind—the process of purification.

He certainly has some very queer ideas. Sometimes I catch him looking at me with some deep suspicion in his eyes. His mind is harping on the Germans. He broke out just now into a denunciation of Gretel Webster as a German spy, and rambled on from that to say something that I couldn’t properly understand. But the gist of it was apparently that as Gretel had introduced us more or less, I was being used to do him some harm.

Of course ideas like this come to one when one’s hungry, and all this sprang up owing to the mysterious disappearance of the servants.

There was nothing for it but for Peter to go to the inn and have food sent in. But I had the devil's own job to get him to do it. His character lacks decision.

I made him take two or three sniffs of snow. That put him right, and now he’s gone off to the inn.

I’m very glad to be alone. I always felt those servants were spying. The house is delightfully quiet.

As I write there are two beautiful people looking over my shoulder. They have been sent to watch over me and guide me, and prepare me for the great destiny which is in store for me.

Here comes Peter with the waiter and a tray. I must hide this book. The secrets of the spiritual life must be kept from the profane.

It's all right. Peter is my soul-mate after all. We couldn't eat much. It’s only natural; all base appetites have to be killed out before one is ready to go on. Peter ate very little himself; and then he said:—

"I know why we couldn’t get the Devil to come the other night. It was having those servants about. I remember now that grandfather only had two in the house, and he used to send them away when he had anything big on. Let’s see what we can do to-night."

That was delightful. That was his old self.

We thought it would be a good plan to coke up pretty hard before starting.
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:14 am

CHAPTER VI: COLD TURKEY

September 23

I don’t remember what happened. I know why. Basil told me long ago that the mind only kept count of material things. So these spiritual events are recorded in a higher kind of mind of which we are not conscious until we get accustomed to spiritual life. So all I can put down is that we had a complete success.

The Devil, of course, needs a human interpreter if he is to communicate with this world, and so he took possession of Peter. He has been preparing Peter to represent him.. He will make Peter pope, and I am to be in the Vatican disguised, to help him because he can’t do without me.

My own spiritual guide is named Keletiel. She is a wonderful being, wears peacock blues and greens. She has white wings like a swan, and carries a sheaf of many-coloured flowers. She has long, loose, black curling hair down to her waist. There is a golden band round hei forehead, studded with sapphires, with her name on it. I can always tell her by this.

There has to be a token, because she changes her size so much. Sometimes she is a tiny thing, not up to my knee, and sometimes she is two or three times as high as the North Tower.

Peter and I are covered with blood. We came out of the circle before the Devil had gone, and he scratched us all to pieces. Luckily we got back before he killed us, but we lost consciousness and woke up a long while hater. That’s why we can’t remember what happened.

I have some idea that I had a terrible quarrel with Peter, but I can’t remember any details.

I think he does, though, but he won’t tell me.

I don't know why he should act like that. The only thing I can think is that Gretel Webster may have come down to see him perhaps in her astral body, and put him against me somehow....

He was lying on the sofa in his pyjamas. I wanted to be kissed, and went over to him with some cocaine. But he didn’t move. He looked at me with wide open eyes. There was some dreadful fear in them, and he said,—

"Black, the plague of the pit,
Her pustules visibly fester.”


Of course, I knew he didn’t mean it, but I was hurt. I gave him the cocaine.

It roused him. He sat up and then he held me by the shoulders and looked straight at my face and said:—

"Dragon of lure and dread,
Tiger of fury and lust,
The quick in chains to the dead,
The slime alive in the dust,
Brazen shame like a flame,
An orgy of pregnant pollution
With hate beyond aim or name—
Orgasm, death, dissolution!"


And then he began shrieking, and ran out of the house down to the lake and dived right in. He swam a few strokes and then came out and walked slowly up to the house.

I found some towels in the linen chest. I was afraid of his catching a chill, so I rubbed him hard all over. He seemed to have forgotten everything. He was quite nice and normal but just a little scared.

I can’t make out what’s the matter with him. He acts as if he had learnt some terrible secret which he had to keep from me. He always seems afraid of being spied on or overheard.

I. went up to the magic room to-night. Peter was sitting in the old man’s chair writing in a book. I couldn’t understand it at first. I had come straight up, and he was fast asleep downstairs! Then, of course, the whole mystery became clear.

While he’s asleep, his astral double comes up and does magic. I knew it was very dangerous to disturb any one s astral double, so I tiptoed out of the room; but the double followed me noiselessly. Every time I looked over my shoulder he was there, though he was very quick at dodging back round the corner or into a doorway....

Peter has been very preoccupied for some time. He writes out telegrams on forms, and then tears them up; and then he seems to think that isn’t safe, and picks the pieces up and bums them. I asked him about it; but he would say nothing, and got very angry.

I think I know what it is, though. I found a sheet of paper which he had forgotten to destroy—a letter to the War Office, warning them against German plots, and telling some things that have happened down here. I could hardly read it; his handwriting is absolutely gaga.

He talks a great deal to himself. I overheard some of it. He thinks there may be a German spy in the War Office and is afraid to trust the post or telegraph.

He kept on saying, "I’m at my wits' end.” Then he went off into muttering about the plots against him.

I am sure I could help him out if he would only trust me. I wonder if it's all delusion on his part. He certainly has some funny ideas.

For one thing, he pretends to see spiritual guides, which is impossible, because he is not pure enough. Besides, the things he says he sees are all horrible and disgusting.

But he says nothing at all now, any more. He begins to speak to me and checks himself....

It is very dark to-night. Rain is falling. Peter has gone down to the lake with his gun.

I have taken this book from its hiding place. I am horribly frightened.

I had no appetite at lunch, and Peter wouldn’t eat. He burst out in a hysterical appeal to me, reminded me of our love, and said he couldn’t believe it was all a sham. Why had I gone into the plot to drive him to death? He doesn’t eat, because he thinks the food is poisoned; and when he saw that I wasn't eating, it convinced him that I was in the plot against him.

I tried to tell him this was all nonsense. I told him that I was not in any plot against him. It didn’t set his mind at ease. I had to tell him my great secret that I am the woman clothed with the sun in the Book of Revelations, and that he must protect me.

I proved to him that this was the only explanation. The reason why he couldn't live with me as my husband was that my angel had told me that I was going to bring the Messiah into the world.

We went into a heated argument. I don’t remember what happened; but as usual, it turned into a quarrel.

One must be concentrated on the spiritual life, so the slightest interruption from the senses, if it’s only the wind in the trees, is a terribly irritating thing. "Satan is the prince of the power of the air,” it says in the Bible, so he sends these noises in the air to disturb my mind.

How can I give birth to the Messiah if I am not caught up into the Seventh Heaven, and unconscious of material things?

The world, the flesh, and the Devil. One in three and three in one. This evil trinity must be abolished. It knows that; and that's why it tries to interrupt me either by means of Peter or the pains of the body, or the sights and sounds of nature.

Nature is under a curse because of sex, and so this world is in the power of the Evil One. But I am chosen to redeem it, and the Holy Spirit overshadows me and sends angels to guard me. That is how we got rid of the servants.

Peter suddenly attacked me. He got me down, and put his knee on my chest, and tried to strangle me. But the angel smote him suddenly, and all his muscles relaxed and he rolled over.

His eyes were wide open, but I could only see the whites. That is a sign that he is possessed by the Devil, and that the angels are protecting me.

He has fired two or three times, and now I see him coming up from the lake. I must hide this book, and then I will go to the garage, and hide till the morning.

Keletiel tells me that this is the critical night. I will get into the big car under the sheet. He won’t look for me there, and the angels will be on the watch....

It came out all right. I slept on the seat of the car. I had a dreadful nightmare, and woke sweating all over. Then I went to sleep again. I was with six angels who carried me through the air to a place which I mustn’t describe. It is a great and wonderful mystery.

It is awful and miraculously wonderful to be the woman clothed with the sun. The sublimity of it would have frightened me only a few weeks ago. I have been gently and wisely prepared for my exalted position.

This vision initiated me into the most marvellous secrets.

When I woke Keletiel came and told me that the crisis was over. I was shivering with cold, and went into the house for some heroin. That’s the only thing that keeps one warm however hot the weather is. This is because what keeps the body warm is the rush of animal life, and when one has got to the stage where one becomes wholly spiritual, the body becomes cold like a corpse....

A dreadful thing has happened. We have used up all the heroin, and there is hardly any cocaine. I remembered what I had sewn away in my white frock, and went to get it. It was on the floor in a corner of the drawing-room.

It was all shrunk and rumpled and dirty, and it was still quite wet. I suppose I must have gone a long walk in the rain, though I don't remember anything about it.

All the heroin was washed away. There wasn’t a grain left. Peter came in and found me crying. He understood at once what had happened. All he said was:—

"You’ll have to go back to McCall.”

I couldn’t even be angry. Men are too grossly animal to understand. How could I do such a thing, seeing who I was?

He wanted some H. badly; finding it gone, made him want it insanely.

He took one of the packets and began to chew it.

"Thank God,” he said, "it’s quite bitter. There must be a lot in the dress.”

I was shivering and faint. I got another packet, and put it in my mouth. He went wild and clutched me by the hair, and forced open my jaws with his finger and thumb. I struggled and kicked and scratched; but he was too strong. He got it out and put it in his own mouth. Then he hit me in the face as I sat. I went flat and limp, and began to howl. He picked up the dress and the packets, and started to go. I caught at his ankles desperately; but he kicked himself free, and went out of the room with the dress.

I was too weak and hurt to go after him, and my nose was bleeding.

But I had got some H., and I remembered who I was. This was all part of the ordeal. At any moment I might manifest my glory, and he would fall down at my feet and worship me. After all, he has a wonderful destiny himself; like St. Joseph—or else perhaps he may be the Dragon that will try to destroy me and the Messiah.

In my position the actual H. isn’t really necessary any more than food is. The spiritual idea is sufficient. That I suppose is the lesson I had to learn. I had been relying on the stuff itself. It says in the Bible "Angels came and ministered unto him.” My angels will bring me the manna that cometh down from heaven.

