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´╗┐Title: Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
Author: De Quincey, Thomas, 1785-1859
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1886 George Routledge and Sons edition--first
edition (London Magazine) text, by David Price, email


_From the "London Magazine" for September_ 1821.


I here present you, courteous reader, with the record of a remarkable
period in my life: according to my application of it, I trust that it
will prove not merely an interesting record, but in a considerable degree
useful and instructive.  In _that_ hope it is that I have drawn it up;
and _that_ must be my apology for breaking through that delicate and
honourable reserve which, for the most part, restrains us from the public
exposure of our own errors and infirmities.  Nothing, indeed, is more
revolting to English feelings than the spectacle of a human being
obtruding on our notice his moral ulcers or scars, and tearing away that
"decent drapery" which time or indulgence to human frailty may have drawn
over them; accordingly, the greater part of _our_ confessions (that is,
spontaneous and extra-judicial confessions) proceed from demireps,
adventurers, or swindlers: and for any such acts of gratuitous
self-humiliation from those who can be supposed in sympathy with the
decent and self-respecting part of society, we must look to French
literature, or to that part of the German which is tainted with the
spurious and defective sensibility of the French.  All this I feel so
forcibly, and so nervously am I alive to reproach of this tendency, that
I have for many months hesitated about the propriety of allowing this or
any part of my narrative to come before the public eye until after my
death (when, for many reasons, the whole will be published); and it is
not without an anxious review of the reasons for and against this step
that I have at last concluded on taking it.

Guilt and misery shrink, by a natural instinct, from public notice: they
court privacy and solitude: and even in their choice of a grave will
sometimes sequester themselves from the general population of the
churchyard, as if declining to claim fellowship with the great family of
man, and wishing (in the affecting language of Mr. Wordsworth)

      Humbly to express
   A penitential loneliness.

It is well, upon the whole, and for the interest of us all, that it
should be so: nor would I willingly in my own person manifest a disregard
of such salutary feelings, nor in act or word do anything to weaken them;
but, on the one hand, as my self-accusation does not amount to a
confession of guilt, so, on the other, it is possible that, if it _did_,
the benefit resulting to others from the record of an experience
purchased at so heavy a price might compensate, by a vast overbalance,
for any violence done to the feelings I have noticed, and justify a
breach of the general rule.  Infirmity and misery do not of necessity
imply guilt.  They approach or recede from shades of that dark alliance,
in proportion to the probable motives and prospects of the offender, and
the palliations, known or secret, of the offence; in proportion as the
temptations to it were potent from the first, and the resistance to it,
in act or in effort, was earnest to the last.  For my own part, without
breach of truth or modesty, I may affirm that my life has been, on the
whole, the life of a philosopher: from my birth I was made an
intellectual creature, and intellectual in the highest sense my pursuits
and pleasures have been, even from my schoolboy days.  If opium-eating be
a sensual pleasure, and if I am bound to confess that I have indulged in
it to an excess not yet _recorded_ {1} of any other man, it is no less
true that I have struggled against this fascinating enthralment with a
religious zeal, and have at length accomplished what I never yet heard
attributed to any other man--have untwisted, almost to its final links,
the accursed chain which fettered me.  Such a self-conquest may
reasonably be set off in counterbalance to any kind or degree of self-
indulgence.  Not to insist that in my case the self-conquest was
unquestionable, the self-indulgence open to doubts of casuistry,
according as that name shall be extended to acts aiming at the bare
relief of pain, or shall be restricted to such as aim at the excitement
of positive pleasure.

Guilt, therefore, I do not acknowledge; and if I did, it is possible that
I might still resolve on the present act of confession in consideration
of the service which I may thereby render to the whole class of opium-
eaters.  But who are they?  Reader, I am sorry to say a very numerous
class indeed.  Of this I became convinced some years ago by computing at
that time the number of those in one small class of English society (the
class of men distinguished for talents, or of eminent station) who were
known to me, directly or indirectly, as opium-eaters; such, for instance,
as the eloquent and benevolent ---, the late Dean of ---, Lord ---, Mr.
--- the philosopher, a late Under-Secretary of State (who described to me
the sensation which first drove him to the use of opium in the very same
words as the Dean of ---, viz., "that he felt as though rats were gnawing
and abrading the coats of his stomach"), Mr. ---, and many others hardly
less known, whom it would be tedious to mention.  Now, if one class,
comparatively so limited, could furnish so many scores of cases (and
_that_ within the knowledge of one single inquirer), it was a natural
inference that the entire population of England would furnish a
proportionable number.  The soundness of this inference, however, I
doubted, until some facts became known to me which satisfied me that it
was not incorrect.  I will mention two.  (1) Three respectable London
druggists, in widely remote quarters of London, from whom I happened
lately to be purchasing small quantities of opium, assured me that the
number of _amateur_ opium-eaters (as I may term them) was at this time
immense; and that the difficulty of distinguishing those persons to whom
habit had rendered opium necessary from such as were purchasing it with a
view to suicide, occasioned them daily trouble and disputes.  This
evidence respected London only.  But (2)--which will possibly surprise
the reader more--some years ago, on passing through Manchester, I was
informed by several cotton manufacturers that their workpeople were
rapidly getting into the practice of opium-eating; so much so, that on a
Saturday afternoon the counters of the druggists were strewed with pills
of one, two, or three grains, in preparation for the known demand of the
evening.  The immediate occasion of this practice was the lowness of
wages, which at that time would not allow them to indulge in ale or
spirits, and wages rising, it may be thought that this practice would
cease; but as I do not readily believe that any man having once tasted
the divine luxuries of opium will afterwards descend to the gross and
mortal enjoyments of alcohol, I take it for granted

   That those eat now who never ate before;
   And those who always ate, now eat the more.

Indeed, the fascinating powers of opium are admitted even by medical
writers, who are its greatest enemies.  Thus, for instance, Awsiter,
apothecary to Greenwich Hospital, in his "Essay on the Effects of Opium"
(published in the year 1763), when attempting to explain why Mead had not
been sufficiently explicit on the properties, counteragents, &c., of this
drug, expresses himself in the following mysterious terms ([Greek text]):
"Perhaps he thought the subject of too delicate a nature to be made
common; and as many people might then indiscriminately use it, it would
take from that necessary fear and caution which should prevent their
experiencing the extensive power of this drug, _for there are many
properties in it, if universally known, that would habituate the use, and
make it more in request with us than with Turks themselves_; the result
of which knowledge," he adds, "must prove a general misfortune."  In the
necessity of this conclusion I do not altogether concur; but upon that
point I shall have occasion to speak at the close of my Confessions,
where I shall present the reader with the _moral_ of my narrative.


These preliminary confessions, or introductory narrative of the youthful
adventures which laid the foundation of the writer's habit of
opium-eating in after-life, it has been judged proper to premise, for
three several reasons:

1.  As forestalling that question, and giving it a satisfactory answer,
which else would painfully obtrude itself in the course of the Opium
Confessions--"How came any reasonable being to subject himself to such a
yoke of misery; voluntarily to incur a captivity so servile, and
knowingly to fetter himself with such a sevenfold chain?"--a question
which, if not somewhere plausibly resolved, could hardly fail, by the
indignation which it would be apt to raise as against an act of wanton
folly, to interfere with that degree of sympathy which is necessary in
any case to an author's purposes.

2.  As furnishing a key to some parts of that tremendous scenery which
afterwards peopled the dreams of the Opium-eater.

3.  As creating some previous interest of a personal sort in the
confessing subject, apart from the matter of the confessions, which
cannot fail to render the confessions themselves more interesting.  If a
man "whose talk is of oxen" should become an opium-eater, the probability
is that (if he is not too dull to dream at all) he will dream about oxen;
whereas, in the case before him, the reader will find that the
Opium-eater boasteth himself to be a philosopher; and accordingly, that
the phantasmagoria of _his_ dreams (waking or sleeping, day-dreams or
night-dreams) is suitable to one who in that character

   Humani nihil a se alienum putat.

For amongst the conditions which he deems indispensable to the sustaining
of any claim to the title of philosopher is not merely the possession of
a superb intellect in its _analytic_ functions (in which part of the
pretensions, however, England can for some generations show but few
claimants; at least, he is not aware of any known candidate for this
honour who can be styled emphatically _a subtle thinker_, with the
exception of _Samuel Taylor Coleridge_, and in a narrower department of
thought with the recent illustrious exception {2} of _David Ricardo_) but
also on such a constitution of the _moral_ faculties as shall give him an
inner eye and power of intuition for the vision and the mysteries of our
human nature: _that_ constitution of faculties, in short, which (amongst
all the generations of men that from the beginning of time have deployed
into life, as it were, upon this planet) our English poets have possessed
in the highest degree, and Scottish professors {3} in the lowest.

I have often been asked how I first came to be a regular opium-eater, and
have suffered, very unjustly, in the opinion of my acquaintance from
being reputed to have brought upon myself all the sufferings which I
shall have to record, by a long course of indulgence in this practice
purely for the sake of creating an artificial state of pleasurable
excitement.  This, however, is a misrepresentation of my case.  True it
is that for nearly ten years I did occasionally take opium for the sake
of the exquisite pleasure it gave me; but so long as I took it with this
view I was effectually protected from all material bad consequences by
the necessity of interposing long intervals between the several acts of
indulgence, in order to renew the pleasurable sensations.  It was not for
the purpose of creating pleasure, but of mitigating pain in the severest
degree, that I first began to use opium as an article of daily diet.  In
the twenty-eighth year of my age a most painful affection of the stomach,
which I had first experienced about ten years before, attacked me in
great strength.  This affection had originally been caused by extremities
of hunger, suffered in my boyish days.  During the season of hope and
redundant happiness which succeeded (that is, from eighteen to twenty-
four) it had slumbered; for the three following years it had revived at
intervals; and now, under unfavourable circumstances, from depression of
spirits, it attacked me with a violence that yielded to no remedies but
opium.  As the youthful sufferings which first produced this derangement
of the stomach were interesting in themselves, and in the circumstances
that attended them, I shall here briefly retrace them.

My father died when I was about seven years old, and left me to the care
of four guardians.  I was sent to various schools, great and small; and
was very early distinguished for my classical attainments, especially for
my knowledge of Greek.  At thirteen I wrote Greek with ease; and at
fifteen my command of that language was so great that I not only composed
Greek verses in lyric metres, but could converse in Greek fluently and
without embarrassment--an accomplishment which I have not since met with
in any scholar of my times, and which in my case was owing to the
practice of daily reading off the newspapers into the best Greek I could
furnish _extempore_; for the necessity of ransacking my memory and
invention for all sorts and combinations of periphrastic expressions as
equivalents for modern ideas, images, relations of things, &c., gave me a
compass of diction which would never have been called out by a dull
translation of moral essays, &c.  "That boy," said one of my masters,
pointing the attention of a stranger to me, "that boy could harangue an
Athenian mob better than you and I could address an English one."  He who
honoured me with this eulogy was a scholar, "and a ripe and a good one,"
and of all my tutors was the only one whom I loved or reverenced.
Unfortunately for me (and, as I afterwards learned, to this worthy man's
great indignation), I was transferred to the care, first of a blockhead,
who was in a perpetual panic lest I should expose his ignorance; and
finally to that of a respectable scholar at the head of a great school on
an ancient foundation.  This man had been appointed to his situation by
--- College, Oxford, and was a sound, well-built scholar, but (like most
men whom I have known from that college) coarse, clumsy, and inelegant.  A
miserable contrast he presented, in my eyes, to the Etonian brilliancy of
my favourite master; and beside, he could not disguise from my hourly
notice the poverty and meagreness of his understanding.  It is a bad
thing for a boy to be and to know himself far beyond his tutors, whether
in knowledge or in power of mind.  This was the case, so far as regarded
knowledge at least, not with myself only, for the two boys, who jointly
with myself composed the first form, were better Grecians than the head-
master, though not more elegant scholars, nor at all more accustomed to
sacrifice to the Graces.  When I first entered I remember that we read
Sophocles; and it was a constant matter of triumph to us, the learned
triumvirate of the first form, to see our "Archididascalus" (as he loved
to be called) conning our lessons before we went up, and laying a regular
train, with lexicon and grammar, for blowing up and blasting (as it were)
any difficulties he found in the choruses; whilst _we_ never condescended
to open our books until the moment of going up, and were generally
employed in writing epigrams upon his wig or some such important matter.
My two class-fellows were poor, and dependent for their future prospects
at the university on the recommendation of the head-master; but I, who
had a small patrimonial property, the income of which was sufficient to
support me at college, wished to be sent thither immediately.  I made
earnest representations on the subject to my guardians, but all to no
purpose.  One, who was more reasonable and had more knowledge of the
world than the rest, lived at a distance; two of the other three resigned
all their authority into the hands of the fourth; and this fourth, with
whom I had to negotiate, was a worthy man in his way, but haughty,
obstinate, and intolerant of all opposition to his will.  After a certain
number of letters and personal interviews, I found that I had nothing to
hope for, not even a compromise of the matter, from my guardian.
Unconditional submission was what he demanded, and I prepared myself,
therefore, for other measures.  Summer was now coming on with hasty
steps, and my seventeenth birthday was fast approaching, after which day
I had sworn within myself that I would no longer be numbered amongst
schoolboys.  Money being what I chiefly wanted, I wrote to a woman of
high rank, who, though young herself, had known me from a child, and had
latterly treated me with great distinction, requesting that she would
"lend" me five guineas.  For upwards of a week no answer came, and I was
beginning to despond, when at length a servant put into my hands a double
letter with a coronet on the seal.  The letter was kind and obliging.  The
fair writer was on the sea-coast, and in that way the delay had arisen;
she enclosed double of what I had asked, and good-naturedly hinted that
if I should _never_ repay her, it would not absolutely ruin her.  Now,
then, I was prepared for my scheme.  Ten guineas, added to about two
which I had remaining from my pocket-money, seemed to me sufficient for
an indefinite length of time; and at that happy age, if no _definite_
boundary can be assigned to one's power, the spirit of hope and pleasure
makes it virtually infinite.

It is a just remark of Dr. Johnson's (and, what cannot often be said of
his remarks, it is a very feeling one), that we never do anything
consciously for the last time (of things, that is, which we have long
been in the habit of doing) without sadness of heart.  This truth I felt
deeply when I came to leave ---, a place which I did not love, and where
I had not been happy.  On the evening before I left --- for ever, I
grieved when the ancient and lofty schoolroom resounded with the evening
service, performed for the last time in my hearing; and at night, when
the muster-roll of names was called over, and mine (as usual) was called
first, I stepped forward, and passing the head-master, who was standing
by, I bowed to him, and looked earnestly in his face, thinking to myself,
"He is old and infirm, and in this world I shall not see him again."  I
was right; I never _did_ see him again, nor ever shall.  He looked at me
complacently, smiled good-naturedly, returned my salutation (or rather my
valediction), and we parted (though he knew it not) for ever.  I could
not reverence him intellectually, but he had been uniformly kind to me,
and had allowed me many indulgences; and I grieved at the thought of the
mortification I should inflict upon him.

The morning came which was to launch me into the world, and from which my
whole succeeding life has in many important points taken its colouring.  I
lodged in the head-master's house, and had been allowed from my first
entrance the indulgence of a private room, which I used both as a
sleeping-room and as a study.  At half after three I rose, and gazed with
deep emotion at the ancient towers of ---, "drest in earliest light," and
beginning to crimson with the radiant lustre of a cloudless July morning.
I was firm and immovable in my purpose; but yet agitated by anticipation
of uncertain danger and troubles; and if I could have foreseen the
hurricane and perfect hail-storm of affliction which soon fell upon me,
well might I have been agitated.  To this agitation the deep peace of the
morning presented an affecting contrast, and in some degree a medicine.
The silence was more profound than that of midnight; and to me the
silence of a summer morning is more touching than all other silence,
because, the light being broad and strong as that of noonday at other
seasons of the year, it seems to differ from perfect day chiefly because
man is not yet abroad; and thus the peace of nature and of the innocent
creatures of God seems to be secure and deep only so long as the presence
of man and his restless and unquiet spirit are not there to trouble its
sanctity.  I dressed myself, took my hat and gloves, and lingered a
little in the room.  For the last year and a half this room had been my
"pensive citadel": here I had read and studied through all the hours of
night, and though true it was that for the latter part of this time I,
who was framed for love and gentle affections, had lost my gaiety and
happiness during the strife and fever of contention with my guardian,
yet, on the other hand, as a boy so passionately fond of books, and
dedicated to intellectual pursuits, I could not fail to have enjoyed many
happy hours in the midst of general dejection.  I wept as I looked round
on the chair, hearth, writing-table, and other familiar objects, knowing
too certainly that I looked upon them for the last time.  Whilst I write
this it is eighteen years ago, and yet at this moment I see distinctly,
as if it were yesterday, the lineaments and expression of the object on
which I fixed my parting gaze.  It was a picture of the lovely ---, which
hung over the mantelpiece, the eyes and mouth of which were so beautiful,
and the whole countenance so radiant with benignity and divine
tranquillity, that I had a thousand times laid down my pen or my book to
gather consolation from it, as a devotee from his patron saint.  Whilst I
was yet gazing upon it the deep tones of --- clock proclaimed that it was
four o'clock.  I went up to the picture, kissed it, and then gently
walked out and closed the door for ever!

* * * * *

So blended and intertwisted in this life are occasions of laughter and of
tears, that I cannot yet recall without smiling an incident which
occurred at that time, and which had nearly put a stop to the immediate
execution of my plan.  I had a trunk of immense weight, for, besides my
clothes, it contained nearly all my library.  The difficulty was to get
this removed to a carrier's: my room was at an aerial elevation in the
house, and (what was worse) the staircase which communicated with this
angle of the building was accessible only by a gallery, which passed the
head-master's chamber door.  I was a favourite with all the servants, and
knowing that any of them would screen me and act confidentially, I
communicated my embarrassment to a groom of the head-master's.  The groom
swore he would do anything I wished, and when the time arrived went
upstairs to bring the trunk down.  This I feared was beyond the strength
of any one man; however, the groom was a man

   Of Atlantean shoulders, fit to bear
   The weight of mightiest monarchies;

and had a back as spacious as Salisbury Plain.  Accordingly he persisted
in bringing down the trunk alone, whilst I stood waiting at the foot of
the last flight in anxiety for the event.  For some time I heard him
descending with slow and firm steps; but unfortunately, from his
trepidation, as he drew near the dangerous quarter, within a few steps of
the gallery, his foot slipped, and the mighty burden falling from his
shoulders, gained such increase of impetus at each step of the descent,
that on reaching the bottom it trundled, or rather leaped, right across,
with the noise of twenty devils, against the very bedroom door of the
Archididascalus.  My first thought was that all was lost, and that my
only chance for executing a retreat was to sacrifice my baggage.  However,
on reflection I determined to abide the issue.  The groom was in the
utmost alarm, both on his own account and on mine, but, in spite of this,
so irresistibly had the sense of the ludicrous in this unhappy
_contretemps_ taken possession of his fancy, that he sang out a long,
loud, and canorous peal of laughter, that might have wakened the Seven
Sleepers.  At the sound of this resonant merriment, within the very ears
of insulted authority, I could not myself forbear joining in it; subdued
to this, not so much by the unhappy _etourderie_ of the trunk, as by the
effect it had upon the groom.  We both expected, as a matter of course,
that Dr. --- would sally, out of his room, for in general, if but a mouse
stirred, he sprang out like a mastiff from his kennel.  Strange to say,
however, on this occasion, when the noise of laughter had ceased, no
sound, or rustling even, was to be heard in the bedroom.  Dr. --- had a
painful complaint, which, sometimes keeping him awake, made his sleep
perhaps, when it did come, the deeper.  Gathering courage from the
silence, the groom hoisted his burden again, and accomplished the
remainder of his descent without accident.  I waited until I saw the
trunk placed on a wheelbarrow and on its road to the carrier's; then,
"with Providence my guide," I set off on foot, carrying a small parcel
with some articles of dress under my arm; a favourite English poet in one
pocket, and a small 12mo volume, containing about nine plays of
Euripides, in the other.

It had been my intention originally to proceed to Westmoreland, both from
the love I bore to that country and on other personal accounts.  Accident,
however, gave a different direction to my wanderings, and I bent my steps
towards North Wales.

After wandering about for some time in Denbighshire, Merionethshire, and
Carnarvonshire, I took lodgings in a small neat house in B---.  Here I
might have stayed with great comfort for many weeks, for provisions were
cheap at B---, from the scarcity of other markets for the surplus produce
of a wide agricultural district.  An accident, however, in which perhaps
no offence was designed, drove me out to wander again.  I know not
whether my reader may have remarked, but I have often remarked, that the
proudest class of people in England (or at any rate the class whose pride
is most apparent) are the families of bishops.  Noblemen and their
children carry about with them, in their very titles, a sufficient
notification of their rank.  Nay, their very names (and this applies also
to the children of many untitled houses) are often, to the English ear,
adequate exponents of high birth or descent.  Sackville, Manners,
Fitzroy, Paulet, Cavendish, and scores of others, tell their own tale.
Such persons, therefore, find everywhere a due sense of their claims
already established, except among those who are ignorant of the world by
virtue of their own obscurity: "Not to know _them_, argues one's self
unknown."  Their manners take a suitable tone and colouring, and for once
they find it necessary to impress a sense of their consequence upon
others, they meet with a thousand occasions for moderating and tempering
this sense by acts of courteous condescension.  With the families of
bishops it is otherwise: with them, it is all uphill work to make known
their pretensions; for the proportion of the episcopal bench taken from
noble families is not at any time very large, and the succession to these
dignities is so rapid that the public ear seldom has time to become
familiar with them, unless where they are connected with some literary
reputation.  Hence it is that the children of bishops carry about with
them an austere and repulsive air, indicative of claims not generally
acknowledged, a sort of _noli me tangere_ manner, nervously apprehensive
of too familiar approach, and shrinking with the sensitiveness of a gouty
man from all contact with the [Greek text].  Doubtless, a powerful
understanding, or unusual goodness of nature, will preserve a man from
such weakness, but in general the truth of my representation will be
acknowledged; pride, if not of deeper root in such families, appears at
least more upon the surface of their manners.  This spirit of manners
naturally communicates itself to their domestics and other dependants.
Now, my landlady had been a lady's maid or a nurse in the family of the
Bishop of ---, and had but lately married away and "settled" (as such
people express it) for life.  In a little town like B---, merely to have
lived in the bishop's family conferred some distinction; and my good
landlady had rather more than her share of the pride I have noticed on
that score.  What "my lord" said and what "my lord" did, how useful he
was in Parliament and how indispensable at Oxford, formed the daily
burden of her talk.  All this I bore very well, for I was too
good-natured to laugh in anybody's face, and I could make an ample
allowance for the garrulity of an old servant.  Of necessity, however, I
must have appeared in her eyes very inadequately impressed with the
bishop's importance, and, perhaps to punish me for my indifference, or
possibly by accident, she one day repeated to me a conversation in which
I was indirectly a party concerned.  She had been to the palace to pay
her respects to the family, and, dinner being over, was summoned into the
dining-room.  In giving an account of her household economy she happened
to mention that she had let her apartments.  Thereupon the good bishop
(it seemed) had taken occasion to caution her as to her selection of
inmates, "for," said he, "you must recollect, Betty, that this place is
in the high road to the Head; so that multitudes of Irish swindlers
running away from their debts into England, and of English swindlers
running away from their debts to the Isle of Man, are likely to take this
place in their route."  This advice certainly was not without reasonable
grounds, but rather fitted to be stored up for Mrs. Betty's private
meditations than specially reported to me.  What followed, however, was
somewhat worse.  "Oh, my lord," answered my landlady (according to her
own representation of the matter), "I really don't think this young
gentleman is a swindler, because ---"  "You don't _think_ me a swindler?"
said I, interrupting her, in a tumult of indignation: "for the future I
shall spare you the trouble of thinking about it."  And without delay I
prepared for my departure.  Some concessions the good woman seemed
disposed to make; but a harsh and contemptuous expression, which I fear
that I applied to the learned dignitary himself, roused her indignation
in turn, and reconciliation then became impossible.  I was indeed greatly
irritated at the bishop's having suggested any grounds of suspicion,
however remotely, against a person whom he had never seen; and I thought
of letting him know my mind in Greek, which, at the same time that it
would furnish some presumption that I was no swindler, would also (I
hoped) compel the bishop to reply in the same language; in which case I
doubted not to make it appear that if I was not so rich as his lordship,
I was a far better Grecian.  Calmer thoughts, however, drove this boyish
design out of my mind; for I considered that the bishop was in the right
to counsel an old servant; that he could not have designed that his
advice should be reported to me; and that the same coarseness of mind
which had led Mrs. Betty to repeat the advice at all, might have coloured
it in a way more agreeable to her own style of thinking than to the
actual expressions of the worthy bishop.

I left the lodgings the very same hour, and this turned out a very
unfortunate occurrence for me, because, living henceforward at inns, I
was drained of my money very rapidly.  In a fortnight I was reduced to
short allowance; that is, I could allow myself only one meal a day.  From
the keen appetite produced by constant exercise and mountain air, acting
on a youthful stomach, I soon began to suffer greatly on this slender
regimen, for the single meal which I could venture to order was coffee or
tea.  Even this, however, was at length withdrawn; and afterwards, so
long as I remained in Wales, I subsisted either on blackberries, hips,
haws, &c., or on the casual hospitalities which I now and then received
in return for such little services as I had an opportunity of rendering.
Sometimes I wrote letters of business for cottagers who happened to have
relatives in Liverpool or in London; more often I wrote love-letters to
their sweethearts for young women who had lived as servants at Shrewsbury
or other towns on the English border.  On all such occasions I gave great
satisfaction to my humble friends, and was generally treated with
hospitality; and once in particular, near the village of Llan-y-styndw
(or some such name), in a sequestered part of Merionethshire, I was
entertained for upwards of three days by a family of young people with an
affectionate and fraternal kindness that left an impression upon my heart
not yet impaired.  The family consisted at that time of four sisters and
three brothers, all grown up, and all remarkable for elegance and
delicacy of manners.  So much beauty, and so much native good breeding
and refinement, I do not remember to have seen before or since in any
cottage, except once or twice in Westmoreland and Devonshire.  They spoke
English, an accomplishment not often met with in so many members of one
family, especially in villages remote from the high road.  Here I wrote,
on my first introduction, a letter about prize-money, for one of the
brothers, who had served on board an English man-of-war; and, more
privately, two love-letters for two of the sisters.  They were both
interesting-looking girls, and one of uncommon loveliness.  In the midst
of their confusion and blushes, whilst dictating, or rather giving me
general instructions, it did not require any great penetration to
discover that what they wished was that their letters should be as kind
as was consistent with proper maidenly pride.  I contrived so to temper
my expressions as to reconcile the gratification of both feelings; and
they were as much pleased with the way in which I had expressed their
thoughts as (in their simplicity) they were astonished at my having so
readily discovered them.  The reception one meets with from the women of
a family generally determines the tenor of one's whole entertainment.  In
this case I had discharged my confidential duties as secretary so much to
the general satisfaction, perhaps also amusing them with my conversation,
that I was pressed to stay with a cordiality which I had little
inclination to resist.  I slept with the brothers, the only unoccupied
bed standing in the apartment of the young women; but in all other points
they treated me with a respect not usually paid to purses as light as
mine--as if my scholarship were sufficient evidence that I was of "gentle
blood."  Thus I lived with them for three days and great part of a
fourth; and, from the undiminished kindness which they continued to show
me, I believe I might have stayed with them up to this time, if their
power had corresponded with their wishes.  On the last morning, however,
I perceived upon their countenances, as they sate at breakfast, the
expression of some unpleasant communication which was at hand; and soon
after, one of the brothers explained to me that their parents had gone,
the day before my arrival, to an annual meeting of Methodists, held at
Carnarvon, and were that day expected to return; "and if they should not
be so civil as they ought to be," he begged, on the part of all the young
people, that I would not take it amiss.  The parents returned with
churlish faces, and "_Dym Sassenach_" (_no English_) in answer to all my
addresses.  I saw how matters stood; and so, taking an affectionate leave
of my kind and interesting young hosts, I went my way; for, though they
spoke warmly to their parents in my behalf, and often excused the manner
of the old people by saying it was "only their way," yet I easily
understood that my talent for writing love-letters would do as little to
recommend me with two grave sexagenarian Welsh Methodists as my Greek
sapphics or alcaics; and what had been hospitality when offered to me
with the gracious courtesy of my young friends, would become charity when
connected with the harsh demeanour of these old people.  Certainly, Mr.
Shelley is right in his notions about old age: unless powerfully
counteracted by all sorts of opposite agencies, it is a miserable
corrupter and blighter to the genial charities of the human heart.

Soon after this I contrived, by means which I must omit for want of room,
to transfer myself to London.  And now began the latter and fiercer stage
of my long sufferings; without using a disproportionate expression I
might say, of my agony.  For I now suffered, for upwards of sixteen
weeks, the physical anguish of hunger in.  I various degrees of
intensity, but as bitter perhaps as ever any human being can have
suffered who has survived it would not needlessly harass my reader's
feelings by a detail of all that I endured; for extremities such as
these, under any circumstances of heaviest misconduct or guilt, cannot be
contemplated, even in description, without a rueful pity that is painful
to the natural goodness of the human heart.  Let it suffice, at least on
this occasion, to say that a few fragments of bread from the breakfast-
table of one individual (who supposed me to be ill, but did not know of
my being in utter want), and these at uncertain intervals, constituted my
whole support.  During the former part of my sufferings (that is,
generally in Wales, and always for the first two months in London) I was
houseless, and very seldom slept under a roof.   To this constant
exposure to the open air I ascribe it mainly that I did not sink under my
torments.  Latterly, however, when colder and more inclement weather came
on, and when, from the length of my sufferings, I had begun to sink into
a more languishing condition, it was no doubt fortunate for me that the
same person to whose breakfast-table I had access, allowed me to sleep in
a large unoccupied house of which he was tenant.  Unoccupied I call it,
for there was no household or establishment in it; nor any furniture,
indeed, except a table and a few chairs.  But I found, on taking
possession of my new quarters, that the house already contained one
single inmate, a poor friendless child, apparently ten years old; but she
seemed hunger-bitten, and sufferings of that sort often make children
look older than they are.  From this forlorn child I learned that she had
slept and lived there alone for some time before I came; and great joy
the poor creature expressed when she found that I was in future to be her
companion through the hours of darkness.  The house was large, and, from
the want of furniture, the noise of the rats made a prodigious echoing on
the spacious staircase and hall; and amidst the real fleshly ills of cold
and, I fear, hunger, the forsaken child had found leisure to suffer still
more (it appeared) from the self-created one of ghosts.  I promised her
protection against all ghosts whatsoever, but alas! I could offer her no
other assistance.  We lay upon the floor, with a bundle of cursed law
papers for a pillow, but with no other covering than a sort of large
horseman's cloak; afterwards, however, we discovered in a garret an old
sofa-cover, a small piece of rug, and some fragments of other articles,
which added a little to our warmth.  The poor child crept close to me for
warmth, and for security against her ghostly enemies.  When I was not
more than usually ill I took her into my arms, so that in general she was
tolerably warm, and often slept when I could not, for during the last two
months of my sufferings I slept much in daytime, and was apt to fall into
transient dosings at all hours.  But my sleep distressed me more than my
watching, for beside the tumultuousness of my dreams (which were only not
so awful as those which I shall have to describe hereafter as produced by
opium), my sleep was never more than what is called _dog-sleep_; so that
I could hear myself moaning, and was often, as it seemed to me, awakened
suddenly by my own voice; and about this time a hideous sensation began
to haunt me as soon as I fell into a slumber, which has since returned
upon me at different periods of my life--viz., a sort of twitching (I
know not where, but apparently about the region of the stomach) which
compelled me violently to throw out my feet for the sake of relieving it.
This sensation coming on as soon as I began to sleep, and the effort to
relieve it constantly awaking me, at length I slept only from exhaustion;
and from increasing weakness (as I said before) I was constantly falling
asleep and constantly awaking.  Meantime, the master of the house
sometimes came in upon us suddenly, and very early; sometimes not till
ten o'clock, sometimes not at all.  He was in constant fear of bailiffs.
Improving on the plan of Cromwell, every night he slept in a different
quarter of London; and I observed that he never failed to examine through
a private window the appearance of those who knocked at the door before
he would allow it to be opened.  He breaksfasted alone; indeed, his tea
equipage would hardly have admitted of his hazarding an invitation to a
second person, any more than the quantity of esculent _materiel_, which
for the most part was little more than a roll or a few biscuits which he
had bought on his road from the place where he had slept.  Or, if he
_had_ asked a party--as I once learnedly and facetiously observed to
him--the several members of it must have _stood_ in the relation to each
other (not _sate_ in any relation whatever) of succession, as the
metaphysicians have it, and not of a coexistence; in the relation of the
parts of time, and not of the parts of space.  During his breakfast I
generally contrived a reason for lounging in, and, with an air of as much
indifference as I could assume, took up such fragments as he had left;
sometimes, indeed, there were none at all.  In doing this I committed no
robbery except upon the man himself, who was thus obliged (I believe) now
and then to send out at noon for an extra biscuit; for as to the poor
child, _she_ was never admitted into his study (if I may give that name
to his chief depository of parchments, law writings, &c.); that room was
to her the Bluebeard room of the house, being regularly locked on his
departure to dinner, about six o'clock, which usually was his final
departure for the night.  Whether this child were an illegitimate
daughter of Mr. ---, or only a servant, I could not ascertain; she did
not herself know; but certainly she was treated altogether as a menial
servant.  No sooner did Mr. --- make his appearance than she went below
stairs, brushed his shoes, coat, &c.; and, except when she was summoned
to run an errand, she never emerged from the dismal Tartarus of the
kitchen, &c., to the upper air until my welcome knock at night called up
her little trembling footsteps to the front door.  Of her life during the
daytime, however, I knew little but what I gathered from her own account
at night, for as soon as the hours of business commenced I saw that my
absence would be acceptable, and in general, therefore, I went off and
sate in the parks or elsewhere until nightfall.