I am perfectly happy. It is sublime not to be dependent any more on earthly things. Keletiel came and told me to go and prophesy to Peter, so I will hide away the diary. I must think of a new place every time, else Peter will find out where I keep it, or the old man may be hunting around in his astral body and take it away. I have been very careful what I wrote; but he might discover some of the secrets and ruin everything.

There’s another trouble. I can only remember spiritual things clearly. The material world is fading out. It would be disaster if I forgot where I hid it.

Basil would never forgive me.

I will hide it in the chimney, then I can always look up where I put it....

What is dreadful is the length of time. With H. or C. or both, there is never a dull moment; without them the hours, the very minutes, drag. It’s difficult to read or write. My eyes won't focus properly. They have been open to the spiritual world, they can't see anything else. It’s hard, too, to control the hands. I can’t form the letters properly.

This waiting is hellish. Waiting for something to happen! I can think of nothing but H. Everything in the body is wrong. It aches intolerably. Even a single dose would put everything right.

It makes me forget who I am, and the wonderful work to be done. I have become quite blind to the spiritual world. Keletiel never comes. I must wait, wait, wait for the Holy Spirit; but that’s a memory so far, far off!

There are times when I almost doubt it, yet my faith is the only thing that prevents my going insane. I can't endure without H.

The sympathy of suffering has brought Peter closer. We lie about and look at each other; but we can’t touch, the skin is too painful. We are both restless as it is impossible to describe. It irritates us to see each other like this, and we can’t do anything; we constantly get up with the idea of doing something, but we sit down again immediately. Then we can’t sit, we have to lie down. But lying down doesn’t rest us; it irritates us more, so we get up again, and so on for ever. One can’t smoke a cigarette; after two or three puffs it drops from one’s fingers. The only respite I have is this diary. It relieves me to write of my sufferings; and besides, it is important for the spiritual life. Basil must have the record to read.

I can’t remember dates, though. I don’t even know what year it is. The leaves in the park tell me it is autumn, and the nights are getting longer. The night is better than the day; there is less to irritate. We don't sleep, of course, we fall into a torpor. Basil told me about it once. He called it the dark night of the soul. One has to go through it on the way to the Great Light.

The light of day is torture. Every sense is an instrument of the most devilish pain. There is no flesh on our bones.

This perpetual craving for H! Our minds are utterly empty of everything else. Rushing into the void come tumbling the words of that abominable poem:—

"A bitten and burning snake
Striking its venom within it,
As if it might serve to slake
The pain for the tithe of a minute.”


It is like vitriol being thrown in one’s face. We have no expression of our own. We cannot think. The need is filled by these words....

The impact of light itself is a bodily pain.

"When the sun is a living devil
Vomiting vats of evil,
And the moon and the night but mock
The wretch on his barren rock,
And the dome of heaven high-arched
Like his mouth is arid and parched,
And the caves of his heart high-spanned
Are choked with alkali sand!"


We are living on water. It seems for the moment to quench the thirst, at least part of it. Peter’s nervous state is very alarming. I feel sure he has delusions.

He got up. and staggered to the mantelpiece and leant against it with his arms stretched out. He cried in a hoarse, dry voice:—

"Thirst!
Not the thirst of the throat,
Though that be the wildest and worst
Of physical pangs that smote
Alone to the heart of Christ,
Wringing the one wild cry
‘I thirst’ from His agony,
While the soldiers drank and diced.”


He thought he was Jesus on the Cross instead of the Dragon, as he really is. It makes me very nervous about him.

When he had finished reciting, his strength suddenly failed him, and he collapsed. The clatter of the fire-irons was the most hideous noise that I had ever heard....

When I can summon up enough strength to write in my diary, the pain leaves me. I see that there are two people here. I, myself, am the Woman clothed with the Sun, writing down my experiences. The other is Lou Pendragon, an animal dying in agony from thirst.

I said the last word aloud, and Peter caught it up. He crawled away from the grate towards me croaking out:—

“Not the thirst benign
That calls the worker to wine;
Not the bodily thirst
(Though that be frenzy accurst)
When the mouth is full of sand,
And the eyes are gummed up, and the ears
Trick the soul till it hears
Water, water at hand,
When a man will dig his nails
In his breast, and drink the blood
Already that clots and stales
Ere his tongue can tip its flood.”


His mind had gone back to infancy. He thought that I was his mother, and came to me to be nursed.

But when he came near, he recognised me and crawled away again, hurriedly, like a wounded animal trying to escape from the hunter....

Most of the time, when we have energy to talk at all, we discuss how to get more H. and C. The C. has been finished long ago. It’s no good without the H. We could go to Germany and get it; or even to London, but something keeps us from decision.

I, of course, know what it is. It is necessary for me to undergo these torments that I may be purified completely from the flesh.

But Peter doesn’t understand at all. He blames me bitterly. We go over the whole thing again and again. Every incident since we met is taken in turn as the cause of our misery.

Sometimes his brutal lust revives in his mind. He thinks I am a vampire sent from Hell to destroy him; and he gloats over the idea. I cannot make him understand that I am the woman clothed with the sun. When he gets those ideas, they arouse similar thoughts in me. But they are only thoughts.

I am afraid of him. He might shoot me in a mad fit. He has got a target pistol, a very old one with long, thin bullets, and carries it about all the time. He never mentions the Germans now. He talks about a gang of hypnotists that have got hold of him, and put evil thoughts in his mind. He says that if he could shoot one of them it would break the spell. He tells me not to look at him as I do; but I have to be on the watch lest he should attack me.

Then he mixes up my hypnotic gaze with ideas of passion. He keeps on repeating:—

"Steadily stares and squarely,
Nor needs to fondle and wheedle
Her slave agasp for a kiss,
Hers whose horror is his
That knows that viper womb,
Speckled and barred with black
On its rusty amber scales,
Is his tomb—
The straining, groaning rack
On which he wails—he wails!"


He takes an acute delight in the intensity of his suffering. He is wildly proud to think that he has been singled out to undergo more atrocious torments than had ever been conceived of before.

He sees me as the principal instrument of the torture, and loves me with perverse diabolical lust for that reason, yet the whole thing is a delusion on his part, or else it is a necessary consequence of his changing into the Dragon.

It is only natural that there should be strange incidents in a case of that sort, especially as it never happened before. It is wonderful and terrible to be unique. But, of course, he is not really unique in the way that I am....

We have lighted a huge fire in the billiard-room. We sleep there so far as we sleep at all. We got the waiter to bring down blankets and quilts from the bedroom, and he leaves the food on the table.

But fires are no good. The cold comes from inside us. We sit in front of the blaze, roasting our hands and faces; but it makes no difference. We shiver.

We try to sing like soldiers round a camp fire, but the only words that come are the appropriate ones. That poem has obsessed us. It fills our souls to the exclusion of everything else except the thirst.

"Every separate bone
Cold, an incarnate groan
Distilled from the icy sperm
Of Hell's implacable worm.”


We repeated them over and over....

I don’t know how one thing ever turns into another. We are living in an eternity of damnation. It is a mystery how we ever get from the fire to the table or the two big Chesterfields. Every action is a separate agony rising to a climax which never comes. There is no possibility of accomplishment or of peace.

"Every separate nerve
Awake and alert, on a curve
Whose asymptote’s name is 'never'
In a hyperbolic ‘for ever!’"


I don’t know what some of the words mean. But there is a fascination about them. They give the idea of something without limit. Death has become impossible, because death is definite. Nothing can really ever happen. I am in a perpetual state of pain. Everything is equally anguish. I suppose one state changes into another to prevent the edge being taken off the suffering. It would be incredibly blissful if one could experience something new, however abominable. The man that wrote that poem has left out nothing. Everything that comes into my mind is no more than an echo of his groans.

"Body and soul alike
Traitors turned black-hearted,
Seeking a place to strike
In a victim already attuned
To one vast chord of wound.”


The rhythm of the poem, apart from the words, suggests this moto perpetuo vibration. Yet the nervous irritability tends to exhaust itself as such. It is so unendurable; the only escape seems to be if one could transform it into action. The poison filters through into the blood. I am itching to do something horrible and insane.

"Every drop of the river
Of blood aflame and a-quiver
With poison secret and sour—
With a sudden twitch at the last
Like certain jagged daggers.”


When Peter crosses the room, I see him

"With blood-shot eyes dull-glassed
The screaming Malay staggers
Through his village aghast.”


It is natural and inevitable that he should murder me. I wish he were not so weak. Anything to end it all.

The medical books said that if one didn’t die out- right from abstention, the craving would slowly wear off. I think Peter is already a little stronger. But I am so young to die! He complains constantly of vermin under his skin. He says he could bear that; but the idea of being driven mad by the hypnotists is more than any man can be expected to stand....

I felt I should scream if I went on a moment longer; and by scream I don’t mean just an ordinary scream, I mean that I should scream and scream and scream and never stop.

The wind is howling like that. The summer has died suddenly—without a warning, and the world is screaming in agony. It is only the echo of the wailing for my own lost soul. The angels never come to me now. Have I forfeited my position? I am conscious of nothing but this tearing, stabbing, gnawing pain, this restless raging trembling of the body, this malignant groping of a mad surgeon in the open wound of my soul.

I am so bitter, bitter cold. Yet I can’t stand the room. Peter is lying helplessly on the couch. He follows me about with his eyes. He seems to be afraid that he will be caught out in something. It’s like it was when we had dope. Though we knew we were taking it, offering it to each other openly, yet whenever we took it ourselves, we were afraid lest the other should know.

I think he has something that he wants to hide away, and is trying to get me out of the room so that I shan’t know where he has put it.

Well, I don’t care, I'm not interested in his private affairs. I’ll go out and give him a chance. I’ll hide this book in the magic room, if I have strength to get there. The old man might be able to give me some elixir. I wouldn’t mind if it killed my body; if my spirit were free I could fulfil my destiny....