But who and what, meantime, was the master of the house himself?  Reader,
he was one of those anomalous practitioners in lower departments of the
law who--what shall I say?--who on prudential reasons, or from necessity,
deny themselves all indulgence in the luxury of too delicate a
conscience, (a periphrasis which might be abridged considerably, but
_that_ I leave to the reader's taste): in many walks of life a conscience
is a more expensive encumbrance than a wife or a carriage; and just as
people talk of "laying down" their carriages, so I suppose my friend Mr.
--- had "laid down" his conscience for a time, meaning, doubtless, to
resume it as soon as he could afford it.  The inner economy of such a
man's daily life would present a most strange picture, if I could allow
myself to amuse the reader at his expense.  Even with my limited
opportunities for observing what went on, I saw many scenes of London
intrigues and complex chicanery, "cycle and epicycle, orb in orb," at
which I sometimes smile to this day, and at which I smiled then, in spite
of my misery.  My situation, however, at that time gave me little
experience in my own person of any qualities in Mr. ---'s character but
such as did him honour; and of his whole strange composition I must
forget everything but that towards me he was obliging, and to the extent
of his power, generous.

That power was not, indeed, very extensive; however, in common with the
rats, I sate rent free; and as Dr. Johnson has recorded that he never but
once in his life had as much wall-fruit as he could eat, so let me be
grateful that on that single occasion I had as large a choice of
apartments in a London mansion as I could possibly desire.  Except the
Bluebeard room, which the poor child believed to be haunted, all others,
from the attics to the cellars, were at our service; "the world was all
before us," and we pitched our tent for the night in any spot we chose.
This house I have already described as a large one; it stands in a
conspicuous situation and in a well-known part of London.  Many of my
readers will have passed it, I doubt not, within a few hours of reading
this.  For myself, I never fail to visit it when business draws me to
London; about ten o'clock this very night, August 15, 1821--being my
birthday--I turned aside from my evening walk down Oxford Street,
purposely to take a glance at it; it is now occupied by a respectable
family, and by the lights in the front drawing-room I observed a domestic
party assembled, perhaps at tea, and apparently cheerful and gay.
Marvellous contrast, in my eyes, to the darkness, cold, silence, and
desolation of that same house eighteen years ago, when its nightly
occupants were one famishing scholar and a neglected child.  Her, by-the-
bye, in after-years I vainly endeavoured to trace.  Apart from her
situation, she was not what would be called an interesting child; she was
neither pretty, nor quick in understanding, nor remarkably pleasing in
manners.  But, thank God! even in those years I needed not the
embellishments of novel accessories to conciliate my affections: plain
human nature, in its humblest and most homely apparel, was enough for me,
and I loved the child because she was my partner in wretchedness.  If she
is now living she is probably a mother, with children of her own; but, as
I have said, I could never trace her.

This I regret; but another person there was at that time whom I have
since sought to trace with far deeper earnestness, and with far deeper
sorrow at my failure.  This person was a young woman, and one of that
unhappy class who subsist upon the wages of prostitution.  I feel no
shame, nor have any reason to feel it, in avowing that I was then on
familiar and friendly terms with many women in that unfortunate
condition.  The reader needs neither smile at this avowal nor frown; for,
not to remind my classical readers of the old Latin proverb, "_Sine
cerere_," &c., it may well be supposed that in the existing state of my
purse my connection with such women could not have been an impure one.
But the truth is, that at no time of my life have I been a person to hold
myself polluted by the touch or approach of any creature that wore a
human shape; on the contrary, from my very earliest youth it has been my
pride to converse familiarly, _more Socratio_, with all human beings,
man, woman, and child, that chance might fling in my way; a practice
which is friendly to the knowledge of human nature, to good feelings, and
to that frankness of address which becomes a man who would be thought a
philosopher.  For a philosopher should not see with the eyes of the poor
limitary creature calling himself a man of the world, and filled with
narrow and self-regarding prejudices of birth and education, but should
look upon himself as a catholic creature, and as standing in equal
relation to high and low, to educated and uneducated, to the guilty and
the innocent.  Being myself at that time of necessity a peripatetic, or a
walker of the streets, I naturally fell in more frequently with those
female peripatetics who are technically called street-walkers.  Many of
these women had occasionally taken my part against watchmen who wished to
drive me off the steps of houses where I was sitting.  But one amongst
them, the one on whose account I have at all introduced this subject--yet
no! let me not class the, oh! noble-minded Ann--with that order of women.
Let me find, if it be possible, some gentler name to designate the
condition of her to whose bounty and compassion, ministering to my
necessities when all the world had forsaken me, I owe it that I am at
this time alive.  For many weeks I had walked at nights with this poor
friendless girl up and down Oxford Street, or had rested with her on
steps and under the shelter of porticoes.  She could not be so old as
myself; she told me, indeed, that she had not completed her sixteenth
year.  By such questions as my interest about her prompted I had
gradually drawn forth her simple history.  Hers was a case of ordinary
occurrence (as I have since had reason to think), and one in which, if
London beneficence had better adapted its arrangements to meet it, the
power of the law might oftener be interposed to protect and to avenge.
But the stream of London charity flows in a channel which, though deep
and mighty, is yet noiseless and underground; not obvious or readily
accessible to poor houseless wanderers; and it cannot be denied that the
outside air and framework of London society is harsh, cruel, and
repulsive.  In any case, however, I saw that part of her injuries might
easily have been redressed, and I urged her often and earnestly to lay
her complaint before a magistrate.  Friendless as she was, I assured her
that she would meet with immediate attention, and that English justice,
which was no respecter of persons, would speedily and amply avenge her on
the brutal ruffian who had plundered her little property.  She promised
me often that she would, but she delayed taking the steps I pointed out
from time to time, for she was timid and dejected to a degree which
showed how deeply sorrow had taken hold of her young heart; and perhaps
she thought justly that the most upright judge and the most righteous
tribunals could do nothing to repair her heaviest wrongs.  Something,
however, would perhaps have been done, for it had been settled between us
at length, but unhappily on the very last time but one that I was ever to
see her, that in a day or two we should go together before a magistrate,
and that I should speak on her behalf.  This little service it was
destined, however, that I should never realise.  Meantime, that which she
rendered to me, and which was greater than I could ever have repaid her,
was this:--One night, when we were pacing slowly along Oxford Street, and
after a day when I had felt more than usually ill and faint, I requested
her to turn off with me into Soho Square.  Thither we went, and we sat
down on the steps of a house, which to this hour I never pass without a
pang of grief and an inner act of homage to the spirit of that unhappy
girl, in memory of the noble action which she there performed.  Suddenly,
as we sate, I grew much worse.  I had been leaning my head against her
bosom, and all at once I sank from her arms and fell backwards on the
steps.  From the sensations I then had, I felt an inner conviction of the
liveliest kind, that without some powerful and reviving stimulus I should
either have died on the spot, or should at least have sunk to a point of
exhaustion from which all reascent under my friendless circumstances
would soon have become hopeless.  Then it was, at this crisis of my fate,
that my poor orphan companion, who had herself met with little but
injuries in this world, stretched out a saving hand to me.  Uttering a
cry of terror, but without a moment's delay, she ran off into Oxford
Street, and in less time than could be imagined returned to me with a
glass of port wine and spices, that acted upon my empty stomach, which at
that time would have rejected all solid food, with an instantaneous power
of restoration; and for this glass the generous girl without a murmur
paid out of her humble purse at a time--be it remembered!--when she had
scarcely wherewithal to purchase the bare necessaries of life, and when
she could have no reason to expect that I should ever be able to
reimburse her.

Oh, youthful benefactress! how often in succeeding years, standing in
solitary places, and thinking of thee with grief of heart and perfect
love--how often have I wished that, as in ancient times, the curse of a
father was believed to have a supernatural power, and to pursue its
object with a fatal necessity of self-fulfilment; even so the benediction
of a heart oppressed with gratitude might have a like prerogative, might
have power given to it from above to chase, to haunt, to waylay, to
overtake, to pursue thee into the central darkness of a London brothel,
or (if it were possible) into the darkness of the grave, there to awaken
thee with an authentic message of peace and forgiveness, and of final

I do not often weep: for not only do my thoughts on subjects connected
with the chief interests of man daily, nay hourly, descend a thousand
fathoms "too deep for tears;" not only does the sternness of my habits of
thought present an antagonism to the feelings which prompt tears--wanting
of necessity to those who, being protected usually by their levity from
any tendency to meditative sorrow, would by that same levity be made
incapable of resisting it on any casual access of such feelings; but
also, I believe that all minds which have contemplated such objects as
deeply as I have done, must, for their own protection from utter
despondency, have early encouraged and cherished some tranquillising
belief as to the future balances and the hieroglyphic meanings of human
sufferings.  On these accounts I am cheerful to this hour, and, as I have
said, I do not often weep.  Yet some feelings, though not deeper or more
passionate, are more tender than others; and often, when I walk at this
time in Oxford Street by dreamy lamplight, and hear those airs played on
a barrel-organ which years ago solaced me and my dear companion (as I
must always call her), I shed tears, and muse with myself at the
mysterious dispensation which so suddenly and so critically separated us
for ever.  How it happened the reader will understand from what remains
of this introductory narration.

Soon after the period of the last incident I have recorded I met in
Albemarle Street a gentleman of his late Majesty's household.  This
gentleman had received hospitalities on different occasions from my
family, and he challenged me upon the strength of my family likeness.  I
did not attempt any disguise; I answered his questions ingenuously, and,
on his pledging his word of honour that he would not betray me to my
guardians, I gave him an address to my friend the attorney's.  The next
day I received from him a 10 pound bank-note.  The letter enclosing it
was delivered with other letters of business to the attorney, but though
his look and manner informed me that he suspected its contents, he gave
it up to me honourably and without demur.

This present, from the particular service to which it was applied, leads
me naturally to speak of the purpose which had allured me up to London,
and which I had been (to use a forensic word) soliciting from the first
day of my arrival in London to that of my final departure.

In so mighty a world as London it will surprise my readers that I should
not have found some means of starving off the last extremities, of
penury; and it will strike them that two resources at least must have
been open to me--viz., either to seek assistance from the friends of my
family, or to turn my youthful talents and attainments into some channel
of pecuniary emolument.  As to the first course, I may observe generally,
that what I dreaded beyond all other evils was the chance of being
reclaimed by my guardians; not doubting that whatever power the law gave
them would have been enforced against me to the utmost--that is, to the
extremity of forcibly restoring me to the school which I had quitted, a
restoration which, as it would in my eyes have been a dishonour, even if
submitted to voluntarily, could not fail, when extorted from me in
contempt and defiance of my own wishes and efforts, to have been a
humiliation worse to me than death, and which would indeed have
terminated in death.  I was therefore shy enough of applying for
assistance even in those quarters where I was sure of receiving it, at
the risk of furnishing my guardians with any clue of recovering me.  But
as to London in particular, though doubtless my father had in his
lifetime had many friends there, yet (as ten years had passed since his
death) I remembered few of them even by name; and never having seen
London before, except once for a few hours, I knew not the address of
even those few.  To this mode of gaining help, therefore, in part the
difficulty, but much more the paramount fear which I have mentioned,
habitually indisposed me.  In regard to the other mode, I now feel half
inclined to join my reader in wondering that I should have overlooked it.
As a corrector of Greek proofs (if in no other way) I might doubtless
have gained enough for my slender wants.  Such an office as this I could
have discharged with an exemplary and punctual accuracy that would soon
have gained me the confidence of my employers.  But it must not be
forgotten that, even for such an office as this, it was necessary that I
should first of all have an introduction to some respectable publisher,
and this I had no means of obtaining.  To say the truth, however, it had
never once occurred to me to think of literary labours as a source of
profit.  No mode sufficiently speedy of obtaining money had ever occurred
to me but that of borrowing it on the strength of my future claims and
expectations.  This mode I sought by every avenue to compass; and amongst
other persons I applied to a Jew named D--- {4}

To this Jew, and to other advertising money-lenders (some of whom were, I
believe, also Jews), I had introduced myself with an account of my
expectations; which account, on examining my father's will at Doctors'
Commons, they had ascertained to be correct.  The person there mentioned
as the second son of --- was found to have all the claims (or more than
all) that I had stated; but one question still remained, which the faces
of the Jews pretty significantly suggested--was _I_ that person?  This
doubt had never occurred to me as a possible one; I had rather feared,
whenever my Jewish friends scrutinised me keenly, that I might be too
well known to be that person, and that some scheme might be passing in
their minds for entrapping me and selling me to my guardians.  It was
strange to me to find my own self _materialiter_ considered (so I
expressed it, for I doated on logical accuracy of distinctions), accused,
or at least suspected, of counterfeiting my own self _formaliter_
considered.  However, to satisfy their scruples, I took the only course
in my power.  Whilst I was in Wales I had received various letters from
young friends these I produced, for I carried them constantly in my
pocket, being, indeed, by this time almost the only relics of my personal
encumbrances (excepting the clothes I wore) which I had not in one way or
other disposed of.  Most of these letters were from the Earl of ---, who
was at that time my chief (or rather only) confidential friend.  These
letters were dated from Eton.  I had also some from the Marquis of ---,
his father, who, though absorbed in agricultural pursuits, yet having
been an Etonian himself, and as good a scholar as a nobleman needs to be,
still retained an affection for classical studies and for youthful
scholars.  He had accordingly, from the time that I was fifteen,
corresponded with me; sometimes upon the great improvements which he had
made or was meditating in the counties of M--- and Sl--- since I had been
there, sometimes upon the merits of a Latin poet, and at other times
suggesting subjects to me on which he wished me to write verses.

On reading the letters, one of my Jewish friends agreed to furnish me
with two or three hundred pounds on my personal security, provided I
could persuade the young Earl --- who was, by the way, not older than
myself--to guarantee the payment on our coming of age; the Jew's final
object being, as I now suppose, not the trifling profit he could expect
to make by me, but the prospect of establishing a connection with my
noble friend, whose immense expectations were well known to him.  In
pursuance of this proposal on the part of the Jew, about eight or nine
days after I had received the 10 pounds, I prepared to go down to Eton.
Nearly 3 pounds of the money I had given to my money-lending friend, on
his alleging that the stamps must be bought, in order that the writings
might be preparing whilst I was away from London.  I thought in my heart
that he was lying; but I did not wish to give him any excuse for charging
his own delays upon me.  A smaller sum I had given to my friend the
attorney (who was connected with the money-lenders as their lawyer), to
which, indeed, he was entitled for his unfurnished lodgings.  About
fifteen shillings I had employed in re-establishing (though in a very
humble way) my dress.  Of the remainder I gave one quarter to Ann,
meaning on my return to have divided with her whatever might remain.
These arrangements made, soon after six o'clock on a dark winter evening
I set off, accompanied by Ann, towards Piccadilly; for it was my
intention to go down as far as Salthill on the Bath or Bristol mail.  Our
course lay through a part of the town which has now all disappeared, so
that I can no longer retrace its ancient boundaries--Swallow Street, I
think it was called.  Having time enough before us, however, we bore away
to the left until we came into Golden Square; there, near the corner of
Sherrard Street, we sat down, not wishing to part in the tumult and blaze
of Piccadilly.  I had told her of my plans some time before, and I now
assured her again that she should share in my good fortune, if I met with
any, and that I would never forsake her as soon as I had power to protect
her.  This I fully intended, as much from inclination as from a sense of
duty; for setting aside gratitude, which in any case must have made me
her debtor for life, I loved her as affectionately as if she had been my
sister; and at this moment with sevenfold tenderness, from pity at
witnessing her extreme dejection.  I had apparently most reason for
dejection, because I was leaving the saviour of my life; yet I,
considering the shock my health had received, was cheerful and full of
hope.  She, on the contrary, who was parting with one who had had little
means of serving her, except by kindness and brotherly treatment, was
overcome by sorrow; so that, when I kissed her at our final farewell, she
put her arms about my neck and wept without speaking a word.  I hoped to
return in a week at farthest, and I agreed with her that on the fifth
night from that, and every night afterwards, she would wait for me at six
o'clock near the bottom of Great Titchfield Street, which had been our
customary haven, as it were, of rendezvous, to prevent our missing each
other in the great Mediterranean of Oxford Street.  This and other
measures of precaution I took; one only I forgot.  She had either never
told me, or (as a matter of no great interest) I had forgotten her
surname.  It is a general practice, indeed, with girls of humble rank in
her unhappy condition, not (as novel-reading women of higher pretensions)
to style themselves _Miss Douglas_, _Miss Montague_, &c., but simply by
their Christian names--_Mary_, _Jane_, _Frances_, &c.  Her surname, as
the surest means of tracing her hereafter, I ought now to have inquired;
but the truth is, having no reason to think that our meeting could, in
consequence of a short interruption, be more difficult or uncertain than
it had been for so many weeks, I had scarcely for a moment adverted to it
as necessary, or placed it amongst my memoranda against this parting
interview; and my final anxieties being spent in comforting her with
hopes, and in pressing upon her the necessity of getting some medicines
for a violent cough and hoarseness with which she was troubled, I wholly
forgot it until it was too late to recall her.