Just as I closed the book I heard an answering shot. It must have been the door, for the old man has come in. He has a marvellous light in his eyes, and he radiates rainbow colours throughout the world. I understand that my ordeal is over. He stands smiling and points downwards. I think he wants me to go back to the billiard-room. Perhaps there is some one waiting for me; some one to take me away to fulfil my destiny. I know now what it was that I thought was a shot, or a door closing. It was really both of these things in a mystical sense; for I know now who the old man is, and that he is the father of the Messiah....
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:24 am

CHAPTER VII: THE FINAL PLUNGE

Sunday

The church bells tell me the day. I have been through another terrible ordeal. I don’t know how long ago since I came down from the north tower. The noise was really a shot. I found Peter on the floor with the pistol by his side, and blood pouring from a wound in his breast.

I understood immediately what I had to do. It was impossible to send for a doctor. The scandal of the suicide would make life impossible ever after, and he would immediately discover that it was due to dope. The burden must be on my own shoulders. I must nurse my boy back to life.

I remember that I had been too weak to walk down from the north tower. I climbed to the balustrades and gasped, and slid myself, sitting, from step to step. I was almost blind, too. My eyes seemed unable to focus on anything.

But the moment I saw what had happened, my strength came back to me, at least, not my strength but the strength of nature. It flowed through me like the wind blowing through a flimsy ragged curtain.

The cartridges were very old, and the powder must have lost its strength; for the bullet turned on his breast bone and ran round the ribs. It was really a trifling wound; but he was so weak that he might have died from loss of blood. I got some water, and washed the wounds, and bound them up as best I could. When the waiter came, I sent him for proper things from the chemist, and some invalid food. For the first time I was glad of the war. My Red-Cross training made all the difference.

There was a little fever, due to his intense weakness, and occasionally he had delirium. The obsession of the poem still enthralled him. While I was dressing the wounds he said feebly and dreamily:—

"She it is, she, that found me
In the morphia honeymoon;
With silk and steel she bound me;
In her poisonous milk she drowned me,
Even now her arms surround me.”


"Yes,” I said, "but it’s your wife who loves you and is going to nurse you through this trouble, and we’re going to live happy ever afterwards.”

He smiled very faintly and sweetly and dozed off....

Wednesday

I count the days now. We are having an Indian summer. Nature is lovely. I go out for little walks when Peter is asleep.

Friday

There have been no complications, or I should have had to get a doctor in at whatever risk. What troubles me is that as he gets stronger, the delusions of persecution have begun to return. I know now how deeply I was myself obsessed by ideas of grandeur, and how my need to be a mother determined their form.

But is it a delusion that I should be thinking constantly of Basil? I seem to hear him saying that I was cured from the moment that I forgot myself altogether in the absorption of my love for Peter; the work of bringing him back to life.

And now that I have ceased to look at myself and feel for myself, I have become able to see him and feel for him with absolute clearness. There is not the slightest possibility of error.

All the time he has been able to realise dimly that he was slipping down the dark slope to insanity. He has mixed it all up with the idea of me. He had begun to identify me with the phantom of murderous madness which he recognised as destroying him. A look of trouble comes into his face every now and then; and he begins to repeat plaintively in a puzzled voice with his eyes fixed on mine:—

"Know you now why her eyes
So fearfully glaze, beholding
Terrors and infamies
Like filthy flowers unfolding?
Laughter widowed of ease,
Agony barred from sadness,
Death defeated of peace,  
Is she not madness?"


Over and over again he said it, and over and over again I told him the answer. I had indeed been a personification of the seductress, of the destroying angel. But it had been a nightmare. I had awakened, and he must awake.

But he saw not me any more, but his ideal enveloping me congealed into my form. No matter what I said, his fixed idea became constantly stronger as his physical strength came back.

"She waits for me, lazily leering,
As moon goes murdering moon;
The moon of her triumph is nearing;
She will have me wholly soon.”


The rhythm of the poem was still in my own blood; but it seemed to have worked itself out into another channel. I had forgotten the acute personal anguish of the earlier part of the poem. I could not even remember the lines any more. I was wholly occupied by the last two paragraphs where the subject changes so suddenly.

I began to realise what my governess used to call Weltschmertz; the universal sorrow wherein "Creation groaneth and travaileth until now."

I understood Basil's wish that we should undertake the fearful experiment which had brought us to such extremity. My insanity had been the result of my selfish vanity. I was not singled out for a unique destiny. The realisation of my own suffering had led me to understand that every one else was in the same boat. I could see even the false note of the contempt of the poet for those who had not experienced his own sublimity of horror.

"And you, you puritan others,
Who have missed the morphia craving,
Cry scorn if I call you brothers,
Curl lip at my maniac raving,
Fools, seven times beguiled,
You have not known her? Well!
There was never a need she smiled
To harry you into hell!"


The pride of Satan, in the deepness of damnation, has a fall when he realises that others are in a same calamity without having been at such perverse pains to get there. He only attains the truth when he becomes wholly impersonal, in the final paragraph.

"Morphia is but one
Spark of its secular fire.
She is the single sun—
Type of all desire!
All that you would you are—
And that is the crown of a craving.
You are slaves of the wormwood star.
Analysed, reason is raving.
Feeling, examined, is pain.
What heaven were to hope for a doubt of it!
Life is anguish, insane;
And death is—not a way out of it!"


I saw that all feeling, however it might seem to casual scrutiny, must be of the nature of pain, because it implied duality and imperfection; and that the nature of thought of whatever kind, must ultimately be insanity, because it expresses the relations between things, and never the things in themselves.

It became evident that the sorrow of the Universe was caused by the desire of manifestation, and that death could not do more than suppress one form of existence in favour of another. Of course, the impasse is complete. There seems to be no solution of the problem. It is a vicious circle.

At the same time, by acquiescence in actuality, the insane insistence on one’s individual anguish is abated. Sympathy with universal suffering brings one into a certain sombre serenity. It does not show us the way of escape, if such there be, but at least it makes the idea of escape thinkable. As long as one is trying to get out of the burning theatre for one’s own sake, the panic makes concerted action impossible. "Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost" is not the kind of order that is likely to secure victory. It does not even ensure the safety of any one man.

How quickly I had recovered my own well-being when I was forced to forget about it!

Peter is still desperately striving to save himself. "He that loveth his life shall lose it.” I must dedicate my miraculously restored faculties to his salvation. Only I don’t see how to set to work.

If only Basil were here. He would know. He has worked out the technique. All I can do is to love and labour blindly. After all, there must have been angels looking after me in some sense which I don't pretend to understand. Why should they not be even more vigilant on his behalf?

I am only a foolish flapper not worth throwing into the waste-paper basket. He is a splendid man with a glorious past and endless possibilities for the future. It won’t do to let him go under; and they must know that.

I won’t trouble my silly head about it, I’ll keep on loving and trusting.

October 26

I have forgotten about my diary all this time. I have been too busy with Peter. My memory is frightfully bad. I don’t seem able to fix things at all. Peter got stronger all the time. He is practically quite well now, and took me out and taught me to shoot pheasants this morning. It was terribly exciting. I actually got one, my very first day. I got a man and wife and their daughter to come in and do for us, so we’re really very comfortable, in a countrified way. I couldn’t have any one while Peter was raving.

The waiter from the inn is a Swiss. He kept his mouth shut; and I saw to it that he had no reason to regret the policy.

What I can’t remember is how Peter began to get better: mentally, I mean. I ought to have kept this diary properly, I know, but as he improved, he took up more and more of my time, and then I had to do so many things to have things ready for him when he was able to get up.

And now, I can’t think how it came about; but I believe the first sign of improvement was that the poem dropped out. He began to talk naturally about ordinary affairs. He was terribly weak and ill, and it had scared him. He was like an ordinary convalescent, I suppose—signs of returning interests in the affairs of life. I had ceased to be a symbol. I was just his nurse.

Part of the time he had forgotten who I was. He was back in the base hospital; the time they winged him.

Our honeymoon and its sequel is mostly blotted out. I can't say how much he knows. He says things sometimes which make me think it’s quite a lot.

And then again, other things which make me think he doesn’t even remember that I am his wife. This morning, for instance, he said: “I must go to London to see about a settlement I’m making in case I ever get married.”

And then, not half an hour afterwards, he referred to an incident of our life in Capri. I am careful not to contradict him or alarm him about the state of his mind, but it’s very difficult to know what to do. There are so many things I forget myself.

"How did we get down here?" Then again, "Where is Alice?" The name keeps on popping up, and yet I don’t know any one at all intimately or importantly with that name.

I had forgotten this diary—I found it by accident and immediately began to read it through to refresh my memory.

Most of the handwriting is unreadable. I puzzled and puzzled before I could make out the words. And then when I got the words, they were so senseless. I can’t believe that all that happened to me. Some of it came back slowly; curiously, the unimportant things came first.

I was amazed to find that Mabel Black was dead. I wrote her a letter only yesterday. Poor old girl!

The part, too, about Dr. McCall. I could swear quite honestly that never happened. And yet it must have; for I found scraps of the dress in the cushions of the blue Chesterfield chewed to a pulp....

October 27

We have been shooting again; but it was cold and damp. We were neither of us interested and we were too weary to walk. Peter said nothing; but all the time I can feel how disgusted he is. We’re so rottenly let down. This afternoon I picked up that article of Sieveking’s. He is talking about the sensation of walking after a flight.

"One has an infinitely distressing sensation of being clamped down to the ground—manacled by the very grass-blades!"


We have been living so long at such a terrific bat, life is intolerable on any other terms.

I don’t feel any physical need of drugs any more. On the contrary, I feel a delightful bodily buoyancy at having got free. It's an extraordinary thing, too, how normal appetite has returned. We’ve been eating five meals a day, one feeding like forty instead of Wordsworth's forty feeding like one. We had been starving ourselves for months, and we had to make up for it. The most delicious sensation of all is the re-birth of healthy human love. Spring coming back to the earth!

But it doesn’t satisfy, even so. The intervals between one’s emotions are appallingly long. I think drugs intensify the high lights for one thing; but for another, and this is really more important, they fit up the interstices of shadow.

It’s hard, I imagine, in the ordinary way, to come off one’s honeymoon back into regular life. I often wonder how a poet feels when he isn’t absorbed in the ecstasy of inspiration. That may be why so may of them go off the deep end, the interstices bore them.

I may as well face the facts. We’ve had a pretty narrow escape. We’ve got out of the mess more by good luck than by good judgment. But if it weren’t for that, I’m not sure that we shouldn’t be inclined to take another chance. Of course, as things are, it's quite out of the question. It may be not the least of our luck that the lesson was so severe as it was.

October 30

The fact is, we’re too young. We don’t think of the obvious thing. Of course, we’re bored stiff down here with the leaves all fallen, and the mist steaming up from the lake and swamping the house like a gas attack. We ought to be in London, and do the theatres, and look up a few of the old crowd. I ought really to see Maisie Jacobs and tell her how grateful I am.

Funny, I can't think what I have to be grateful about. But luckily it’s in the diary.

Peter has got more silent and morose every day, like the weather. He seems to have something on his mind. I wish he’d tell me what it is....

He brightened up at dinner. "Let’s go to town to-morrow, Lou,” he said. "We’ll just take small bags. We needn’t be away more than two or three days. What we need is a few decent meals in a restaurant, and take in a show or two, and perhaps get a bunch down here to liven us up a bit. The birds are pretty good this year after all.”

October 31

It only struck us when we got into the train that we couldn’t possibly go to the Savoy with no clothes. Peter thought it would be a joke to go round to that place of ours in Greek Street.

It certainly will be amusing to look at it from the new point of view. He will take the bags on there, while I get one or two nice people together. We ought to give a little dinner to celebrate.

Here’s London at last. I’ll lock this up in my dressing case....

Later—I can pocket the creature’s insolence at the price. It must have been on my mind. The first address I gave to the chauffeur was McCall’s. He looked shocked when I was announced.

”My dear Lady Pendragon,” he almost shouted at me very fast. "I know you’ll forgive me. I’m frightfully busy this afternoon.”

(There wasn't a soul in his waiting-room.)

"If you’ll allow me, I think this is what you want, and I hope you will come and see me again soon. Always at your service, dear Lady Pendragon.”

While he was talking he half emptied a ten-gramme bottle into a piece of paper, twisted it up like a grocer, thrust it almost rudely into my hand, and bowed me out volubly and effusively into the street.

I went faint all over. The taxi was still there. I called him, and drove to Mme. Daubignac’s. I don’t know why, but I felt that I needed a treatment. I was trembling all over. It was worse when I went in: for I could see that she was as shocked as McCall.

Then I got in front of a glass. How is it that in all the times I’ve looked at myself in these months I've never seen what they see in a second?

Good God! it’s too awful to talk about. My face is drawn and haggard and pale and wrinkled. I might be sixty. Well, what do I care? I've had three beautiful sniffs!

Madame dolled me up as well as she could. Already I looked much better, and I felt superb.

Peter w as out when I got to Greek Street; so I opened my dressing case and wrote this up, and had a few more sniffs. The only trouble before was simply our own foolishness. We didn't take ordinary precautions. This time we're going to watch out....

Peter is back, furious. His pedlar has been pinched. So I came to the rescue.

"We'll go out to dinner and make a night of it."

November 6

We’ve arranged for a regular supply; but the hellish thing is that the stuff doesn’t work any more. We get the insomnia and those things all right, but we can’t get any fun out of it. We've tried all sorts of dodges. It's no good. Being with it simply dulls the pain of being without. That's the best I can say. What are we to do?

(There are three more entries in this diary; but they are illegible, quite beyond conjecture. The only words decipherable are "sleep" near the beginning of the first; the name "Basil" in the second; and the word "poison" in the third.)
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:10 am

BOOK III: PURGATORIO

[Note. —The Abbey of Thelema at "Telepylus” is a real place. It and its customs and members, with the surrounding scenery, are accurately described. The training there given is suited to all conditions of spiritual distress, and for the discovery and development of the "True Will" of any person. Those interested are invited to communicate with the author of this book.]

CHAPTER I: KING LAMUS INTERVENES

It is only three months ago; but it seems a lifetime. My memory is now very good, and I remember more details of the past every day. I am writing this account of the past three months, partly because my best friend tells me that it will strengthen it if I exercise it by putting down what has occurred in sequence. And you know, even a month ago, I couldn’t have recalled anything at all with regard to certain periods.

My friend tells me that memory fails me in part because nature mercifully wishes to hide from us things which are painful. The spider-web of protective forgetfulness is woven over the mouth of the cave which conceals the raw head and bloody bones of our misfortunes.

"But the greatest men,” says King Lamus, "are those that refuse to be treated like squalling children, who insist on facing reality in every form, and tear off ruthlessly the bandages from their own wounds.”

But I have to think very hard to write down the incidents of the dinner at the Wisteria when Lou and I had made up our minds to end our lives.

I had got some prussic acid from the chemist’s more than a week before. It took us that time to make up our minds to get up and to acquire Dutch courage enough to take the plunge.

Some instinct prevented us dropping out of existence in a place like those lodgings in Greek Street. When all one’s moral sense is gone, there remains a racial instinct in men and women of good blood which tells them, like Macbeth and Brutus, to die positively and not negatively.

I believe it was this alone that dragged us up from the dirty bed from which we had not moved for weeks, sunk in a state which was neither sleep nor waking.

It was by a gigantic effort that I got up and put some clothes on, and went out and got shaved. Nothing but excitement and the idea of death enabled me to do it. I found the same thing in the war; and so did lots of men.

It seems as if the soul is tired of the body, and welcomes the chance to be done with it once and for all. But it wants to offer itself gallantly in a flight or a charge. It objects to dying in a ditch passively. I am sure that nothing less would have got us up from that foetid stupor.

We had some champagne before starting, and then tottered giddily over the unfamiliar streets. There was something faintly attractive about the bustle of humanity. There was a momentary regret about leaving it. Yet we had already left it so long, so long ago, in every intelligible sense of the word. We should, I suppose, have been classed as human beings by statisticians, but surely by nobody else. We could never return to their midst. And even in the midst of our wretchedness, we felt a repulsion of contempt for the ruck of humanity which made us content to widen the gap between them and ourselves. Why preserve the. outward semblance of these futile insects? Even their happiness disgusted us; it was so stupidly shallow.

We could see that the people of the Wisteria were shocked at our appearance. The maitre d'hotel bustled over and made some sympathetic remarks about our not having been there for a long time. I told him that we had both been very ill; and then Lou put in, in a hollow voice:—

"We shall be better to-night.”

Her intonation was so sinister that the man almost jumped. I was afraid for the moment that everything would be spoilt, but I saved the situation by some silly joking remark. However, I could see that he was very uncomfortable and glad to get away from our table.

We had ordered a wonderful dinner; but, of course, we couldn't eat anything. The mockery of having all those expensive dishes brought, one after the other, and taken away again untouched, was irritating at first, and then it began to be amusing. I vaguely remember something in history about funeral feasts. It seemed singularly appropriate to start west in such conditions.

Yes, we were participating in some weird ceremony such as delighted the ancient Egyptians. The thought even came to my mind that we had already died, that this was our mocking welcome to Hades, the offering of dishes of which we were unable to partake. And yet, between us and the unknown was the act of drinking the contents of the little bottle in my waistcoat pocket.

It was nearly an hour and a half since we had some heroin, and already the loathsome fumes of abstention were suffocating us. We had as much as our bodies could tolerate. We didn't want any more actively. It would do us no good to take more, but nature had already begun her process of eliminating the poison.

In the body, morphine and heroin become oxydised, and it is the resulting poisons, not the drugs themselves, that are responsible for the appalling effects. Thus the body begins to give off these products through the secretions; therefore the nose begins to run; there are prolonged foul sweats; there is a smell and a taste which cannot be called unpleasant even, it can only be called abominable in the proper sense of that word: that which is repugnant to man. It is so detestable as to be unendurable. One might get relief by cleaning one’s teeth or by having a Turkish bath, but the energy to do such things is lacking.

But if you take a fresh dose of the drug, it puts a temporary stop to the efforts of nature to eliminate it. That is why it is such a vicious circle; and these premonitory symptoms of abstinence are merely the foetor of the foul breath of the dragon who is on his way to crunch you.

If you make up your mind to endure the disgusting symptoms, the demon soon proceeds to more serious measures.

Lou has explained in her diary more or less what these are. But even with the help of the poet, one cannot give any idea of what it is like. For example, the question of cold. The reader thinks at once of the cold of winter. If he has travelled a little and has some imagination, he may think of the chill spells of fever. But neither of these give much idea of the nature of the cold produced by abstinence.

Our poet, whoever he is (his name is not given in the magazine) certainly succeeds in conveying to his reader the truth, that is, provided his reader already knows it. I can’t imagine how it would strike any one who had not experienced it. For he conveys his meaning, so to speak, in spite of the words. This business of expression is very curious.

How could one describe, say, a love affair to a person who had never had one or imagined one? All expression does is to wake up in the reader the impressions in his own experience which are otherwise dormant. And he will interpret what is said or written only in terms of that experience.

Lamus said the other day that he had given up trying to communicate the results of his researches to people. They couldn’t even be trusted to read words of one syllable, though they might have taken the best degrees in Humane Letters at Oxford. For example, he would write, "Do what thou wilt" to somebody, and would be attacked by return of post for having written “Do as thou wilt.”

Every one interprets everything in terms of his own experience. If you say anything which does not touch a precisely similar spot in another man’s brain, he either misunderstands you, or doesn’t understand you at all.

I am therefore extremely depressed by the obligation under which King Lamus has put me to write this section, with the avowed object of instructing the world in the methods of overcoming the craving for drugs.

He admits frankly that he feels it quite useless to do it himself, for the very reason that he is so abnormal a man. He even distrusts me, on the ground that he has had so much influence on my life and thought.

"Even a mediocrity like yourself, Sir Peter," he said to me the other day, "dull as you are, cannot be trusted in my neighbourhood. Your brain unconsciously soaks up the highly charged particles of my atmosphere. And before you know where you are, instead of expressing yourself—what little self you have to express—you will be repeating, in a debased currency, the words of wisdom that from time to time have dropped from my refined lips."