It was past eight o'clock when I reached the Gloucester Coffee-house, and
the Bristol mail being on the point of going off, I mounted on the
outside.  The fine fluent motion {5} of this mail soon laid me asleep: it
is somewhat remarkable that the first easy or refreshing sleep which I
had enjoyed for some months, was on the outside of a mail-coach--a bed
which at this day I find rather an uneasy one.  Connected with this sleep
was a little incident which served, as hundreds of others did at that
time, to convince me how easily a man who has never been in any great
distress may pass through life without knowing, in his own person at
least, anything of the possible goodness of the human heart--or, as I
must add with a sigh, of its possible vileness.  So thick a curtain of
_manners_ is drawn over the features and expression of men's _natures_,
that to the ordinary observer the two extremities, and the infinite field
of varieties which lie between them, are all confounded; the vast and
multitudinous compass of their several harmonies reduced to the meagre
outline of differences expressed in the gamut or alphabet of elementary
sounds.  The case was this: for the first four or five miles from London
I annoyed my fellow-passenger on the roof by occasionally falling against
him when the coach gave a lurch to his: side; and indeed, if the road had
been less smooth and level than it is, I should have fallen off from
weakness.  Of this annoyance he complained heavily, as perhaps, in the
same circumstances, most people would; he expressed his complaint,
however, more morosely than the occasion seemed to warrant, and if I had
parted with him at that moment I should have thought of him (if I had
considered it worth while to think of him at all) as a surly and almost
brutal fellow.  However, I was conscious that I had given him some cause
for complaint, and therefore I apologized to him, and assured him I would
do what I could to avoid falling asleep for the future; and at the same
time, in as few words as possible, I explained to him that I was ill and
in a weak state from long suffering, and that I could not afford at that
time to take an inside place.  This man's manner changed, upon hearing
this explanation, in an instant; and when I next woke for a minute from
the noise and lights of Hounslow (for in spite of my wishes and efforts I
had fallen asleep again within two minutes from the time I had spoken to
him) I found that he had put his arm round me to protect me from falling
off, and for the rest of my journey he behaved to me with the gentleness
of a woman, so that at length I almost lay in his arms; and this was the
more kind, as he could not have known that I was not going the whole way
to Bath or Bristol.  Unfortunately, indeed, I _did_ go rather farther
than I intended, for so genial and so refreshing was my sleep, that the
next time after leaving Hounslow that I fully awoke was upon the sudden
pulling up of the mail (possibly at a post-office), and on inquiry I
found that we had reached Maidenhead--six or seven miles, I think, ahead
of Salthill.  Here I alighted, and for the half-minute that the mail
stopped I was entreated by my friendly companion (who, from the transient
glimpse I had had of him in Piccadilly, seemed to me to be a gentleman's
butler, or person of that rank) to go to bed without delay.  This I
promised, though with no intention of doing so; and in fact I immediately
set forward, or rather backward, on foot.  It must then have been nearly
midnight, but so slowly did I creep along that I heard a clock in a
cottage strike four before I turned down the lane from Slough to Eton.
The air and the sleep had both refreshed me; but I was weary
nevertheless.  I remember a thought (obvious enough, and which has been
prettily expressed by a Roman poet) which gave me some consolation at
that moment under my poverty.  There had been some time before a murder
committed on or near Hounslow Heath.  I think I cannot be mistaken when I
say that the name of the murdered person was _Steele_, and that he was
the owner of a lavender plantation in that neighbourhood.  Every step of
my progress was bringing me nearer to the Heath, and it naturally
occurred to me that I and the accused murderer, if he were that night
abroad, might at every instant be unconsciously approaching each other
through the darkness; in which case, said I--supposing I, instead of
being (as indeed I am) little better than an outcast--

   Lord of my learning, and no land beside--

were, like my friend Lord ---, heir by general repute to 70,000 pounds
per annum, what a panic should I be under at this moment about my throat!
Indeed, it was not likely that Lord --- should ever be in my situation.
But nevertheless, the spirit of the remark remains true--that vast power
and possessions make a man shamefully afraid of dying; and I am convinced
that many of the most intrepid adventurers, who, by fortunately being
poor, enjoy the full use of their natural courage, would, if at the very
instant of going into action news were brought to them that they had
unexpectedly succeeded to an estate in England of 50,000 pounds a-year,
feel their dislike to bullets considerably sharpened, {6} and their
efforts at perfect equanimity and self-possession proportionably
difficult.  So true it is, in the language of a wise man whose own
experience had made him acquainted with both fortunes, that riches are
better fitted

   To slacken virtue, and abate her edge,
   Than tempt her to do ought may merit praise.

   _Paradise Regained_.

I dally with my subject because, to myself, the remembrance of these
times is profoundly interesting.  But my reader shall not have any
further cause to complain, for I now hasten to its close.  In the road
between Slough and Eton I fell asleep, and just as the morning began to
dawn I was awakened by the voice of a man standing over me and surveying
me.  I know not what he was: he was an ill-looking fellow, but not
therefore of necessity an ill-meaning fellow; or, if he were, I suppose
he thought that no person sleeping out-of-doors in winter could be worth
robbing.  In which conclusion, however, as it regarded myself, I beg to
assure him, if he should be among my readers, that he was mistaken.  After
a slight remark he passed on; and I was not sorry at his disturbance, as
it enabled me to pass through Eton before people were generally up.  The
night had been heavy and lowering, but towards the morning it had changed
to a slight frost, and the ground and the trees were now covered with
rime.  I slipped through Eton unobserved; washed myself, and as far as
possible adjusted my dress, at a little public-house in Windsor; and
about eight o'clock went down towards Pote's.  On my road I met some
junior boys, of whom I made inquiries.  An Etonian is always a gentleman;
and, in spite of my shabby habiliments, they answered me civilly.  My
friend Lord --- was gone to the University of ---.  "Ibi omnis effusus
labor!"  I had, however, other friends at Eton; but it is not to all that
wear that name in prosperity that a man is willing to present himself in
distress.  On recollecting myself, however, I asked for the Earl of D---,
to whom (though my acquaintance with him was not so intimate as with some
others) I should not have shrunk from presenting myself under any
circumstances.  He was still at Eton, though I believe on the wing for
Cambridge.  I called, was received kindly, and asked to breakfast.

Here let me stop for a moment to check my reader from any erroneous
conclusions.  Because I have had occasion incidentally to speak of
various patrician friends, it must not be supposed that I have myself any
pretension to rank and high blood.  I thank God that I have not.  I am
the son of a plain English merchant, esteemed during his life for his
great integrity, and strongly attached to literary pursuits (indeed, he
was himself, anonymously, an author).  If he had lived it was expected
that he would have been very rich; but dying prematurely, he left no more
than about 30,000 pounds amongst seven different claimants.  My mother I
may mention with honour, as still more highly gifted; for though
unpretending to the name and honours of a _literary_ woman, I shall
presume to call her (what many literary women are not) an _intellectual_
woman; and I believe that if ever her letters should be collected and
published, they would be thought generally to exhibit as much strong and
masculine sense, delivered in as pure "mother English," racy and fresh
with idiomatic graces, as any in our language--hardly excepting those of
Lady M. W. Montague.  These are my honours of descent, I have no other;
and I have thanked God sincerely that I have not, because, in my
judgment, a station which raises a man too eminently above the level of
his fellow-creatures is not the most favourable to moral or to
intellectual qualities.

Lord D--- placed before me a most magnificent breakfast.  It was really
so; but in my eyes it seemed trebly magnificent, from being the first
regular meal, the first "good man's table," that I had sate down to for
months.  Strange to say, however, I could scarce eat anything.  On the
day when I first received my 10 pound bank-note I had gone to a baker's
shop and bought a couple of rolls; this very shop I had two months or six
weeks before surveyed with an eagerness of desire which it was almost
humiliating to me to recollect.  I remembered the story about Otway, and
feared that there might be danger in eating too rapidly.  But I had no
need for alarm; my appetite was quite sunk, and I became sick before I
had eaten half of what I had bought.  This effect from eating what
approached to a meal I continued to feel for weeks; or, when I did not
experience any nausea, part of what I ate was rejected, sometimes with
acidity, sometimes immediately and without any acidity.  On the present
occasion, at Lord D-'s table, I found myself not at all better than
usual, and in the midst of luxuries I had no appetite.  I had, however,
unfortunately, at all times a craving for wine; I explained my situation,
therefore, to Lord D---, and gave him a short account of my late
sufferings, at which he expressed great compassion, and called for wine.
This gave me a momentary relief and pleasure; and on all occasions when I
had an opportunity I never failed to drink wine, which I worshipped then
as I have since worshipped opium.  I am convinced, however, that this
indulgence in wine contributed to strengthen my malady, for the tone of
my stomach was apparently quite sunk, and by a better regimen it might
sooner, and perhaps effectually, have been revived.  I hope that it was
not from this love of wine that I lingered in the neighbourhood of my
Eton friends; I persuaded myself then that it was from reluctance to ask
of Lord D---, on whom I was conscious I had not sufficient claims, the
particular service in quest of which I had come down to Eton.  I was,
however unwilling to lose my journey, and--I asked it.  Lord D---, whose
good nature was unbounded, and which, in regard to myself, had been
measured rather by his compassion perhaps for my condition, and his
knowledge of my intimacy with some of his relatives, than by an
over-rigorous inquiry into the extent of my own direct claims, faltered,
nevertheless, at this request.  He acknowledged that he did not like to
have any dealings with money-lenders, and feared lest such a transaction
might come to the ears of his connexions.  Moreover, he doubted whether
_his_ signature, whose expectations were so much more bounded than those
of ---, would avail with my unchristian friends.  However, he did not
wish, as it seemed, to mortify me by an absolute refusal; for after a
little consideration he promised, under certain conditions which he
pointed out, to give his security.  Lord D--- was at this time not
eighteen years of age; but I have often doubted, on recollecting since
the good sense and prudence which on this occasion he mingled with so
much urbanity of manner (an urbanity which in him wore the grace of
youthful sincerity), whether any statesman--the oldest and the most
accomplished in diplomacy--could have acquitted himself better under the
same circumstances.  Most people, indeed, cannot be addressed on such a
business without surveying you with looks as austere and unpropitious as
those of a Saracen's head.

Recomforted by this promise, which was not quite equal to the best but
far above the worst that I had pictured to myself as possible, I returned
in a Windsor coach to London three days after I had quitted it.  And now
I come to the end of my story.  The Jews did not approve of Lord D---'s
terms; whether they would in the end have acceded to them, and were only
seeking time for making due inquiries, I know not; but many delays were
made, time passed on, the small fragment of my bank-note had just melted
away, and before any conclusion could have been put to the business I
must have relapsed into my former state of wretchedness.  Suddenly,
however, at this crisis, an opening was made, almost by accident, for
reconciliation with my friends; I quitted London in haste for a remote
part of England; after some time I proceeded to the university, and it
was not until many months had passed away that I had it in my power again
to revisit the ground which had become so interesting to me, and to this
day remains so, as the chief scene of my youthful sufferings.

Meantime, what had become of poor Ann?  For her I have reserved my
concluding words.  According to our agreement, I sought her daily, and
waited for her every night, so long as I stayed in London, at the corner
of Titchfield Street.  I inquired for her of every one who was likely to
know her, and during the last hours of my stay in London I put into
activity every means of tracing her that my knowledge of London suggested
and the limited extent of my power made possible.  The street where she
had lodged I knew, but not the house; and I remembered at last some
account which she had given me of ill-treatment from her landlord, which
made it probable that she had quitted those lodgings before we parted.
She had few acquaintances; most people, besides, thought that the
earnestness of my inquiries arose from motives which moved their laughter
or their slight regard; and others, thinking I was in chase of a girl who
had robbed me of some trifles, were naturally and excusably indisposed to
give me any clue to her, if indeed they had any to give.  Finally as my
despairing resource, on the day I left London I put into the hands of the
only person who (I was sure) must know Ann by sight, from having been in
company with us once or twice, an address to ---, in ---shire, at that
time the residence of my family.  But to this hour I have never heard a
syllable about her.  This, amongst such troubles as most men meet with in
this life, has been my heaviest affliction.  If she lived, doubtless we
must have been some time in search of each other, at the very same
moment, through the mighty labyrinths of London; perhaps even within a
few feet of each other--a barrier no wider than a London street often
amounting in the end to a separation for eternity!  During some years I
hoped that she _did_ live; and I suppose that, in the literal and
unrhetorical use of the word _myriad_, I may say that on my different
visits to London I have looked into many, many myriads of female faces,
in the hope of meeting her.  I should know her again amongst a thousand,
if I saw her for a moment; for though not handsome, she had a sweet
expression of countenance and a peculiar and graceful carriage of the
head.  I sought her, I have said, in hope.  So it was for years; but now
I should fear to see her; and her cough, which grieved me when I parted
with her, is now my consolation.  I now wish to see her no longer; but
think of her, more gladly, as one long since laid in the grave--in the
grave, I would hope, of a Magdalen; taken away, before injuries and
cruelty had blotted out and transfigured her ingenuous nature, or the
brutalities of ruffians had completed the ruin they had begun.

[The remainder of this very interesting article will be given in the next


From the London Magazine for October 1821.

So then, Oxford Street, stony-hearted step-mother! thou that listenest to
the sighs of orphans and drinkest the tears of children, at length I was
dismissed from thee; the time was come at last that I no more should pace
in anguish thy never-ending terraces, no more should dream and wake in
captivity to the pangs of hunger.  Successors too many, to myself and
Ann, have doubtless since then trodden in our footsteps, inheritors of
our calamities; other orphans than Ann have sighed; tears have been shed
by other children; and thou, Oxford Street, hast since doubtless echoed
to the groans of innumerable hearts.  For myself, however, the storm
which I had outlived seemed to have been the pledge of a long
fair-weather--the premature sufferings which I had paid down to have been
accepted as a ransom for many years to come, as a price of long immunity
from sorrow; and if again I walked in London a solitary and contemplative
man (as oftentimes I did), I walked for the most part in serenity and
peace of mind.  And although it is true that the calamities of my
noviciate in London had struck root so deeply in my bodily constitution,
that afterwards they shot up and flourished afresh, and grew into a
noxious umbrage that has overshadowed and darkened my latter years, yet
these second assaults of suffering were met with a fortitude more
confirmed, with the resources of a maturer intellect, and with
alleviations from sympathising affection--how deep and tender!

Thus, however, with whatsoever alleviations, years that were far asunder
were bound together by subtle links of suffering derived from a common
root.  And herein I notice an instance of the short-sightedness of human
desires, that oftentimes on moonlight nights, during my first mournful
abode in London, my consolation was (if such it could be thought) to gaze
from Oxford Street up every avenue in succession which pierces through
the heart of Marylebone to the fields and the woods; for _that_, said I,
travelling with my eyes up the long vistas which lay part in light and
part in shade, "_that_ is the road to the North, and therefore to, and if
I had the wings of a dove, _that_ way I would fly for comfort."  Thus I
said, and thus I wished, in my blindness.  Yet even in that very northern
region it was, even in that very valley, nay, in that very house to which
my erroneous wishes pointed, that this second birth of my sufferings
began, and that they again threatened to besiege the citadel of life and
hope.  There it was that for years I was persecuted by visions as ugly,
and as ghastly phantoms as ever haunted the couch of an Orestes; and in
this unhappier than he, that sleep, which comes to all as a respite and a
restoration, and to him especially as a blessed {7} balm for his wounded
heart and his haunted brain, visited me as my bitterest scourge.  Thus
blind was I in my desires; yet if a veil interposes between the
dim-sightedness of man and his future calamities, the same veil hides
from him their alleviations, and a grief which had not been feared is met
by consolations which had not been hoped.  I therefore, who participated,
as it were, in the troubles of Orestes (excepting only in his agitated
conscience), participated no less in all his supports.  My Eumenides,
like his, were at my bed-feet, and stared in upon me through the
curtains; but watching by my pillow, or defrauding herself of sleep to
bear me company through the heavy watches of the night, sate my Electra;
for thou, beloved M., dear companion of my later years, thou wast my
Electra! and neither in nobility of mind nor in long-suffering affection
wouldst permit that a Grecian sister should excel an English wife.  For
thou thoughtest not much to stoop to humble offices of kindness and to
servile {8} ministrations of tenderest affection--to wipe away for years
the unwholesome dews upon the forehead, or to refresh the lips when
parched and baked with fever; nor even when thy own peaceful slumbers had
by long sympathy become infected with the spectacle of my dread contest
with phantoms and shadowy enemies that oftentimes bade me "sleep no
more!"--not even then didst thou utter a complaint or any murmur, nor
withdraw thy angelic smiles, nor shrink from thy service of love, more
than Electra did of old.  For she too, though she was a Grecian woman,
and the daughter of the king {9} of men, yet wept sometimes, and hid her
face {10} in her robe.