There was a time when I should have resented a remark like that. If I don’t do so now, it isn’t because I’ve lost my manhood, it isn’t because I feel such gratitude to the man who pulled me through; the reason is that I have learned what he means when he talks like that. He has completely killed out in himself the idea of himself. He takes no credit for his marvellous qualities, and has even got over kicking himself for his weaknesses. And so he says the most serious things in the language of absurdity and irony. And when he talks in a serious strain, his language merely accentuates the prodigious sense of humour which, as he says himself, saves him from going insane with horror at the mess into which humanity has got itself. Just as the Roman Empire began to break down when it became universal, when it was so large that no individual mind could grasp the problems which it postulated, so to-day, the spread of vulgar education and the development of facilities for transport have got ahead of the possibilities of the best minds. The increase of knowledge has forced the thinker to specialise, with the result that there is nobody capable to deal with civilisation as a whole.

We are playing a game of chess in which nobody can see more than two or three squares at once, and so it has become impossible to form a coherent plan.

King Lamus is trying to train a number of selected people to act as a sort of brain for the world in its present state of cerebral collapse. He is teaching them to co-ordinate the facts in a higher synthesis. The suggestion is that of his old teacher, Prof. Henry Maudsley, with whom he studied insanity. Herbert Spencer, too, had a similar idea. But King Lamus is the first to endeavour to make a practical effort to embody this conception in a practical way.

I seem to have wandered a long way from our farewell dinner party; but my mind is still unable to concentrate as it should. Heroin and cocaine enable one to attain a high degree of concentration artificially, and this has to be paid for by a long period of reaction in which one cannot fix one’s mind on a subject at all. I am very much better than I was, but I get impatient at times. It is so tedious to build oneself up on biological lines, especially when one knows that a single dose of heroin or even morphine would make one instantly the equal of the greatest minds in the world.

We had decided to take the prussic acid in our coffee. I do not think we were afraid of death; life had become such an infinitely boring alternation between a period of stimulation which failed to stimulate and of depression which hardly even depressed.

There was no object in going on. It was simply not worth while. On the other hand, there was a certain hesitation about stopping because of the effort required. We felt that even to die required energy. We tried to supply this with Dutch courage, and we even succeeded in producing a sort of hilarity. We never had a moment’s doubt about carrying out our programme.

The waiter brought two Peches Melba; and as he retired we found that King Lamus was standing at our table.  

"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law," came his calm voice.

A sudden flush of hostility suffused my face.

"We've been doing it," I answered with a sort of surly anger, "and I suppose the great psychologist can see what’s come of it."

He shook his head very sadly; and sat down without being invited on the chair opposite to us.

"I'm afraid not," he said. "I'll explain what I mean on a more convenient occasion. I can see you want to get rid of me; but I know you won't refuse to help a man out when he's in trouble like I am."

Lou was all sympathy and tenderness at once; and even in the state in which I was, I was aware of a feeble movement of hate both towards her and him. The fact is that the man’s mere presence acted as a powerful stimulant.

"It’s only a trifle," he said, with a curious smile, "just a little literary difficulty in which I find myself. I was hoping you might remember my giving you a poem to read a little while ago.”

His tone was airy and supercilious; but yet there was an under-current of earnestness in his voice which compelled the attention.

Lou nodded easily enough; but I could see that in her heart, no less than in mine, an arrow had struck, charged with acid venom. The reference recalled the dreadful days at Barley Grange; and even the Bottomless Pit of Nothingness into which we had since fallen seemed less outrageous than the lake of fire through which we had passed.

The poem rang through my brain, snatches of the anthem of the damned.

His elbows were upon the table, his head between his hands; he watched us intently for a few moments.

"I want to quote that poem in something I’m writing," he explained, "and can you tell me the last line of it?"

Lou answered mechanically, as if he had pressed a button:—

"Death is not a way out of it!"


"Thank you," he said. "It’s a great help to me that you should have been able to remember."

Something in his tone caught my imagination vividly. His eyes burnt through me. I began to wonder whether there were any truth in what was said about the diabolical powers of the man.

Could he have divined the reason for our coming to the cafe? I had the absolute certainty that he knew all about it, though it was humanly impossible that he should.

"A very strange theory, that about death," he said. "I wonder if there’s anything in it. It would really be too easy if we could get out of our troubles in so simple a fashion. It has always seemed to me that nothing can ever be destroyed. The problems of life are really put together ingeniously in order to baffle one, like a chess problem. We can’t untie a real knot in a closed piece of string without the aid of the fourth dimension; but we can disentangle the complexities caused by dipping the string in water—and such things," he added, with an almost malicious gravity in his tone.

I knew what he meant.

"It might very well be," he continued, "that when we fail to solve the puzzles of life, they remain with us. We have to do them sooner or later; and it seems reasonable to suppose that the problems of life ought to be solved during life, while we have to our hands the apparatus in which they arose. We might find that after death the problems were unaltered, but that we were impotent to deal with them. Did you ever meet any one that had been indiscreet about taking drugs? Presumably not. Well, take my word for it, those people get into a state which is in many ways very like death. And the tragic thing about the situation is this; that they started taking the drugs because life, in one way or another, was one too many for them. And what is the result? The drugs have not in the least relieved the monotony of life or whatever their trouble was, and yet they have got into a state very like that of death, in which they are impotent to struggle. No, we must conquer life by living it to the full, and then we can go to meet death with a certain prestige. We can face that adventure as we’ve faced the others.”

The personality of the man radiated energy. The momentary contact with his mind had destroyed the current of thought which had been obsessing ours. Yet it was a fearful pang to be torn away from the fixed idea which had imposed itself as the necessary conclusion of a course of thought and action extending over so long a period.

I can imagine a man reprieved at the foot of a scaffold experiencing an acute annoyance at being wrenched away from the logical outcome of his tendencies.

"Cowards die many times before their death.” And those who have decided whether with their will or against it, to put an end to their lives, must resent interference. As Schopenhauer says, the will to die is inherent in all of us, as much as the will to live.

I remember a lot of fellows in the trenches saying that they dreaded being sent to the base; they would rather have it over than take a temporary respite. Life had ceased to be precious. They had become accustomed to face death, and had acquired a fear of life of just the same quality as the fear of death that they had had at first. Life had become the unknown, the uncertain, the dreadful.

A hot, fierce wave of annoyance went through me like a flush of fever.

"Damn the fellow,” I muttered, "why must he always butt in like this?"

And then I noticed that Lou had taken the little bottle from my waistcoat pocket, and handed it to King Lamus.

"I believe you’re right, Basil," she said. "But if you take that bottle away from us, the responsibility lies with you.”

"Is that calculated to frighten me?" he answered smiling, and rose to his feet. He dropped the bottle to^the ground, and stamped his heel deliberately on it.

Now,” he said, "let's get down to business,” resuming his seat.

The fumes of the acid enveloped the table.

"Hydrocyanic acid,” he remarked, " is an excellent pick-me-up when absorbed into the system in this diluted form, but to take it in large doses is an in¬ discretion.”

There is no doubt that the man had a tendency to what in a woman is called nagging. He constantly used the word "indiscretion" as if it were a weapon.

We both winced.

"You accept me,” he went on, "as responsible for getting you out of this mess?"

There was nothing else to do. It went against the grain. However, I blurted out something about being grateful.

"You needn't talk that nonsense,” he retorted severely. "It’s my business to help people to do their wills. The gratitude is on my side. I want you to understand from the beginning that you are helping me to justify my existence by allowing me to do what I can to straighten out this tangle. But my conditions are that you give me a fair chance by doing what I say.”

He did not even wait for acquiescence.

You are a bit excited nervously,” he went on. Depression is only another form of excitement. It means a variation from normal tone. So when you have had your coffee, I will join you in a cup, we will go around to my studio and try what some of those tablets will do. Then, where are you living?"

We told him we had gone back to our old place in Greek Street.

"Hardly a salubrious neighbourhood," he remarked. "I think we ought to celebrate the occasion by making a night of it in my studio, and to-morrow morning we must see about getting you some decent rooms."

I remembered that our supply of heroin was in Greek Street.

"You know, Lamus," I stammered, "I'm ashamed to admit it, but we really can’t get on without H. We tried—in fact, once we got clean away—but we couldn’t possibly go through that again."

"Nothing to be ashamed of, my dear man," returned our physician. "You can’t get on without eating. That’s no reason for stopping. All I ask you to do is to do it sensibly."

Then you won’t cut us off? ’’ put in Lou.

"Certainly not, why should I? You take as much as you want, and when you want, and how you want. That’s no business of mine. My business is to remove the want. You say you cured yourselves, but you didn’t. You only cut off the drug; the want remained. And as soon as the opportunity for starting again arrived, you started again. Perhaps, in fact, you made the opportunity."

The man was really uncanny. I must confess it put me off, being hit every time like that when I wasn't expecting it. But Lou took it in quite a different way. She was glad to be so thoroughly understood. She clapped her hands. I was amazed. It was the first time in months that I had ever seen her make the slightest movement that wasn't absolutely necessary.

"You’re quite right," she said. "We said nothing to each other about it, and I hadn’t the slightest conscious intention of doing what I did. But the moment I got to London I drove to the place where I knew I could get heroin. And when I got back, I found that Peter had been out trying to find the man who had sold him the cocaine before. I assure you it wasn’t deliberate."

"That's exactly the trouble," retorted Lamus. "It leads you by the nose, and prevents your doing your will. I remember once when I was making experiments with it myself, how I would go out with the intention of keeping away from the stuff all day, and how, without my knowing it, I took advantage of all sorts of little incidents that cropped up to get back to the studio some hours before I had intended. I found myself out at once, of course, having learnt some of the tricks of the mind. And I sat and watched myself finding excuses for starting in. One gets into an absolutely morbid state, in which everything that happens has some bearing on the question, ‘Shall I or shall I not take it?’; and one gets so pleased with oneself for saying ‘ no’ so often that one is tempted to reward oneself by saying ‘yes’ just once. I can promise you a very interesting time watching your minds and spotting all the little dodges. The great thing I want you to remember is that you have to learn to take pleasure in what is really the most pleasurable thing in the world—introspection. You have got to find amusement in observing the details of the discomfort of being without the drug. And I don’t want you to overdo it, either. When the discomfort becomes so acute that you can’t enjoy it properly, then is the time to take a small dose and notice the effects. I hope, by the way, you’ve been a good little girl and kept that magical diary.”

Lou was astonishingly pleased to be able to say "yes.”

"Some of it’s done very fully,” she said, "but you know there were days and weeks when I couldn’t think, I couldn’t move. Life was a perpetual struggle to get back to-” she hesitated for a word, and then ended with a pained little laugh, "oh, to anywhere.”

King Lamus nodded gravely. We had finished our coffee.

"Now,” said he," to business,” and led the way to the door.

I stayed behind for a moment to pay the bill. There was still a faint smell of bitter almond in the air. It reminded me of how the dinner might have ended, and I trembled all over like a man in an ague fit.

What was happening in me? Had I suddenly fallen in love with life, or had I simply become aware of the fear of death?

When we reached the fresh air, I knew it was the former. Lamus had made me feel. The effect of the drug had been to kill all feeling in me. My impulse to kill myself had not been so wholly negative as I had thought. It was a positive craving for what I supposed to be the anaesthesia of death. The pain of life had been too much to endure, and the influence of King Lamus had been to brace me to meet life face to face, whatever it might have in store, and conquer it.

I did not fear death any more than I had done in the old days, flying over the lines. I didn’t mind dying at all; but I wanted to die fighting.

Lou was talking quite briskly to King Lamus on the steps of the restaurant while the commissionaire called a taxi. And I realised too that I loved her, that she was worth fighting to recover, that I had been a cad to drag her down with me. I understood my jealousy of King Lamus. His colossal strength, even his callousness about women, attracted them. The man himself had made me sit up and match myself against him.

I wasn’t going to have Lou see me constantly at a disadvantage.

We drove around to the studio.

The atmosphere invigorated us. I got an entirely new point of view about Lala. Before, she had seemed to me little more than part of the furniture, but tonight she was the resident spirit of the place. She informed it, gave it a meaning. The intimacy between her and her master was not in any way personal. She was the medium by which his thoughts became perceptible.

The fantastic appointments of the studio were projections in terms of material substances of his mind interpreted through her consciousness. I had an uncanny feeling that if it were not for her, King Lamus would be invisible.

In his mind, there was no difference between any two things, but through her mediation he was able to pretend that there was.

The studio was divided into several parts by arrangements of curtains. There was a perpetual soft noise of laughter, singing, and dancing; interrupted only by periods of intense silence which was somehow more significant than the sound. The firelight threw doubtful shadow pictures upon the glass roof; and from time to time figures moved with intimate softness through the dark corners and out into the courtyard. These swathed and muffled forms possessed an uncanny quality of unreality.

The studio was full of subtle incense. No smoke was visible; it was as if the atmosphere had somehow been impregnated with it.  

Our little party fell very silent. He had given Lou and myself some tablets which had the effect of silencing the nervous restlessness which had begun to seize us after even so short an abstinence from heroin.

"I want you to hang on a little,” explained our host. "The sting of abstinence will make the indulgence worth while. You have noticed, I am sure, that the vast majority of doses fail to produce any definite active effect.”

It was quite true. We had been cursing the drug for its failure to reproduce the original sensations. We had tried to overcome the difficulty by increasing the quantity. But a time had come when we were immune to its action; horridly aware of its absence, without obtaining any satisfaction from its presence.

"That stuff I have given you,” Lamus explained, "dilutes your symptoms, and enables you to some extent to bear the discomfort. I want you to take advantage of the fact to watch your discomfort as if it were somebody else. When you find that you can enjoy this instead of blindly rushing to heroin for relief, you will already have gone a long way in the direction of acquiring mental control.”

Several times during the night Lala intervened vigorously in such a way that it was impossible for us not to give her our attention. We found out later that this was part of the plan, that we were being watched for symptoms of acute disquietude, and that whenever these appeared, she interfered to prevent our dwelling on the subject.

I was astonished to find it about four o’clock in the morning, when King Lamus said:—

"I’ve just been thinking that we should all be the better for a little heroin,” and proceeded to hand it around.

The effect was extraordinary. I was aware of an infinite sense of relief; but it was evanescent. It could only have been a few instants before I sank into a dreamless slumber.
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Re: The Diary of a Drug Fiend, by Aleister Crowley

Postby admin » Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:34 am

CHAPTER II: FIRST AID

When I woke, the winter sun was already high. It streamed upon my face through the glass skylight of the studio. The sensation of waking was itself a revelation. For months past I had been neither awake nor asleep; simply passing from the state of greater to one of less unconsciousness. But this was a definite act.

King Lamus had gone out, and Lala had only just returned, for she was taking off her furs as I woke.

I had been covered with blankets. She came and took them off, and told me it was time to go and get my things from Greek Street and take them to the new rooms which she had engaged for us that morning.

Lou, it seemed, was already there; and had fallen asleep again, said Lala, only a few minutes before she left.

I could not help feeling a dislike for the way in which everything was being managed for me. I must have shown something of this in my manner. Lala, after bundling me into the automobile which I had driven to Barley Grange on that first tremendous night, began to turn the conversation so as to answer my unspoken resentment.

She made a pleasant little excuse for not offering me the steering-wheel. I knew too well that I couldn't have driven that car a hundred yards through traffic. I had abdicated my manhood. I must resign myself to be driven where any one was willing to take me. I might count myself lucky if I had fallen into reasonably good hands.

At Greek Street we met with a surprise. It appeared that a few minutes before our arrival, a lady and gentleman had called and were very anxious to see me. They would come back in half an hour. I couldn’t imagine who on earth it could be, and the matter slipped from my mind. I was hot and eager to get out of the disgusting atmosphere of those rooms. I wouldn’t let Lala come in; but I found that I wasn’t strong enough to pack my stuff. The smell of the den was foul beyond all belief.

Lou has not described a hundredth part of the dark abominations which had become habitual.

In fact, I was overcome by the foetor. I had no strength left. I sunk helplessly into a chair, and began to look feebly about me for the heroin to buck me up.

I must have gone off into a sort of swoon; for I don’t know how it happened, but the fresh, cold air was blowing on my face. Our things had been packed as if by magic, and had been taken out to the motor. The bill had been paid.

As I set foot in the car, I heard the landlady asking what she should do if the lady and gentleman came back. I gave the address of my new rooms. As I stumbled into the seat the clear incisive tones of Lala rang across.

"You’d better tell them that Sir Peter’s far from well. He will probably not be able to see any one this week.”

I sat limply, shaken by the vibrations of the car. I was an empty vessel; but I felt that, as we got out of the twisted network of streets, and the automobile bounded forward, I was escaping from some infernal labyrinth.

I found Lou at the new rooms. She was sitting in a big lounge chair holding tight to the arms. Her face told the same tale as my own. We felt that we had come through a great illness by a miracle. It struck me as dreadfully unfair that instead of being gently nursed back to health, a demand was to be made upon us for the exercise of the utmost moral and physical strength and courage.

It was impossible for either of us to put forth the slightest effort without the help of the drug. It seemed logically impossible that we should be able to stop drugs by our own efforts; and we knew only too well from experience that we had got to a state where even a few moments delay in taking a dose might result in complete collapse and death.

I shall leave you children alone for an hour to get settled in, and then we might drive down and have lunch in the country, don’t you think? But of course you’ll be needing heroin all the time, and I notice that you have a plentiful supply, so there’s nothing to worry about there. It’s not taking the drug that does the harm, it s the not knowing what you take. So I brought you a couple of charts marked off into hours; and what I want you to do is to promise to make a cross in the proper space every time you take it.”

The condition was easy enough. What we had been dreading, in spite of what Lamus had said, was the forcible suppression which we had experienced at Barley Grange, and which had brought us to such extremities.

But Lala s last remark removed all our apprehensions. The matter was left entirely in our own hands. All we were asked was to keep a record of what we were doing.

I couldn’t see how the fact of putting a thing down could make any difference to the act itself.

At that moment King Lamus came in, and kept us amused for half an hour with a perfectly absurd story of some trifling adventure that had happened to him that morning. But despite his vivacity and the interest which he excited, I found my hands instinctively going to the little wooden box in which I kept my heroin.

I took a dose. Lamus immediately broke off his remarks.

Goon, I said feebly. "I didn't mean to interrupt.” That s all right, said Lamus." I’m only waiting for you to put it down.”

Lala had pinned my chart to the wall. I looked at my watch, and went over and scrawled a cross in the proper section.

As I returned, I noticed that Lamus was watching with a smile of singular amusement. I know now that it was due to his recognising the nature of my annoyance.

He finished his story in a few words, and then asked me point-blank how the cure was going.

I said I didn’t see how I could even begin to be cured, and pointed out the nature of the deadlock.

"Well,” he said, "you aren't making any allowance for something that the doctors all talk about and forget nine-tenths of the time, which is yet the only thing that saves them from being found out as the ignorant meddlers they are. Do you know that the post-mortems on people who die in New York hospitals show that about fifty per cent, of the cases have been wrongly diagnosed? No, Sir Peter, while you and I are wasting our time discussing our troubles, there's one thing working for us, never stops day or night, and that is Vis medicatrix naturae.”

Lala nodded emphatically.

"Didn’t you notice that even in the Red-Cross?" she said to Lou. "The cases that got well were those that were left alone. All the surgeons did was to repair, as well as possible, the interference with nature caused by the wound. Anything beyond that was a mistake.”

"We’ll be back in about an hour,” said Lamus, "and take you to lunch at Hindhead. Have you a pocket-knife, by the way?"

"Why, yes,” I said with surprise. "Why?"

"Otherwise I would have left you mine. You may need one to sharpen your pencil.”

Lou and I fell to talking as soon as they were gone. We were already better in this respect, that we had begun to take an interest in ourselves once more. We resorted once or twice to heroin during the absence of our friend; and we made a kind of little family joke of keeping each other up to the mark in the matter of recording the facts.