But these troubles are past; and thou wilt read records of a period so
dolorous to us both as the legend of some hideous dream that can return
no more.  Meantime, I am again in London, and again I pace the terraces
of Oxford Street by night; and oftentimes, when I am oppressed by
anxieties that demand all my philosophy and the comfort of thy presence
to support, and yet remember that I am separated from thee by three
hundred miles and the length of three dreary months, I look up the
streets that run northwards from Oxford Street, upon moonlight nights,
and recollect my youthful ejaculation of anguish; and remembering that
thou art sitting alone in that same valley, and mistress of that very
house to which my heart turned in its blindness nineteen years ago, I
think that, though blind indeed, and scattered to the winds of late, the
promptings of my heart may yet have had reference to a remoter time, and
may be justified if read in another meaning; and if I could allow myself
to descend again to the impotent wishes of childhood, I should again say
to myself, as I look to the North, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove--"
and with how just a confidence in thy good and gracious nature might I
add the other half of my early ejaculation--"And _that_ way I would fly
for comfort!"


It is so long since I first took opium that if it had been a trifling
incident in my life I might have forgotten its date; but cardinal events
are not to be forgotten, and from circumstances connected with it I
remember that it must be referred to the autumn of 1804.  During that
season I was in London, having come thither for the first time since my
entrance at college.  And my introduction to opium arose in the following
way.  From an early age I had been accustomed to wash my head in cold
water at least once a day: being suddenly seized with toothache, I
attributed it to some relaxation caused by an accidental intermission of
that practice, jumped out of bed, plunged my head into a basin of cold
water, and with hair thus wetted went to sleep.  The next morning, as I
need hardly say, I awoke with excruciating rheumatic pains of the head
and face, from which I had hardly any respite for about twenty days.  On
the twenty-first day I think it was, and on a Sunday, that I went out
into the streets, rather to run away, if possible, from my torments, than
with any distinct purpose.  By accident I met a college acquaintance, who
recommended opium.  Opium! dread agent of unimaginable pleasure and pain!
I had heard of it as I had of manna or of ambrosia, but no further.  How
unmeaning a sound was it at that time: what solemn chords does it now
strike upon my heart! what heart-quaking vibrations of sad and happy
remembrances!  Reverting for a moment to these, I feel a mystic
importance attached to the minutest circumstances connected with the
place and the time and the man (if man he was) that first laid open to me
the Paradise of Opium-eaters.  It was a Sunday afternoon, wet and
cheerless: and a duller spectacle this earth of ours has not to show than
a rainy Sunday in London.  My road homewards lay through Oxford Street;
and near "the stately Pantheon" (as Mr. Wordsworth has obligingly called
it) I saw a druggist's shop.  The druggist--unconscious minister of
celestial pleasures!--as if in sympathy with the rainy Sunday, looked
dull and stupid, just as any mortal druggist might be expected to look on
a Sunday; and when I asked for the tincture of opium, he gave it to me as
any other man might do, and furthermore, out of my shilling returned me
what seemed to be real copper halfpence, taken out of a real wooden
drawer.  Nevertheless, in spite of such indications of humanity, he has
ever since existed in my mind as the beatific vision of an immortal
druggist, sent down to earth on a special mission to myself.  And it
confirms me in this way of considering him, that when I next came up to
London I sought him near the stately Pantheon, and found him not; and
thus to me, who knew not his name (if indeed he had one), he seemed
rather to have vanished from Oxford Street than to have removed in any
bodily fashion.  The reader may choose to think of him as possibly no
more than a sublunary druggist; it may be so, but my faith is better--I
believe him to have evanesced, {11} or evaporated.  So unwillingly would
I connect any mortal remembrances with that hour, and place, and
creature, that first brought me acquainted with the celestial drug.

Arrived at my lodgings, it may be supposed that I lost not a moment in
taking the quantity prescribed.  I was necessarily ignorant of the whole
art and mystery of opium-taking, and what I took I took under every
disadvantage.  But I took it--and in an hour--oh, heavens! what a
revulsion! what an upheaving, from its lowest depths, of inner spirit!
what an apocalypse of the world within me!  That my pains had vanished
was now a trifle in my eyes: this negative effect was swallowed up in the
immensity of those positive effects which had opened before me--in the
abyss of divine enjoyment thus suddenly revealed.  Here was a panacea, a
[Greek text] for all human woes; here was the secret of happiness, about
which philosophers had disputed for so many ages, at once discovered:
happiness might now be bought for a penny, and carried in the waistcoat
pocket; portable ecstacies might be had corked up in a pint bottle, and
peace of mind could be sent down in gallons by the mail-coach.  But if I
talk in this way the reader will think I am laughing, and I can assure
him that nobody will laugh long who deals much with opium: its pleasures
even are of a grave and solemn complexion, and in his happiest state the
opium-eater cannot present himself in the character of _L'Allegro_: even
then he speaks and thinks as becomes _Il Penseroso_.  Nevertheless, I
have a very reprehensible way of jesting at times in the midst of my own
misery; and unless when I am checked by some more powerful feelings, I am
afraid I shall be guilty of this indecent practice even in these annals
of suffering or enjoyment.  The reader must allow a little to my infirm
nature in this respect; and with a few indulgences of that sort I shall
endeavour to be as grave, if not drowsy, as fits a theme like opium, so
anti-mercurial as it really is, and so drowsy as it is falsely reputed.

And first, one word with respect to its bodily effects; for upon all that
has been hitherto written on the subject of opium, whether by travellers
in Turkey (who may plead their privilege of lying as an old immemorial
right), or by professors of medicine, writing _ex cathedra_, I have but
one emphatic criticism to pronounce--Lies! lies! lies!  I remember once,
in passing a book-stall, to have caught these words from a page of some
satiric author: "By this time I became convinced that the London
newspapers spoke truth at least twice a week, viz., on Tuesday and
Saturday, and might safely be depended upon for--the list of bankrupts."
In like manner, I do by no means deny that some truths have been
delivered to the world in regard to opium.  Thus it has been repeatedly
affirmed by the learned that opium is a dusky brown in colour; and this,
take notice, I grant.  Secondly, that it is rather dear, which also I
grant, for in my time East Indian opium has been three guineas a pound,
and Turkey eight.  And thirdly, that if you eat a good deal of it, most
probably you must--do what is particularly disagreeable to any man of
regular habits, viz., die. {12}  These weighty propositions are, all and
singular, true: I cannot gainsay them, and truth ever was, and will be,
commendable.  But in these three theorems I believe we have exhausted the
stock of knowledge as yet accumulated by men on the subject of opium.

And therefore, worthy doctors, as there seems to be room for further
discoveries, stand aside, and allow me to come forward and lecture on
this matter.

First, then, it is not so much affirmed as taken for granted, by all who
ever mention opium, formally or incidentally, that it does or can produce
intoxication.  Now, reader, assure yourself, _meo perieulo_, that no
quantity of opium ever did or could intoxicate.  As to the tincture of
opium (commonly called laudanum) _that_ might certainly intoxicate if a
man could bear to take enough of it; but why?  Because it contains so
much proof spirit, and not because it contains so much opium.  But crude
opium, I affirm peremptorily, is incapable of producing any state of body
at all resembling that which is produced by alcohol, and not in _degree_
only incapable, but even in _kind_: it is not in the quantity of its
effects merely, but in the quality, that it differs altogether.  The
pleasure given by wine is always mounting and tending to a crisis, after
which it declines; that from opium, when once generated, is stationary
for eight or ten hours: the first, to borrow a technical distinction from
medicine, is a case of acute--the second, the chronic pleasure; the one
is a flame, the other a steady and equable glow.  But the main
distinction lies in this, that whereas wine disorders the mental
faculties, opium, on the contrary (if taken in a proper manner),
introduces amongst them the most exquisite order, legislation, and
harmony.  Wine robs a man of his self-possession; opium greatly
invigorates it.  Wine unsettles and clouds the judgement, and gives a
preternatural brightness and a vivid exaltation to the contempts and the
admirations, the loves and the hatreds of the drinker; opium, on the
contrary, communicates serenity and equipoise to all the faculties,
active or passive, and with respect to the temper and moral feelings in
general it gives simply that sort of vital warmth which is approved by
the judgment, and which would probably always accompany a bodily
constitution of primeval or antediluvian health.  Thus, for instance,
opium, like wine, gives an expansion to the heart and the benevolent
affections; but then, with this remarkable difference, that in the sudden
development of kind-heartedness which accompanies inebriation there is
always more or less of a maudlin character, which exposes it to the
contempt of the bystander.  Men shake hands, swear eternal friendship,
and shed tears, no mortal knows why; and the sensual creature is clearly
uppermost.  But the expansion of the benigner feelings incident to opium
is no febrile access, but a healthy restoration to that state which the
mind would naturally recover upon the removal of any deep-seated
irritation of pain that had disturbed and quarrelled with the impulses of
a heart originally just and good.  True it is that even wine, up to a
certain point and with certain men, rather tends to exalt and to steady
the intellect; I myself, who have never been a great wine-drinker, used
to find that half-a-dozen glasses of wine advantageously affected the
faculties--brightened and intensified the consciousness, and gave to the
mind a feeling of being "ponderibus librata suis;" and certainly it is
most absurdly said, in popular language, of any man that he is
_disguised_ in liquor; for, on the contrary, most men are disguised by
sobriety, and it is when they are drinking (as some old gentleman says in
Athenaeus), that men [Greek text]--display themselves in their true
complexion of character, which surely is not disguising themselves.  But
still, wine constantly leads a man to the brink of absurdity and
extravagance, and beyond a certain point it is sure to volatilise and to
disperse the intellectual energies: whereas opium always seems to compose
what had been agitated, and to concentrate what had been distracted.  In
short, to sum up all in one word, a man who is inebriated, or tending to
inebriation, is, and feels that he is, in a condition which calls up into
supremacy the merely human, too often the brutal part of his nature; but
the opium-eater (I speak of him who is not suffering from any disease or
other remote effects of opium) feels that the divines part of his nature
is paramount; that is, the moral affections are in a state of cloudless
serenity, and over all is the great light of the majestic intellect.

This is the doctrine of the true church on the subject of opium: of which
church I acknowledge myself to be the only member--the alpha and the
omega: but then it is to be recollected that I speak from the ground of a
large and profound personal experience: whereas most of the unscientific
{13} authors who have at all treated of opium, and even of those who have
written expressly on the materia medica, make it evident, from the horror
they express of it, that their experimental knowledge of its action is
none at all.  I will, however, candidly acknowledge that I have met with
one person who bore evidence to its intoxicating power, such as staggered
my own incredulity; for he was a surgeon, and had himself taken opium
largely.  I happened to say to him that his enemies (as I had heard)
charged him with talking nonsense on politics, and that his friends
apologized for him by suggesting that he was constantly in a state of
intoxication from opium.  Now the accusation, said I, is not _prima
facie_ and of necessity an absurd one; but the defence _is_.  To my
surprise, however, he insisted that both his enemies and his friends were
in the right.  "I will maintain," said he, "that I _do_ talk nonsense;
and secondly, I will maintain that I do not talk nonsense upon principle,
or with any view to profit, but solely and simply, said he, solely and
simply--solely and simply (repeating it three times over), because I am
drunk with opium, and _that_ daily."  I replied that, as to the
allegation of his enemies, as it seemed to be established upon such
respectable testimony, seeing that the three parties concerned all agree
in it, it did not become me to question it; but the defence set up I must
demur to.  He proceeded to discuss the matter, and to lay down his
reasons; but it seemed to me so impolite to pursue an argument which must
have presumed a man mistaken in a point belonging to his own profession,
that I did not press him even when his course of argument seemed open to
objection; not to mention that a man who talks nonsense, even though
"with no view to profit," is not altogether the most agreeable partner in
a dispute, whether as opponent or respondent.  I confess, however, that
the authority of a surgeon, and one who was reputed a good one, may seem
a weighty one to my prejudice; but still I must plead my experience,
which was greater than his greatest by 7,000 drops a-day; and though it
was not possible to suppose a medical man unacquainted with the
characteristic symptoms of vinous intoxication, it yet struck me that he
might proceed on a logical error of using the word intoxication with too
great latitude, and extending it generically to all modes of nervous
excitement, instead of restricting it as the expression for a specific
sort of excitement connected with certain diagnostics.  Some people have
maintained in my hearing that they had been drunk upon green tea; and a
medical student in London, for whose knowledge in his profession I have
reason to feel great respect, assured me the other day that a patient in
recovering from an illness had got drunk on a beef-steak.

Having dwelt so much on this first and leading error in respect to opium,
I shall notice very briefly a second and a third, which are, that the
elevation of spirits produced by opium is necessarily followed by a
proportionate depression, and that the natural and even immediate
consequence of opium is torpor and stagnation, animal and mental.  The
first of these errors I shall content myself with simply denying;
assuring my reader that for ten years, during which I took opium at
intervals, the day succeeding to that on which I allowed myself this
luxury was always a day of unusually good spirits.

With respect to the torpor supposed to follow, or rather (if we were to
credit the numerous pictures of Turkish opium-eaters) to accompany the
practice of opium-eating, I deny that also.  Certainly opium is classed
under the head of narcotics, and some such effect it may produce in the
end; but the primary effects of opium are always, and in the highest
degree, to excite and stimulate the system.  This first stage of its
action always lasted with me, during my noviciate, for upwards of eight
hours; so that it must be the fault of the opium-eater himself if he does
not so time his exhibition of the dose (to speak medically) as that the
whole weight of its narcotic influence may descend upon his sleep.
Turkish opium-eaters, it seems, are absurd enough to sit, like so many
equestrian statues, on logs of wood as stupid as themselves.  But that
the reader may judge of the degree in which opium is likely to stupefy
the faculties of an Englishman, I shall (by way of treating the question
illustratively, rather than argumentatively) describe the way in which I
myself often passed an opium evening in London during the period between
1804-1812.  It will be seen that at least opium did not move me to seek
solitude, and much less to seek inactivity, or the torpid state of self-
involution ascribed to the Turks.  I give this account at the risk of
being pronounced a crazy enthusiast or visionary; but I regard _that_
little.  I must desire my reader to bear in mind that I was a hard
student, and at severe studies for all the rest of my time; and certainly
I had a right occasionally to relaxations as well as other people.  These,
however, I allowed myself but seldom.

The late Duke of --- used to say, "Next Friday, by the blessing of
heaven, I purpose to be drunk;" and in like manner I used to fix
beforehand how often within a given time, and when, I would commit a
debauch of opium.  This was seldom more than once in three weeks, for at
that time I could not have ventured to call every day, as I did
afterwards, for "_a glass of laudanum negus, warm, and without sugar_."
No, as I have said, I seldom drank laudanum, at that time, more than once
in three weeks: This was usually on a Tuesday or a Saturday night; my
reason for which was this.  In those days Grassini sang at the Opera, and
her voice was delightful to me beyond all that I had ever heard.  I know
not what may be the state of the Opera-house now, having never been
within its walls for seven or eight years, but at that time it was by
much the most pleasant place of public resort in London for passing an
evening.  Five shillings admitted one to the gallery, which was subject
to far less annoyance than the pit of the theatres; the orchestra was
distinguished by its sweet and melodious grandeur from all English
orchestras, the composition of which, I confess, is not acceptable to my
ear, from the predominance of the clamorous instruments and the absolute
tyranny of the violin.  The choruses were divine to hear, and when
Grassini appeared in some interlude, as she often did, and poured forth
her passionate soul as Andromache at the tomb of Hector, &c., I question
whether any Turk, of all that ever entered the Paradise of Opium-eaters,
can have had half the pleasure I had.  But, indeed, I honour the
barbarians too much by supposing them capable of any pleasures
approaching to the intellectual ones of an Englishman.  For music is an
intellectual or a sensual pleasure according to the temperament of him
who hears it.  And, by-the-bye, with the exception of the fine
extravaganza on that subject in "Twelfth Night," I do not recollect more
than one thing said adequately on the subject of music in all literature;
it is a passage in the _Religio Medici_ {14} of Sir T. Brown, and though
chiefly remarkable for its sublimity, has also a philosophic value,
inasmuch as it points to the true theory of musical effects.  The mistake
of most people is to suppose that it is by the ear they communicate with
music, and therefore that they are purely passive to its effects.  But
this is not so; it is by the reaction of the mind upon the notices of the
ear (the _matter_ coming by the senses, the _form_ from the mind) that
the pleasure is constructed, and therefore it is that people of equally
good ear differ so much in this point from one another.  Now, opium, by
greatly increasing the activity of the mind, generally increases, of
necessity, that particular mode of its activity by which we are able to
construct out of the raw material of organic sound an elaborate
intellectual pleasure.  But, says a friend, a succession of musical
sounds is to me like a collection of Arabic characters; I can attach no
ideas to them.  Ideas! my good sir?  There is no occasion for them; all
that class of ideas which can be available in such a case has a language
of representative feelings.  But this is a subject foreign to my present
purposes; it is sufficient to say that a chorus, &c., of elaborate
harmony displayed before me, as in a piece of arras work, the whole of my
past life--not as if recalled by an act of memory, but as if present and
incarnated in the music; no longer painful to dwell upon; but the detail
of its incidents removed or blended in some hazy abstraction, and its
passions exalted, spiritualized, and sublimed.  All this was to be had
for five shillings.  And over and above the music of the stage and the
orchestra, I had all around me, in the intervals of the performance, the
music of the Italian language talked by Italian women--for the gallery
was usually crowded with Italians--and I listened with a pleasure such as
that with which Weld the traveller lay and listened, in Canada, to the
sweet laughter of Indian women; for the less you understand of a
language, the more sensible you are to the melody or harshness of its
sounds.  For such a purpose, therefore, it was an advantage to me that I
was a poor Italian scholar, reading it but little, and not speaking it at
all, nor understanding a tenth part of what I heard spoken.

These were my opera pleasures; but another pleasure I had which, as it
could be had only on a Saturday night, occasionally struggled with my
love of the Opera; for at that time Tuesday and Saturday were the regular
opera nights.  On this subject I am afraid I shall be rather obscure, but
I can assure the reader not at all more so than Marinus in his Life of
Proclus, or many other biographers and autobiographers of fair
reputation.  This pleasure, I have said, was to be had only on a Saturday
night.  What, then, was Saturday night to me more than any other night?  I
had no labours that I rested from, no wages to receive; what needed I to
care for Saturday night, more than as it was a summons to hear Grassini?
True, most logical reader; what you say is unanswerable.  And yet so it
was and is, that whereas different men throw their feelings into
different channels, and most are apt to show their interest in the
concerns of the poor chiefly by sympathy, expressed in some shape or
other, with their distresses and sorrows, I at that time was disposed to
express my interest by sympathising with their pleasures.  The pains of
poverty I had lately seen too much of, more than I wished to remember;
but the pleasures of the poor, their consolations of spirit, and their
reposes from bodily toil, can never become oppressive to contemplate.  Now
Saturday night is the season for the chief, regular, and periodic return
of rest of the poor; in this point the most hostile sects unite, and
acknowledge a common link of brotherhood; almost all Christendom rests
from its labours.  It is a rest introductory to another rest, and divided
by a whole day and two nights from the renewal of toil.  On this account
I feel always, on a Saturday night, as though I also were released from
some yoke of labour, had some wages to receive, and some luxury of repose
to enjoy.  For the sake, therefore, of witnessing, upon as large a scale
as possible, a spectacle with which my sympathy was so entire, I used
often on Saturday nights, after I had taken opium, to wander forth,
without much regarding the direction or the distance, to all the markets
and other parts of London to which the poor resort of a Saturday night,
for laying out their wages.  Many a family party, consisting of a man,
his wife, and sometimes one or two of his children, have I listened to,
as they stood consulting on their ways and means, or the strength of
their exchequer, or the price of household articles.  Gradually I became
familiar with their wishes, their difficulties, and their opinions.
Sometimes there might be heard murmurs of discontent, but far oftener
expressions on the countenance, or uttered in words, of patience, hope,
and tranquillity.  And taken generally, I must say that, in this point at
least, the poor are more philosophic than the rich--that they show a more
ready and cheerful submission to what they consider as irremediable evils
or irreparable losses.  Whenever I saw occasion, or could do it without
appearing to be intrusive, I joined their parties, and gave my opinion
upon the matter in discussion, which, if not always judicious, was always
received indulgently.  If wages were a little higher or expected to be
so, or the quartern loaf a little lower, or it was reported that onions
and butter were expected to fall, I was glad; yet, if the contrary were
true, I drew from opium some means of consoling myself.  For opium (like
the bee, that extracts its materials indiscriminately from roses and from
the soot of chimneys) can overrule all feelings into compliance with the
master-key.  Some of these rambles led me to great distances, for an
opium-eater is too happy to observe the motion of time; and sometimes in
my attempts to steer homewards, upon nautical principles, by fixing my
eye on the pole-star, and seeking ambitiously for a north-west passage,
instead of circumnavigating all the capes and head-lands I had doubled in
my outward voyage, I came suddenly upon such knotty problems of alleys,
such enigmatical entries, and such sphynx's riddles of streets without
thoroughfares, as must, I conceive, baffle the audacity of porters and
confound the intellects of hackney-coachmen.  I could almost have
believed at times that I must be the first discoverer of some of these
_terrae incognitae_, and doubted whether they had yet been laid down in
the modern charts of London.  For all this, however, I paid a heavy price
in distant years, when the human face tyrannised over my dreams, and the
perplexities of my steps in London came back and haunted my sleep, with
the feeling of perplexities, moral and intellectual, that brought
confusion to the reason, or anguish and remorse to the conscience.

Thus I have shown that opium does not of necessity produce inactivity or
torpor, but that, on the contrary, it often led me into markets and
theatres.  Yet, in candour, I will admit that markets and theatres are
not the appropriate haunts of the opium-eater when in the divinest state
incident to his enjoyment.  In that state, crowds become an oppression to
him; music even, too sensual and gross.  He naturally seeks solitude and
silence, as indispensable conditions of those trances, or profoundest
reveries, which are the crown and consummation of what opium can do for
human nature.  I, whose disease it was to meditate too much and to
observe too little, and who upon my first entrance at college was nearly
falling into a deep melancholy, from brooding too much on the sufferings
which I had witnessed in London, was sufficiently aware of the tendencies
of my own thoughts to do all I could to counteract them.  I was, indeed,
like a person who, according to the old legend, had entered the cave of
Trophonius; and the remedies I sought were to force myself into society,
and to keep my understanding in continual activity upon matters of
science.  But for these remedies I should certainly have become
hypochondriacally melancholy.  In after years, however, when my
cheerfulness was more fully re-established, I yielded to my natural
inclination for a solitary life.  And at that time I often fell into
these reveries upon taking opium; and more than once it has happened to
me, on a summer night, when I have been at an open window, in a room from
which I could overlook the sea at a mile below me, and could command a
view of the great town of L---, at about the same distance, that I have
sate from sunset to sunrise, motionless, and without wishing to move.

I shall be charged with mysticism, Behmenism, quietism, &c., but _that_
shall not alarm me.  Sir H. Vane, the younger, was one of our wisest men;
and let my reader see if he, in his philosophical works, be half as
unmystical as I am.  I say, then, that it has often struck me that the
scene itself was somewhat typical of what took place in such a reverie.
The town of L--- represented the earth, with its sorrows and its graves
left behind, yet not out of sight, nor wholly forgotten.  The ocean, in
everlasting but gentle agitation, and brooded over by a dove-like calm,
might not unfitly typify the mind and the mood which then swayed it.  For
it seemed to me as if then first I stood at a distance and aloof from the
uproar of life; as if the tumult, the fever, and the strife were
suspended; a respite granted from the secret burthens of the heart; a
sabbath of repose; a resting from human labours.  Here were the hopes
which blossom in the paths of life reconciled with the peace which is in
the grave; motions of the intellect as unwearied as the heavens, yet for
all anxieties a halcyon calm; a tranquillity that seemed no product of
inertia, but as if resulting from mighty and equal antagonisms; infinite
activities, infinite repose.

Oh, just, subtle, and mighty opium! that to the hearts of poor and rich
alike, for the wounds that will never heal, and for "the pangs that tempt
the spirit to rebel," bringest an assuaging balm; eloquent opium! that
with thy potent rhetoric stealest away the purposes of wrath; and to the
guilty man for one night givest back the hopes of his youth, and hands
washed pure from blood; and to the proud man a brief oblivion for

   Wrongs undress'd and insults unavenged;

that summonest to the chancery of dreams, for the triumphs of suffering
innocence, false witnesses; and confoundest perjury, and dost reverse the
sentences of unrighteous judges;--thou buildest upon the bosom of
darkness, out of the fantastic imagery of the brain, cities and temples
beyond the art of Phidias and Praxiteles--beyond the splendour of Babylon
and Hekatompylos, and "from the anarchy of dreaming sleep" callest into
sunny light the faces of long-buried beauties and the blessed household
countenances cleansed from the "dishonours of the grave."  Thou only
givest these gifts to man; and thou hast the keys of Paradise, oh, just,
subtle, and mighty opium!


Courteous, and I hope indulgent, reader (for all _my_ readers must be
indulgent ones, or else I fear I shall shock them too much to count on
their courtesy), having accompanied me thus far, now let me request you
to move onwards for about eight years; that is to say, from 1804 (when I
have said that my acquaintance with opium first began) to 1812.  The
years of academic life are now over and gone--almost forgotten; the
student's cap no longer presses my temples; if my cap exist at all, it
presses those of some youthful scholar, I trust, as happy as myself, and
as passionate a lover of knowledge.  My gown is by this time, I dare say,
in the same condition with many thousand excellent books in the Bodleian,
viz., diligently perused by certain studious moths and worms; or
departed, however (which is all that I know of his fate), to that great
reservoir of _somewhere_ to which all the tea-cups, tea-caddies,
tea-pots, tea-kettles, &c., have departed (not to speak of still frailer
vessels, such as glasses, decanters, bed-makers, &c.), which occasional
resemblances in the present generation of tea-cups, &c., remind me of
having once possessed, but of whose departure and final fate I, in common
with most gownsmen of either university, could give, I suspect, but an
obscure and conjectural history.  The persecutions of the chapel-bell,
sounding its unwelcome summons to six o'clock matins, interrupts my
slumbers no longer, the porter who rang it, upon whose beautiful nose
(bronze, inlaid with copper) I wrote, in retaliation so many Greek
epigrams whilst I was dressing, is dead, and has ceased to disturb
anybody; and I, and many others who suffered much from his tintinnabulous
propensities, have now agreed to overlook his errors, and have forgiven
him.  Even with the bell I am now in charity; it rings, I suppose, as
formerly, thrice a-day, and cruelly annoys, I doubt not, many worthy
gentlemen, and disturbs their peace of mind; but as to me, in this year
1812, I regard its treacherous voice no longer (treacherous I call it,
for, by some refinement of malice, it spoke in as sweet and silvery tones
as if it had been inviting one to a party); its tones have no longer,
indeed, power to reach me, let the wind sit as favourable as the malice
of the bell itself could wish, for I am 250 miles away from it, and
buried in the depth of mountains.  And what am I doing among the
mountains?  Taking opium.  Yes; but what else?  Why reader, in 1812, the
year we are now arrived at, as well as for some years previous, I have
been chiefly studying German metaphysics in the writings of Kant, Fichte,
Schelling, &c.  And how and in what manner do I live?--in short, what
class or description of men do I belong to?  I am at this period--viz. in
1812--living in a cottage and with a single female servant (_honi soit
qui mal y pense_), who amongst my neighbours passes by the name of my
"housekeeper."  And as a scholar and a man of learned education, and in
that sense a gentleman, I may presume to class myself as an unworthy
member of that indefinite body called _gentlemen_.  Partly on the ground
I have assigned perhaps, partly because from my having no visible calling
or business, it is rightly judged that I must be living on my private
fortune; I am so classed by my neighbours; and by the courtesy of modern
England I am usually addressed on letters, &c., "Esquire," though having,
I fear, in the rigorous construction of heralds, but slender pretensions
to that distinguished honour; yet in popular estimation I am X. Y. Z.,
Esquire, but not justice of the Peace nor Custos Rotulorum.  Am I
married?  Not yet.  And I still take opium?  On Saturday nights.  And
perhaps have taken it unblushingly ever since "the rainy Sunday," and
"the stately Pantheon," and "the beatific druggist" of 1804?  Even so.
And how do I find my health after all this opium-eating?  In short, how
do I do?  Why, pretty well, I thank you, reader; in the phrase of ladies
in the straw, "as well as can be expected."  In fact, if I dared to say
the real and simple truth, though, to satisfy the theories of medical
men, I _ought_ to be ill, I never was better in my life than in the
spring of 1812; and I hope sincerely that the quantity of claret, port,
or "particular Madeira," which in all probability you, good reader, have
taken, and design to take for every term of eight years during your
natural life, may as little disorder your health as mine was disordered
by the opium I had taken for eight years, between 1804 and 1812.  Hence
you may see again the danger of taking any medical advice from
_Anastasius_; in divinity, for aught I know, or law, he may be a safe
counsellor; but not in medicine.  No; it is far better to consult Dr.
Buchan, as I did; for I never forgot that worthy man's excellent
suggestion, and I was "particularly careful not to take above five-and-
twenty ounces of laudanum."  To this moderation and temperate use of the
article I may ascribe it, I suppose, that as yet, at least (_i.e_. in
1812), I am ignorant and unsuspicious of the avenging terrors which opium
has in store for those who abuse its lenity.  At the same time, it must
not be forgotten that hitherto I have been only a dilettante eater of
opium; eight years' practice even, with a single precaution of allowing
sufficient intervals between every indulgence, has not been sufficient to
make opium necessary to me as an article of daily diet.  But now comes a
different era.  Move on, if you please, reader, to 1813.  In the summer
of the year we have just quitted I have suffered much in bodily health
from distress of mind connected with a very melancholy event.  This event
being no ways related to the subject now before me, further than through
the bodily illness which it produced, I need not more particularly
notice.  Whether this illness of 1812 had any share in that of 1813 I
know not; but so it was, that in the latter year I was attacked by a most
appalling irritation of the stomach, in all respects the same as that
which had caused me so much suffering in youth, and accompanied by a
revival of all the old dreams.  This is the point of my narrative on
which, as respects my own self-justification, the whole of what follows
may be said to hinge.  And here I find myself in a perplexing dilemma.
Either, on the one hand, I must exhaust the reader's patience by such a
detail of my malady, or of my struggles with it, as might suffice to
establish the fact of my inability to wrestle any longer with irritation
and constant suffering; or, on the other hand, by passing lightly over
this critical part of my story, I must forego the benefit of a stronger
impression left on the mind of the reader, and must lay myself open to
the misconstruction of having slipped, by the easy and gradual steps of
self-indulging persons, from the first to the final stage of opium-eating
(a misconstruction to which there will be a lurking predisposition in
most readers, from my previous acknowledgements).  This is the dilemma,
the first horn of which would be sufficient to toss and gore any column
of patient readers, though drawn up sixteen deep and constantly relieved
by fresh men; consequently that is not to be thought of.  It remains,
then, that I _postulale_ so much as is necessary for my purpose.  And let
me take as full credit for what I postulate as if I had demonstrated it,
good reader, at the expense of your patience and my own.  Be not so
ungenerous as to let me suffer in your good opinion through my own
forbearance and regard for your comfort.  No; believe all that I ask of
you--viz., that I could resist no longer; believe it liberally and as an
act of grace, or else in mere prudence; for if not, then in the next
edition of my Opium Confessions, revised and enlarged, I will make you
believe and tremble; and _a force d'ennuyer_, by mere dint of
pandiculation I will terrify all readers of mine from ever again
questioning any postulate that I shall think fit to make.