I discovered what had amused King Lamus on the first occasion. I was conscious of a distinct shade of annoyance at having to get up and make a little cross. It had never occurred to me to break my word. There was a fascination in watching the record.

The drive was a revelation. It was like coming out of a charnel house into the fresh air. A keen cold wind beat against our faces, almost blinding us.

It was not until we reached the inn that we remembered that we had come out without any heroin. Lamus was immediately all sympathy when he heard of our plight. He offered to go out and get some immediately; but Lala protested that she was dying of hunger, and she was sure that lunch would restore our strength just as well, and King Lamus could go out immediately we were finished eating.

We agreed. We could hardly do anything else. As a matter of fact, the fresh air had excited in us both a very keen appetite. The meal did us a lot of good, and at its conclusion our host slipped out unostentatiously and returned in ten minutes with a little packet of powder.

It struck me as very extraordinary that he should have been able to procure it at so remote a place without a prescription. But Lou's eyes were fixed on him with an expression of delighted curiosity. I felt as though somehow or other she had divined the secret.

She seemed intensely amused at my perplexity, and stroked my hair in her most patronising manner.

“You poor brainless creature,” she seemed to be saying with her finger-tips.

Well, we all had heroin with our second cup of coffee, and my spirits rose immediately.

Lamus produced two little note books which he had bought in the village, so that we might record our doses while we were out and copy them on our charts when we got back.

We drove back to London, and had tea on the way in a cottage where the people seemed to know our friends very well. It was kept by a little old man and his wife who had the air of being family retainers. The cottage stood well away from the road in grounds of its own. Two mighty yew trees stood one on either side of the gate. Lala told us that the place belonged to the Order of which King Lamus was the head, and that he occasionally sent people down here for certain parts of his training which could only be carried out in solitude and silence.

A great longing came upon me to experience the subtle peace which indwelt this simple habitation. For some reason or other I felt a natural disinclination to take the dose of heroin which was offered to me. It seemed out of keeping with the spirit of the surroundings. I took it and enjoyed it; but the act was mechanical, and the effect in some obscure fashion unsatisfactory.

We drove back to town, and had dinner in my new apartment, where they had an excellent restaurant service.

I found that during the day I had had fifteen sniffs of heroin. Lou had only had eleven. The reaction in my mind was this: If she can get on with eleven, why shouldn’t I? though I hadn’t sufficient logic to carry on the argument to the people, millions of them, who hadn’t had any at all, and seemed to be thriving!

We were both pretty tired. Just as Lamus and Lala rose to leave I took a final sniff.

"What did you do that for?" he said, "if you don’t mind my asking.”

"Well, I think it was to go to sleep!"

"But this morning you told me you took it to wake up,” he retorted.

That was true, and it annoyed me; especially as Lou, instead of being sympathetic, gave one of her absurd little laughs. She actually seemed to take a perverse pleasure in seeing me caught out in a stupidity.

But Lamus took the matter very seriously.

"Well,” he said, "it certainly is extraordinary stuff if it does two precisely opposite things at the will of the taker.”

He spoke sarcastically. He refrained from telling me what he told me long afterwards, that the apparently contradictory properties that I was ascribing to it were really there, that it can be used by the expert to produce a number of effects, some of which seem at first sight mutually exclusive.

“Well, look here, Sir Peter,” went on Lamus. “You can’t have it both ways. You really ought to make up your mind as to the purpose of taking a dose.”

I replied rather piteously that we had found out long ago that we couldn’t sleep without it. Mabel Black had told us that.

"And the result of that delusion,” returned Lamus "is that she’s dead. I think your experience has been influenced by her foolish remark. You have told me yourself that the delightful result, in the first instance, was to keep you lying awake all night in a state of suspended animation, with a most fascinating flow of fancies filling your brain.”

I had to admit the truth of what he said.

"Heroin,” he explained, “is a modification of morphine, and morphine is the most active of the principles of opium. Now surely you remember what Wilkie Collins says in The Moonstone about opium and its preparations, that they have a stimulating effect followed by a sedative effect. Heroin is much more positive in its action than opium; and the reasonable thing to do, as it seems to me, would be to go ahead with it pretty hard in the morning and keep yourself going by that means, but to leave it entirely alone for some hours before you go to bed, so that the sedative effect may send you nicely to sleep at the proper time. I know the objection to that. The abuse of the drug has left you full of nervous irritability. The reason why you want heroin at night is to deaden yourself to that. When you take it in the morning after a night’s rest, you are giving it to a more or less healthy person refreshed by sleep; it is able to stimulate you because your sleep has given you some reserves of force on which it can work. When you take it at night, you are administering it to a sick person, which is a very different thing. However, what you should do is to replace it at night by these tablets, with a nice warm drink of whisky or rum and water, and you will find yourself asleep before you know it. Then in the morning, you awake much fresher than usual, and the heroin will have something more to catch hold of. The result of this will be that you will find quite a small quantity do you as much good as a big one did last week, and more.”

Well, all that seemed pretty sensible to me. We took his advice. We did not go to sleep at once. I felt my thoughts too varied. They wandered from one thing to another without reasonable sequence. There seemed to be gaps of unconsciousness between two sets of thoughts; but eventually the irritation subsided, and I knew no more till the morning.

We woke very late, completely exhausted. But as Lamus had prophesied, the heroin took hold immediately; the first two doses made us lively, and with the third we were out of bed and having a bath for the first time in—I’m ashamed to say how long.

Lou fell into a rage at the condition of our underwear, and of our outer clothes, too, for the matter of that. It was all soiled and dirty and stained. We must literally have stunk. And with the realisation of this came an acute feeling of disgrace that we should have been going about with Lamus and Lala in such a condition. If they had said anything about it to us, we might have worked up an artificial indignation about it. But that they should have said nothing was absolutely damnable.

We could not tolerate the idea of ourselves. And yet, only forty-eight hours before, nothing mattered at all.

Lou, in a state of almost insane excitement, was calling up Barley Grange on long distance. The housekeeper was to send up something to wear that morning. While she shouted the order, I suddenly recollected that Lamus and Lala were coming in after lunch; the clothes couldn’t possibly reach us till after three o’clock. The best thing to do was to have some dressing-gowns sent up from Piccadilly.

They sent people round with a selection at once, and what with that and sending out for some toilet things, and having in the hairdresser, we made ourselves fairly presentable by half-past one.

That morning gave me the impression of a vaudeville turn or a farce. We had to dodge about from one room to another according as male or female angels ministered unto us.

The excitement kept our minds off heroin very successfully; but it obtruded itself constantly on our notice none the less by insistent physical attacks. Of course, we warded them off at once by taking suitable doses. I cannot say that there was any real diminution. For one thing, taking the stuff by the nose, you can’t tell exactly how much you are getting, and a good deal of what you take is wasted.

But the whole atmosphere had changed. We had been taking it till now in a steady, regular manner. It had become a continuous performance. But this morning each patch of craving and each dose were definite incidents. The homogeneity of the vice had been broken up into sections. The dull monotony of the drug had developed dramatic qualities. We were reminded of our early experiences with it. We had, to a certain extent, recovered what addicts call "drug virginity.” That alone was sufficient to fill us with a keen sense of exhilaration. We had regained the possibility of hope.

On the other hand, we were brought very sharply up against ourselves by the efforts of the hairdresser and the haberdasher. The smart new dressing-gowns contrasted so strikingly with the deadly illness of our appearance!

However, we could see the daylight afar off, and we sat down to lunch with a certain pleasure. Our appetites had not returned, of course, and we ate very little of the light and exquisite food we had ordered. But at least the idea of food did not disgust us, as had been too long the case.

Lamus came in in time to join us at coffee. It was easy to see that he was pleased at the result so far obtained. Lala was not with him. Instead, he had brought Maisie Jacobs.

I found myself wondering acutely whether there was any serious reason for the change. I had got to the state where I suspected the man’s slightest action of having some occult significance, especially as he gave no explanation. Decidedly his manners were not calculated to reassure the unwary. It was easy to understand why his name had become the focus for a host of ridiculous inventions.

After all, it is not pleasant to feel oneself in the presence of an intelligence capable of out-manoeuvring one’s own at every point without even taking the trouble to do so. The way he took everything for granted was in itself annoying.

He strolled over to the charts, and stood studying them for a long time while he puffed at a cigar. Even the cigar was offensive. It was the kind that millionaires have specially made for themselves. Lamus smoked no other kind; and yet he was a comparatively poor man.

Of course, the explanation was perfectly simple. He really understood and really appreciated good tobacco, and preferred to indulge in cigars disproportionately.

It was the man’s own business what he smoked; and yet he had managed to get himself an absolutely bad name in London on that one trait alone. People felt that it was monstrous for him to dine on a mutton chop and a piece of Stilton, and then pull out a cigar that cost half as much again as his dinner.

He studied our charts as if they had been maps and he was trying to work out his overland route from Bokhara to Khatmandu!

Ultimately he said, "There seems a very long gap here—fifteen hours—9 to 12, that’s right, isn’t it?"

He turned to Maisie for confirmation. He was, so he said, quite unable to trust himself to calculate.

Maisie entered into the spirit of the absurdity and counted it solemnly out on her fingers.

The tone of his voice had been mournful, as if his plans had been seriously disconcerted. That was another trick of his that put people off. It was Lou’s sparkling eyes that told me what he meant.

And then I was brought up with a tremendous shock to realise what it meant to me. I went to the chart myself with excited curiosity, quite as if I had never seen it before.

It did not need a mathematician to put the situation into English. The crosses for the last thirty-six hours were crowded into a few spaces, leaving large empty gaps. In other words, the indulgence had become irregular. I stared at the chart as if it had been a ghost.

Lamus turned his head and looked down at me over his shoulder with a queer grin. Then he uttered the extraordinary word: "Kriegspiel.”

I was completely taken aback. What in the name of thunder was the man talking about? And then it slowly dawned upon me that there was an analogy between the chart and the distribution of the troops in the war. It was obvious as soon as the idea struck one.

As long as the armies were evenly distributed along the line, it was a matter of trench warfare. Great victories and defeats were impossible in the nature of things. But once the troops were massed at points of vantage, aggregated in huge mobile units, it became possible to destroy them on the large scale.