This, then, let me repeat, I postulate--that at the time I began to take
opium daily I could not have done otherwise.  Whether, indeed, afterwards
I might not have succeeded in breaking off the habit, even when it seemed
to me that all efforts would be unavailing, and whether many of the
innumerable efforts which I did make might not have been carried much
further, and my gradual reconquests of ground lost might not have been
followed up much more energetically--these are questions which I must
decline.  Perhaps I might make out a case of palliation; but shall I
speak ingenuously?  I confess it, as a besetting infirmity of mine, that
I am too much of an Eudaemonist; I hanker too much after a state of
happiness, both for myself and others; I cannot face misery, whether my
own or not, with an eye of sufficient firmness, and am little capable of
encountering present pain for the sake of any reversionary benefit.  On
some other matters I can agree with the gentlemen in the cotton trade
{15} at Manchester in affecting the Stoic philosophy, but not in this.
Here I take the liberty of an Eclectic philosopher, and I look out for
some courteous and considerate sect that will condescend more to the
infirm condition of an opium-eater; that are "sweet men," as Chaucer
says, "to give absolution," and will show some conscience in the penances
they inflict, and the efforts of abstinence they exact from poor sinners
like myself.  An inhuman moralist I can no more endure in my nervous
state than opium that has not been boiled.  At any rate, he who summons
me to send out a large freight of self-denial and mortification upon any
cruising voyage of moral improvement, must make it clear to my
understanding that the concern is a hopeful one.  At my time of life (six-
and-thirty years of age) it cannot be supposed that I have much energy to
spare; in fact, I find it all little enough for the intellectual labours
I have on my hands, and therefore let no man expect to frighten me by a
few hard words into embarking any part of it upon desperate adventures of

Whether desperate or not, however, the issue of the struggle in 1813 was
what I have mentioned, and from this date the reader is to consider me as
a regular and confirmed opium-eater, of whom to ask whether on any
particular day he had or had not taken opium, would be to ask whether his
lungs had performed respiration, or the heart fulfilled its functions.
You understand now, reader, what I am, and you are by this time aware
that no old gentleman "with a snow-white beard" will have any chance of
persuading me to surrender "the little golden receptacle of the
pernicious drug."  No; I give notice to all, whether moralists or
surgeons, that whatever be their pretensions and skill in their
respective lines of practice, they must not hope for any countenance from
me, if they think to begin by any savage proposition for a Lent or a
Ramadan of abstinence from opium.  This, then, being all fully understood
between us, we shall in future sail before the wind.  Now then, reader,
from 1813, where all this time we have been sitting down and loitering,
rise up, if you please, and walk forward about three years more.  Now
draw up the curtain, and you shall see me in a new character.

If any man, poor or rich, were to say that he would tell us what had been
the happiest day in his life, and the why and the wherefore, I suppose
that we should all cry out--Hear him!  Hear him!  As to the happiest
_day_, that must be very difficult for any wise man to name, because any
event that could occupy so distinguished a place in a man's retrospect of
his life, or be entitled to have shed a special felicity on any one day,
ought to be of such an enduring character as that (accidents apart) it
should have continued to shed the same felicity, or one not
distinguishably less, on many years together.  To the happiest _lustrum_,
however, or even to the happiest _year_, it may be allowed to any man to
point without discountenance from wisdom.  This year, in my case, reader,
was the one which we have now reached; though it stood, I confess, as a
parenthesis between years of a gloomier character.  It was a year of
brilliant water (to speak after the manner of jewellers), set as it were,
and insulated, in the gloom and cloudy melancholy of opium.  Strange as
it may sound, I had a little before this time descended suddenly, and
without any considerable effort, from 320 grains of opium (_i.e_. eight
{16} thousand drops of laudanum) per day, to forty grains, or one-eighth
part.  Instantaneously, and as if by magic, the cloud of profoundest
melancholy which rested upon my brain, like some black vapours that I
have seen roll away from the summits of mountains, drew off in one day
([Greek text]); passed off with its murky banners as simultaneously as a
ship that has been stranded, and is floated off by a spring tide--

   That moveth altogether, if it move at all.

Now, then, I was again happy; I now took only 1000 drops of laudanum per
day; and what was that?  A latter spring had come to close up the season
of youth; my brain performed its functions as healthily as ever before; I
read Kant again, and again I understood him, or fancied that I did.  Again
my feelings of pleasure expanded themselves to all around me; and if any
man from Oxford or Cambridge, or from neither, had been announced to me
in my unpretending cottage, I should have welcomed him with as sumptuous
a reception as so poor a man could offer.  Whatever else was wanting to a
wise man's happiness, of laudanum I would have given him as much as he
wished, and in a golden cup.  And, by the way, now that I speak of giving
laudanum away, I remember about this time a little incident, which I
mention because, trifling as it was, the reader will soon meet it again
in my dreams, which it influenced more fearfully than could be imagined.
One day a Malay knocked at my door.  What business a Malay could have to
transact amongst English mountains I cannot conjecture; but possibly he
was on his road to a seaport about forty miles distant.

The servant who opened the door to him was a young girl, born and bred
amongst the mountains, who had never seen an Asiatic dress of any sort;
his turban therefore confounded her not a little; and as it turned out
that his attainments in English were exactly of the same extent as hers
in the Malay, there seemed to be an impassable gulf fixed between all
communication of ideas, if either party had happened to possess any.  In
this dilemma, the girl, recollecting the reputed learning of her master
(and doubtless giving me credit for a knowledge of all the languages of
the earth besides perhaps a few of the lunar ones), came and gave me to
understand that there was a sort of demon below, whom she clearly
imagined that my art could exorcise from the house.  I did not
immediately go down, but when I did, the group which presented itself,
arranged as it was by accident, though not very elaborate, took hold of
my fancy and my eye in a way that none of the statuesque attitudes
exhibited in the ballets at the Opera-house, though so ostentatiously
complex, had ever done.  In a cottage kitchen, but panelled on the wall
with dark wood that from age and rubbing resembled oak, and looking more
like a rustic hall of entrance than a kitchen, stood the Malay--his
turban and loose trousers of dingy white relieved upon the dark
panelling.  He had placed himself nearer to the girl than she seemed to
relish, though her native spirit of mountain intrepidity contended with
the feeling of simple awe which her countenance expressed as she gazed
upon the tiger-cat before her.  And a more striking picture there could
not be imagined than the beautiful English face of the girl, and its
exquisite fairness, together with her erect and independent attitude,
contrasted with the sallow and bilious skin of the Malay, enamelled or
veneered with mahogany by marine air, his small, fierce, restless eyes,
thin lips, slavish gestures and adorations.  Half-hidden by the ferocious-
looking Malay was a little child from a neighbouring cottage who had
crept in after him, and was now in the act of reverting its head and
gazing upwards at the turban and the fiery eyes beneath it, whilst with
one hand he caught at the dress of the young woman for protection.  My
knowledge of the Oriental tongues is not remarkably extensive, being
indeed confined to two words--the Arabic word for barley and the Turkish
for opium (madjoon), which I have learned from _Anastasius_; and as I had
neither a Malay dictionary nor even Adelung's _Mithridates_, which might
have helped me to a few words, I addressed him in some lines from the
Iliad, considering that, of such languages as I possessed, Greek, in
point of longitude, came geographically nearest to an Oriental one.  He
worshipped me in a most devout manner, and replied in what I suppose was
Malay.  In this way I saved my reputation with my neighbours, for the
Malay had no means of betraying the secret.  He lay down upon the floor
for about an hour, and then pursued his journey.  On his departure I
presented him with a piece of opium.  To him, as an Orientalist, I
concluded that opium must be familiar; and the expression of his face
convinced me that it was.  Nevertheless, I was struck with some little
consternation when I saw him suddenly raise his hand to his mouth, and,
to use the schoolboy phrase, bolt the whole, divided into three pieces,
at one mouthful.  The quantity was enough to kill three dragoons and
their horses, and I felt some alarm for the poor creature; but what could
be done?  I had given him the opium in compassion for his solitary life,
on recollecting that if he had travelled on foot from London it must be
nearly three weeks since he could have exchanged a thought with any human
being.  I could not think of violating the laws of hospitality by having
him seized and drenched with an emetic, and thus frightening him into a
notion that we were going to sacrifice him to some English idol.  No:
there was clearly no help for it.  He took his leave, and for some days I
felt anxious, but as I never heard of any Malay being found dead, I
became convinced that he was used {17} to opium; and that I must have
done him the service I designed by giving him one night of respite from
the pains of wandering.

This incident I have digressed to mention, because this Malay (partly
from the picturesque exhibition he assisted to frame, partly from the
anxiety I connected with his image for some days) fastened afterwards
upon my dreams, and brought other Malays with him, worse than himself,
that ran "a-muck" {18} at me, and led me into a world of troubles.  But
to quit this episode, and to return to my intercalary year of happiness.
I have said already, that on a subject so important to us all as
happiness, we should listen with pleasure to any man's experience or
experiments, even though he were but a plough-boy, who cannot be supposed
to have ploughed very deep into such an intractable soil as that of human
pains and pleasures, or to have conducted his researches upon any very
enlightened principles.  But I who have taken happiness both in a solid
and liquid shape, both boiled and unboiled, both East India and
Turkey--who have conducted my experiments upon this interesting subject
with a sort of galvanic battery, and have, for the general benefit of the
world, inoculated myself, as it were, with the poison of 8000 drops of
laudanum per day (just for the same reason as a French surgeon inoculated
himself lately with cancer, an English one twenty years ago with plague,
and a third, I know not of what nation, with hydrophobia), I (it will be
admitted) must surely know what happiness is, if anybody does.  And
therefore I will here lay down an analysis of happiness; and as the most
interesting mode of communicating it, I will give it, not didactically,
but wrapped up and involved in a picture of one evening, as I spent every
evening during the intercalary year when laudanum, though taken daily,
was to me no more than the elixir of pleasure.  This done, I shall quit
the subject of happiness altogether, and pass to a very different
one--_the pains of opium_.

Let there be a cottage standing in a valley, eighteen miles from any
town--no spacious valley, but about two miles long by three-quarters of a
mile in average width; the benefit of which provision is that all the
family resident within its circuit will compose, as it were, one larger
household, personally familiar to your eye, and more or less interesting
to your affections.  Let the mountains be real mountains, between 3,000
and 4,000 feet high, and the cottage a real cottage, not (as a witty
author has it) "a cottage with a double coach-house;" let it be, in fact
(for I must abide by the actual scene), a white cottage, embowered with
flowering shrubs, so chosen as to unfold a succession of flowers upon the
walls and clustering round the windows through all the months of spring,
summer, and autumn--beginning, in fact, with May roses, and ending with
jasmine.  Let it, however, _not_ be spring, nor summer, nor autumn, but
winter in his sternest shape.  This is a most important point in the
science of happiness.  And I am surprised to see people overlook it, and
think it matter of congratulation that winter is going, or, if coming, is
not likely to be a severe one.  On the contrary, I put up a petition
annually for as much snow, hail, frost, or storm, of one kind or other,
as the skies can possibly afford us.  Surely everybody is aware of the
divine pleasures which attend a winter fireside, candles at four o'clock,
warm hearth-rugs, tea, a fair tea-maker, shutters closed, curtains
flowing in ample draperies on the floor, whilst the wind and rain are
raging audibly without,

   And at the doors and windows seem to call,
   As heav'n and earth they would together mell;
   Yet the least entrance find they none at all;
   Whence sweeter grows our rest secure in massy hall.

   _Castle of Indolence_.

All these are items in the description of a winter evening which must
surely be familiar to everybody born in a high latitude.  And it is
evident that most of these delicacies, like ice-cream, require a very low
temperature of the atmosphere to produce them; they are fruits which
cannot be ripened without weather stormy or inclement in some way or
other.  I am not "_particular_," as people say, whether it be snow, or
black frost, or wind so strong that (as Mr. --- says) "you may lean your
back against it like a post."  I can put up even with rain, provided it
rains cats and dogs; but something of the sort I must have, and if I have
it not, I think myself in a manner ill-used; for why am I called on to
pay so heavily for winter, in coals and candles, and various privations
that will occur even to gentlemen, if I am not to have the article good
of its kind?  No, a Canadian winter for my money, or a Russian one, where
every man is but a co-proprietor with the north wind in the fee-simple of
his own ears.  Indeed, so great an epicure am I in this matter that I
cannot relish a winter night fully if it be much past St. Thomas's day,
and have degenerated into disgusting tendencies to vernal appearances.
No, it must be divided by a thick wall of dark nights from all return of
light and sunshine.  From the latter weeks of October to Christmas Eve,
therefore, is the period during which happiness is in season, which, in
my judgment, enters the room with the tea-tray; for tea, though ridiculed
by those who are naturally of coarse nerves, or are become so from wine-
drinking, and are not susceptible of influence from so refined a
stimulant, will always be the favourite beverage of the intellectual;
and, for my part, I would have joined Dr. Johnson in a _bellum
internecinum_ against Jonas Hanway, or any other impious person, who
should presume to disparage it.  But here, to save myself the trouble of
too much verbal description, I will introduce a painter, and give him
directions for the rest of the picture.  Painters do not like white
cottages, unless a good deal weather-stained; but as the reader now
understands that it is a winter night, his services will not be required
except for the inside of the house.

Paint me, then, a room seventeen feet by twelve, and not more than seven
and a half feet high.  This, reader, is somewhat ambitiously styled in my
family the drawing-room; but being contrived "a double debt to pay," it
is also, and more justly, termed the library, for it happens that books
are the only article of property in which I am richer than my neighbours.
Of these I have about five thousand, collected gradually since my
eighteenth year.  Therefore, painter, put as many as you can into this
room.  Make it populous with books, and, furthermore, paint me a good
fire, and furniture plain and modest, befitting the unpretending cottage
of a scholar.  And near the fire paint me a tea-table, and (as it is
clear that no creature can come to see one such a stormy night) place
only two cups and saucers on the tea-tray; and, if you know how to paint
such a thing symbolically or otherwise, paint me an eternal
tea-pot--eternal _a parte ante_ and _a parte post_--for I usually drink
tea from eight o'clock at night to four o'clock in the morning.  And as
it is very unpleasant to make tea or to pour it out for oneself, paint me
a lovely young woman sitting at the table.  Paint her arms like Aurora's
and her smiles like Hebe's.  But no, dear M., not even in jest let me
insinuate that thy power to illuminate my cottage rests upon a tenure so
perishable as mere personal beauty, or that the witchcraft of angelic
smiles lies within the empire of any earthly pencil.  Pass then, my good
painter, to something more within its power; and the next article brought
forward should naturally be myself--a picture of the Opium-eater, with
his "little golden receptacle of the pernicious drug" lying beside him on
the table.  As to the opium, I have no objection to see a picture of
_that_, though I would rather see the original.  You may paint it if you
choose, but I apprise you that no "little" receptacle would, even in
1816, answer _my_ purpose, who was at a distance from the "stately
Pantheon," and all druggists (mortal or otherwise).  No, you may as well
paint the real receptacle, which was not of gold, but of glass, and as
much like a wine-decanter as possible.  Into this you may put a quart of
ruby-coloured laudanum; that, and a book of German Metaphysics placed by
its side, will sufficiently attest my being in the neighbourhood.  But as
to myself--there I demur.  I admit that, naturally, I ought to occupy the
foreground of the picture; that being the hero of the piece, or (if you
choose) the criminal at the bar, my body should be had into court.  This
seems reasonable; but why should I confess on this point to a painter? or
why confess at all?  If the public (into whose private ear I am
confidentially whispering my confessions, and not into any painter's)
should chance to have framed some agreeable picture for itself of the
Opium-eater's exterior, should have ascribed to him, romantically an
elegant person or a handsome face, why should I barbarously tear from it
so pleasing a delusion--pleasing both to the public and to me?  No; paint
me, if at all, according to your own fancy, and as a painter's fancy
should teem with beautiful creations, I cannot fail in that way to be a
gainer.  And now, reader, we have run through all the ten categories of
my condition as it stood about 1816-17, up to the middle of which latter
year I judge myself to have been a happy man, and the elements of that
happiness I have endeavoured to place before you in the above sketch of
the interior of a scholar's library, in a cottage among the mountains, on
a stormy winter evening.

But now, farewell--a long farewell--to happiness, winter or summer!
Farewell to smiles and laughter!  Farewell to peace of mind!  Farewell to
hope and to tranquil dreams, and to the blessed consolations of sleep.
For more than three years and a half I am summoned away from these.  I am
now arrived at an Iliad of woes, for I have now to record


   As when some great painter dips
   His pencil in the gloom of earthquake and eclipse.

   SHELLEY'S _Revolt of Islam_.

Reader, who have thus far accompanied me, I must request your attention
to a brief explanatory note on three points:

1.  For several reasons I have not been able to compose the notes for
this part of my narrative into any regular and connected shape.  I give
the notes disjointed as I find them, or have now drawn them up from
memory.  Some of them point to their own date, some I have dated, and
some are undated.  Whenever it could answer my purpose to transplant them
from the natural or chronological order, I have not scrupled to do so.
Sometimes I speak in the present, sometimes in the past tense.  Few of
the notes, perhaps, were written exactly at the period of time to which
they relate; but this can little affect their accuracy, as the
impressions were such that they can never fade from my mind.  Much has
been omitted.  I could not, without effort, constrain myself to the task
of either recalling, or constructing into a regular narrative, the whole
burthen of horrors which lies upon my brain.  This feeling partly I plead
in excuse, and partly that I am now in London, and am a helpless sort of
person, who cannot even arrange his own papers without assistance; and I
am separated from the hands which are wont to perform for me the offices
of an amanuensis.

2.  You will think perhaps that I am too confidential and communicative
of my own private history.  It may be so.  But my way of writing is
rather to think aloud, and follow my own humours, than much to consider
who is listening to me; and if I stop to consider what is proper to be
said to this or that person, I shall soon come to doubt whether any part
at all is proper.  The fact is, I place myself at a distance of fifteen
or twenty years ahead of this time, and suppose myself writing to those
who will be interested about me hereafter; and wishing to have some
record of time, the entire history of which no one can know but myself, I
do it as fully as I am able with the efforts I am now capable of making,
because I know not whether I can ever find time to do it again.