When a British square is broken, the annihilation of its defenders does not come from any diminution in the fighting power of the individual soldiers; its military value is not sensibly diminished by the loss of the few men at the point of attack. It has become worthless because their regular arrangement has been thrown into disorder.

"At the Battle of Waterloo/' said King Lamus, turning from the wall and going back to his coffee, "Napoleon sent forward the Old Guard. A few minutes later he cried, "They are mixed/ and drove in despair from the field. He did not have to wait to see them destroyed."

Lou’s breath was coming in great gasps. She had understood the essence of our friend’s tactics.

We looked abominably ill; we were actually suffering at the moment from the craving, and embarrassed by the presence of Maisie Jacobs. We did not want to take it in front of her. And yet we knew that we had won the victory. It might be a matter of weeks or months; we didn’t even care. We were content to have mastered the principle of the thing. It would be easy to attack those clusters of crosses, and eliminate them little by little.

King Lamus asked Maisie to sing. Luckily there was a baby grand in the room. He sat down and began to accompany her. I found myself enthralled by watching the man's mind work. It taught me something constantly.

This last act, for example. We couldn’t go out as we were, and the singing would be an alternative distraction. At the same time, he wanted Maisie’s back turned so that we could take our heroin.

We wanted it very badly indeed; and yet—so strange is nature!—we were just as ashamed to take it secretly as a moment before we had been to take it openly.

The thought hit me between the eyes.

It has already been mentioned that Lou and I both had the impulse to conceal the act from each other even while we were taking it openly together. We wanted to pretend that we were taking less than we were. The use of drugs develops every morbid kink in the mind.

Meanwhile, Maisie was singing in her rich contralto voice an English translation of one of Verlaine’s most exquisite lyrics: "With muted strings.”

"Calm in the twilight of the lofty boughs
Pierce we our love with silence as we drowse;

Melt we our souls, hearts, senses in this shrine,
Vague languor of arbutus and of pine!"

"Half-close your eyes, your arms upon your breast;
Banish for ever every interest!

The cradling breeze shall woo us, soft and sweet,
Ruffling the waves of velvet at your feet.”

"When solemn night of swart oaks shall prevail
Voice our despair, musical nightingale!"


The exquisite images, so subtle and yet so concrete, filled my mind with memories of all my boyhood’s dreams. They reminded me of the possibilities of love and peace. All this was familiar to me, familiar in the most intense and alluring form. That was what nature had to offer; this pure and ecstatic rapture was the birthright of mankind. But I, instead of being content with it as it was, had sought an artificial Paradise and bartered the reality of heaven for it. In nature, even melancholy is subtly enthralling. I thought of Keats’ ode to her, and even of James Thomson’s "Melancholia that transcends all wit,” whom he adored, and on whose altar lay his bleeding heart. Well might Verlaine say:—"Voice our despair, musical nightingale!"

But in our chemical substitute for natural stimulus, our despair could be sung by no nightingale. Could even the carrion buzzard give any idea of the hoarse and horrible discord of our disenchantment? The shreds of our souls were torn by filthy fish-hooks, and their shrieks were outside the gamut of merely human anguish.

Was it still possible to return? Had we forfeited for ever our inheritance "for a mess of beastlier pottage than ever Esau guzzled?"

Lamus had been watching us intently while Maisie sang. Lou’s eyes were full of tears. They ran down her thin, worn face. She made no effort to wipe them away. I do not know whether she felt them. Heroin dulls all physical sensation, leaving only the dull intolerable craving, the acrid irritation, to break in upon the formless stupor which represents the height of well-being.

But I had no inclination to weep; mine was the bitter black remorse of Judas. I had sold my master, my True Will, for thirty pieces of poisonous copper, smeared with the slime of quicksilver. And all I had bought was a field of blood in which I might hang myself and—all my bowels gushed out.

King Lamus rose from the piano with a heavy sigh.

"Forgive me for nagging,” he said slowly, "but you spoilt your enjoyment of the song by being ashamed to put yourself in the proper condition to do so by taking the heroin that you need. How often must I tell you that there is nothing to be ashamed of, and everything to be proud of? You know yourself that you are running a greater risk than you ever did when you flew over the Boche lines. I don’t want you to swank about it, of course; but you certainly don’t want to act like a schoolboy puffing his first cigarette behind a hedge. For God’s sake, man, can’t you see that half the danger of this business lies in the secrecy and duplicity which go with it?

"Suppose we made all the fuss about eating that we do about drinking and loving, can’t you see what evils. would immediately arise? Remember the food restrictions during the war.”

"By Jove, I never thought of that,” I said, as a hundred half-forgotten incidents bounced into my mind. There were all sorts of stratagems for dodging the regulations, on the part of people who in the ordinary way were plain straightforward law-abiding citizens.

"Of course, we must have restrictions about love and drink and drugs. It is quite obvious how frightfully people would abuse their liberty if they had it.”

"I'm sorry to have to disagree,” said Lamus. "And as you know, I've got into endless trouble of one sort or another for holding the views I do. But I’m afraid I do honestly think that most of the troubles spring directly from the unnatural conditions set up by the attempts to regulate the business. And in any case, the state of mind brought about by them is so harmful indirectly to the sense of moral responsibility that I am really not sure whether it would not be wiser in the long run to do away with the Blue laws and the Lizzie laws altogether. Legislative interference with the habits of the people produces the sneak, the spy, the fanatic, and the artful dodger. Take finance! Swindling has become a fine art, and is practised on a gigantic scale in ways which would have been impossible when there were no laws intended to protect the public.”

It was a very strange view to take. I could hardly believe that Lamus was serious; and yet it did seem to me that the modern criminal millionaire was actually assisted by the complexity of the Company laws. It is impossible for the plain man to understand them, so that an unscrupulous man armed with expert knowledge is much more likely to get the better of his unwary fellows than in the old days when his activities were confined to thimble-rigging and pulling favourites.

”Oh, Basil,” put in Maisie, "do tell our friends what you were saying the other day about the South Sea Islands.”

Lamus laughed merrily.

"Good for you, kid, very much to the point!

"I’ve wandered a good deal through queer parts of the world, as you know, and in some of those places there are still taboos about eating and hunting and fishing—all sorts of things which we in England take quite simply, in consequence of which they give no trouble.

"But where a man has to think of a thousand things before he has his dinner: what he eats, and how it was killed, and who cooked it, and so on for ever and ever, he gets no chance to develop his mind in more important ways. Taboo is responsible for the low mental and moral development of the peoples whom it afflicts, more than anything else. An appetite should be satisfied in the simplest and easiest way. Once you begin to worry about the right and wrong of it, you disturb the mind unnaturally, and begin to think awry in all sorts of ways that have apparently nothing to do with it.

"Think of the Queen of Spain who was being dragged by her horse, and lost her life because of the absence of the official appointed by etiquette to assist her to dismount!"

We all laughed; the girls frankly, but I with an ill-defined, uncomfortable feeling that Lamus was getting on to dangerous ground.

"What is modern fiction?" he asked, "from Hardy and Dostoevski to the purveyors of garbage to servant girls, but an account of the complications set up by the exaggerated importance attached by themselves or their neighbours to the sexual appetites of two or more bimanous monkeys.

"Most sexual troubles and offences so-called would do very little harm if nobody attached any importance to what was or was not going on.”

Of course, there is an answer to this type of argument; but I don't know what it is. I felt very uneasy. He was laying his axe to the root of the tree of civilisation. That was evident.

Lou must have caught my thought. She quoted sarcastically:—

"O woodman, spare that tree,
Touch not a single bough,
In youth it sheltered me
And Ill protect it n-yow!"


Since the war, women are taking a very peculiar attitude. I didn’t like the tone of the conversation. I instinctively looked to Maisie Jacobs for support.

The Jewish tradition, which is, after all, the foundation of the so-called Christian point of view, could surely be trusted. But Maisie merely retorted with some verses from Heine which showed that she was entirely on the enemy’s side.

Lamus noticed my annoyance, and hastily changed the conversation.

"I’m afraid the only thing you can do,” he said to me, “is to chain yourself to Buckingham Palace and then go on hunger-strike, until they give you permission to vote more early and often than ever, after which you won’t care to go to the polls at all. That’s another example of the same old story. However little we want a thing, we howl if we discover that we can’t get it; and the moment we’ve got it the whole business drops out of sight.

"You’ll find it’s the same with your drugs. You’ve practically hypnotised yourself into thinking you can’t do without them. It’s not a real need, as you know. It’s a false and perverse appetite; and as soon as you get out of the way of thinking that it’s vitally important, you’ll begin to forget how much you depend on it.”

Well, of course, I could see the sense of that; and I was glad to see how gay and light-hearted Lou had become under the influence of the idea.

Maisie called Lamus away to the piano to sing another song.

"I love you because you're as crazy as I,
Because all the shadows and lights of the sky
Of existence are centred in you;
The cross-jagged lightning, the roar of typhoon
Are as good as the slumber of time as we swoon
With the sun half asleep in the blue.

You’re a dream, you’re a mystery, empress and slave,
You're like life, the inscrutable beat of its wave,
You are always the all-unexpected!
When you’ve promised yourself, then you push me away;  
When you scorn me, you suddenly kindle and slay;
You hate truth as the lies She rejected!

I love you because you are gallant and proud,
(Your soul is a sun and your body a cloud)
And you leap from my arms when I woo you;
Because you love earth and its worms, you caress
The stars and the seas, and you mock my distress
While the sorrows of others thrill through you!

I love you because my life’s lost in your being;
You burn for me all the night long, and on seeing
Me, jest at your tears—and allot mine!
Because you elude me, a wave of the lake,
Because you are danger and poison, my snake,
Because you are mine, and are not mine!"


Just as she had finished, Elsie arrived from Barley Grange with our trunks. Maisie and Lamus said they would leave us to unpack, and went off.

She and Lala dropped in from time to time in the course of the next five days to take us motoring, or to dinner, or the theatre, or to parties.

I thought they made rather a point of keeping off the subject which was the real reason of their visits.
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