3.  It will occur to you often to ask, why did I not release myself from
the horrors of opium by leaving it off or diminishing it?  To this I must
answer briefly: it might be supposed that I yielded to the fascinations
of opium too easily; it cannot be supposed that any man can be charmed by
its terrors.  The reader may be sure, therefore, that I made attempts
innumerable to reduce the quantity.  I add, that those who witnessed the
agonies of those attempts, and not myself, were the first to beg me to
desist.  But could not have I reduced it a drop a day, or, by adding
water, have bisected or trisected a drop?  A thousand drops bisected
would thus have taken nearly six years to reduce, and that way would
certainly not have answered.  But this is a common mistake of those who
know nothing of opium experimentally; I appeal to those who do, whether
it is not always found that down to a certain point it can be reduced
with ease and even pleasure, but that after that point further reduction
causes intense suffering.  Yes, say many thoughtless persons, who know
not what they are talking of, you will suffer a little low spirits and
dejection for a few days.  I answer, no; there is nothing like low
spirits; on the contrary, the mere animal spirits are uncommonly raised:
the pulse is improved: the health is better.  It is not there that the
suffering lies.  It has no resemblance to the sufferings caused by
renouncing wine.  It is a state of unutterable irritation of stomach
(which surely is not much like dejection), accompanied by intense
perspirations, and feelings such as I shall not attempt to describe
without more space at my command.

I shall now enter _in medias res_, and shall anticipate, from a time when
my opium pains might be said to be at their _acme_, an account of their
palsying effects on the intellectual faculties.

* * * * *

My studies have now been long interrupted.  I cannot read to myself with
any pleasure, hardly with a moment's endurance.  Yet I read aloud
sometimes for the pleasure of others, because reading is an
accomplishment of mine, and, in the slang use of the word
"accomplishment" as a superficial and ornamental attainment, almost the
only one I possess; and formerly, if I had any vanity at all connected
with any endowment or attainment of mine, it was with this, for I had
observed that no accomplishment was so rare.  Players are the worst
readers of all:--reads vilely; and Mrs. ---, who is so celebrated, can
read nothing well but dramatic compositions: Milton she cannot read
sufferably.  People in general either read poetry without any passion at
all, or else overstep the modesty of nature, and read not like scholars.
Of late, if I have felt moved by anything it has been by the grand
lamentations of Samson Agonistes, or the great harmonies of the Satanic
speeches in Paradise Regained, when read aloud by myself.  A young lady
sometimes comes and drinks tea with us: at her request and M.'s, I now
and then read W-'s poems to them.  (W., by-the-bye is the only poet I
ever met who could read his own verses: often indeed he reads admirably.)

For nearly two years I believe that I read no book, but one; and I owe it
to the author, in discharge of a great debt of gratitude, to mention what
that was.  The sublimer and more passionate poets I still read, as I have
said, by snatches, and occasionally.  But my proper vocation, as I well
know, was the exercise of the analytic understanding.  Now, for the most
part analytic studies are continuous, and not to be pursued by fits and
starts, or fragmentary efforts.  Mathematics, for instance, intellectual
philosophy, &c, were all become insupportable to me; I shrunk from them
with a sense of powerless and infantine feebleness that gave me an
anguish the greater from remembering the time when I grappled with them
to my own hourly delight; and for this further reason, because I had
devoted the labour of my whole life, and had dedicated my intellect,
blossoms and fruits, to the slow and elaborate toil of constructing one
single work, to which I had presumed to give the title of an unfinished
work of Spinosa's--viz., _De Emendatione Humani Intellectus_.  This was
now lying locked up, as by frost, like any Spanish bridge or aqueduct,
begun upon too great a scale for the resources of the architect; and
instead of reviving me as a monument of wishes at least, and aspirations,
and a life of labour dedicated to the exaltation of human nature in that
way in which God had best fitted me to promote so great an object, it was
likely to stand a memorial to my children of hopes defeated, of baffled
efforts, of materials uselessly accumulated, of foundations laid that
were never to support a super-structure--of the grief and the ruin of the
architect.  In this state of imbecility I had, for amusement, turned my
attention to political economy; my understanding, which formerly had been
as active and restless as a hyaena, could not, I suppose (so long as I
lived at all) sink into utter lethargy; and political economy offers this
advantage to a person in my state, that though it is eminently an organic
science (no part, that is to say, but what acts on the whole as the whole
again reacts on each part), yet the several parts may be detached and
contemplated singly.  Great as was the prostration of my powers at this
time, yet I could not forget my knowledge; and my understanding had been
for too many years intimate with severe thinkers, with logic, and the
great masters of knowledge, not to be aware of the utter feebleness of
the main herd of modern economists.  I had been led in 1811 to look into
loads of books and pamphlets on many branches of economy; and, at my
desire, M. sometimes read to me chapters from more recent works, or parts
of parliamentary debates.  I saw that these were generally the very dregs
and rinsings of the human intellect; and that any man of sound head, and
practised in wielding logic with a scholastic adroitness, might take up
the whole academy of modern economists, and throttle them between heaven
and earth with his finger and thumb, or bray their fungus-heads to powder
with a lady's fan.  At length, in 1819, a friend in Edinburgh sent me
down Mr. Ricardo's book; and recurring to my own prophetic anticipation
of the advent of some legislator for this science, I said, before I had
finished the first chapter, "Thou art the man!"  Wonder and curiosity
were emotions that had long been dead in me.  Yet I wondered once more: I
wondered at myself that I could once again be stimulated to the effort of
reading, and much more I wondered at the book.  Had this profound work
been really written in England during the nineteenth century?  Was it
possible?  I supposed thinking {19} had been extinct in England.  Could
it be that an Englishman, and he not in academic bowers, but oppressed by
mercantile and senatorial cares, had accomplished what all the
universities of Europe and a century of thought had failed even to
advance by one hair's breadth?  All other writers had been crushed and
overlaid by the enormous weight of facts and documents.  Mr. Ricardo had
deduced _a priori_ from the understanding itself laws which first gave a
ray of light into the unwieldy chaos of materials, and had constructed
what had been but a collection of tentative discussions into a science of
regular proportions, now first standing on an eternal basis.

Thus did one single work of a profound understanding avail to give me a
pleasure and an activity which I had not known for years.  It roused me
even to write, or at least to dictate what M. wrote for me.  It seemed to
me that some important truths had escaped even "the inevitable eye" of
Mr. Ricardo; and as these were for the most part of such a nature that I
could express or illustrate them more briefly and elegantly by algebraic
symbols than in the usual clumsy and loitering diction of economists, the
whole would not have filled a pocket-book; and being so brief, with M.
for my amanuensis, even at this time, incapable as I was of all general
exertion, I drew up my _Prolegomena to all future Systems of Political
Economy_.  I hope it will not be found redolent of opium; though, indeed,
to most people the subject is a sufficient opiate.

This exertion, however, was but a temporary flash, as the sequel showed;
for I designed to publish my work.  Arrangements were made at a
provincial press, about eighteen miles distant, for printing it.  An
additional compositor was retained for some days on this account.  The
work was even twice advertised, and I was in a manner pledged to the
fulfilment of my intention.  But I had a preface to write, and a
dedication, which I wished to make a splendid one, to Mr. Ricardo.  I
found myself quite unable to accomplish all this.  The arrangements were
countermanded, the compositor dismissed, and my "Prolegomena" rested
peacefully by the side of its elder and more dignified brother.

I have thus described and illustrated my intellectual torpor in terms
that apply more or less to every part of the four years during which I
was under the Circean spells of opium.  But for misery and suffering, I
might indeed be said to have existed in a dormant state.  I seldom could
prevail on myself to write a letter; an answer of a few words to any that
I received was the utmost that I could accomplish, and often _that_ not
until the letter had lain weeks or even months on my writing-table.
Without the aid of M. all records of bills paid or _to be_ paid must have
perished, and my whole domestic economy, whatever became of Political
Economy, must have gone into irretrievable confusion.  I shall not
afterwards allude to this part of the case.  It is one, however, which
the opium-eater will find, in the end, as oppressive and tormenting as
any other, from the sense of incapacity and feebleness, from the direct
embarrassments incident to the neglect or procrastination of each day's
appropriate duties, and from the remorse which must often exasperate the
stings of these evils to a reflective and conscientious mind.  The opium-
eater loses none of his moral sensibilities or aspirations.  He wishes
and longs as earnestly as ever to realize what he believes possible, and
feels to be exacted by duty; but his intellectual apprehension of what is
possible infinitely outruns his power, not of execution only, but even of
power to attempt.  He lies under the weight of incubus and nightmare; he
lies in sight of all that he would fain perform, just as a man forcibly
confined to his bed by the mortal languor of a relaxing disease, who is
compelled to witness injury or outrage offered to some object of his
tenderest love: he curses the spells which chain him down from motion; he
would lay down his life if he might but get up and walk; but he is
powerless as an infant, and cannot even attempt to rise.

I now pass to what is the main subject of these latter confessions, to
the history and journal of what took place in my dreams, for these were
the immediate and proximate cause of my acutest suffering.

The first notice I had of any important change going on in this part of
my physical economy was from the reawakening of a state of eye generally
incident to childhood, or exalted states of irritability.  I know not
whether my reader is aware that many children, perhaps most, have a power
of painting, as it were upon the darkness, all sorts of phantoms.  In
some that power is simply a mechanical affection of the eye; others have
a voluntary or semi-voluntary power to dismiss or to summon them; or, as
a child once said to me when I questioned him on this matter, "I can tell
them to go, and they go ---, but sometimes they come when I don't tell
them to come."  Whereupon I told him that he had almost as unlimited a
command over apparitions as a Roman centurion over his soldiers.--In the
middle of 1817, I think it was, that this faculty became positively
distressing to me: at night, when I lay awake in bed, vast processions
passed along in mournful pomp; friezes of never-ending stories, that to
my feelings were as sad and solemn as if they were stories drawn from
times before OEdipus or Priam, before Tyre, before Memphis.  And at the
same time a corresponding change took place in my dreams; a theatre
seemed suddenly opened and lighted up within my brain, which presented
nightly spectacles of more than earthly splendour.  And the four
following facts may be mentioned as noticeable at this time:

1.  That as the creative state of the eye increased, a sympathy seemed to
arise between the waking and the dreaming states of the brain in one
point--that whatsoever I happened to call up and to trace by a voluntary
act upon the darkness was very apt to transfer itself to my dreams, so
that I feared to exercise this faculty; for, as Midas turned all things
to gold that yet baffled his hopes and defrauded his human desires, so
whatsoever things capable of being visually represented I did but think
of in the darkness, immediately shaped themselves into phantoms of the
eye; and by a process apparently no less inevitable, when thus once
traced in faint and visionary colours, like writings in sympathetic ink,
they were drawn out by the fierce chemistry of my dreams into
insufferable splendour that fretted my heart.

2.  For this and all other changes in my dreams were accompanied by deep-
seated anxiety and gloomy melancholy, such as are wholly incommunicable
by words.  I seemed every night to descend, not metaphorically, but
literally to descend, into chasms and sunless abysses, depths below
depths, from which it seemed hopeless that I could ever reascend.  Nor
did I, by waking, feel that I _had_ reascended.  This I do not dwell
upon; because the state of gloom which attended these gorgeous
spectacles, amounting at last to utter darkness, as of some suicidal
despondency, cannot be approached by words.

3.  The sense of space, and in the end the sense of time, were both
powerfully affected.  Buildings, landscapes, &c., were exhibited in
proportions so vast as the bodily eye is not fitted to receive.  Space
swelled, and was amplified to an extent of unutterable infinity.  This,
however, did not disturb me so much as the vast expansion of time; I
sometimes seemed to have lived for 70 or 100 years in one night--nay,
sometimes had feelings representative of a millennium passed in that
time, or, however, of a duration far beyond the limits of any human

4.  The minutest incidents of childhood, or forgotten scenes of later
years, were often revived: I could not be said to recollect them, for if
I had been told of them when waking, I should not have been able to
acknowledge them as parts of my past experience.  But placed as they were
before me, in dreams like intuitions, and clothed in all their evanescent
circumstances and accompanying feelings, I _recognised_ them
instantaneously.  I was once told by a near relative of mine, that having
in her childhood fallen into a river, and being on the very verge of
death but for the critical assistance which reached her, she saw in a
moment her whole life, in its minutest incidents, arrayed before her
simultaneously as in a mirror; and she had a faculty developed as
suddenly for comprehending the whole and every part.  This, from some
opium experiences of mine, I can believe; I have indeed seen the same
thing asserted twice in modern books, and accompanied by a remark which I
am convinced is true; viz., that the dread book of account which the
Scriptures speak of is in fact the mind itself of each individual.  Of
this at least I feel assured, that there is no such thing as _forgetting_
possible to the mind; a thousand accidents may and will interpose a veil
between our present consciousness and the secret inscriptions on the
mind; accidents of the same sort will also rend away this veil; but
alike, whether veiled or unveiled, the inscription remains for ever, just
as the stars seem to withdraw before the common light of day, whereas in
fact we all know that it is the light which is drawn over them as a veil,
and that they are waiting to be revealed when the obscuring daylight
shall have withdrawn.

Having noticed these four facts as memorably distinguishing my dreams
from those of health, I shall now cite a case illustrative of the first
fact, and shall then cite any others that I remember, either in their
chronological order, or any other that may give them more effect as
pictures to the reader.

I had been in youth, and even since, for occasional amusement, a great
reader of Livy, whom I confess that I prefer, both for style and matter,
to any other of the Roman historians; and I had often felt as most solemn
and appalling sounds, and most emphatically representative of the majesty
of the Roman people, the two words so often occurring in Livy--_Consul
Romanus_, especially when the consul is introduced in his military
character.  I mean to say that the words king, sultan, regent, &c., or
any other titles of those who embody in their own persons the collective
majesty of a great people, had less power over my reverential feelings.  I
had also, though no great reader of history, made myself minutely and
critically familiar with one period of English history, viz., the period
of the Parliamentary War, having been attracted by the moral grandeur of
some who figured in that day, and by the many interesting memoirs which
survive those unquiet times.  Both these parts of my lighter reading,
having furnished me often with matter of reflection, now furnished me
with matter for my dreams.  Often I used to see, after painting upon the
blank darkness a sort of rehearsal whilst waking, a crowd of ladies, and
perhaps a festival and dances.  And I heard it said, or I said to myself,
"These are English ladies from the unhappy times of Charles I.  These are
the wives and the daughters of those who met in peace, and sate at the
same table, and were allied by marriage or by blood; and yet, after a
certain day in August 1642, never smiled upon each other again, nor met
but in the field of battle; and at Marston Moor, at Newbury, or at
Naseby, cut asunder all ties of love by the cruel sabre, and washed away
in blood the memory of ancient friendship."  The ladies danced, and
looked as lovely as the court of George IV.  Yet I knew, even in my
dream, that they had been in the grave for nearly two centuries.  This
pageant would suddenly dissolve; and at a clapping of hands would be
heard the heart-quaking sound _of Consul Romanus_; and immediately came
"sweeping by," in gorgeous paludaments, Paulus or Marius, girt round by a
company of centurions, with the crimson tunic hoisted on a spear, and
followed by the _alalagmos_ of the Roman legions.

Many years ago, when I was looking over Piranesi's, Antiquities of Rome,
Mr. Coleridge, who was standing by, described to me a set of plates by
that artist, called his _Dreams_, and which record the scenery of his own
visions during the delirium of a fever.  Some of them (I describe only
from memory of Mr. Coleridge's account) represented vast Gothic halls, on
the floor of which stood all sorts of engines and machinery, wheels,
cables, pulleys, levers, catapults, &c. &c., expressive of enormous power
put forth and resistance overcome.  Creeping along the sides of the walls
you perceived a staircase; and upon it, groping his way upwards, was
Piranesi himself: follow the stairs a little further and you perceive it
come to a sudden and abrupt termination without any balustrade, and
allowing no step onwards to him who had reached the extremity except into
the depths below.  Whatever is to become of poor Piranesi, you suppose at
least that his labours must in some way terminate here.  But raise your
eyes, and behold a second flight of stairs still higher, on which again
Piranesi is perceived, but this time standing on the very brink of the
abyss.  Again elevate your eye, and a still more aerial flight of stairs
is beheld, and again is poor Piranesi busy on his aspiring labours; and
so on, until the unfinished stairs and Piranesi both are lost in the
upper gloom of the hall.  With the same power of endless growth and self-
reproduction did my architecture proceed in dreams.  In the early stage
of my malady the splendours of my dreams were indeed chiefly
architectural; and I beheld such pomp of cities and palaces as was never
yet beheld by the waking eye unless in the clouds.  From a great modern
poet I cite part of a passage which describes, as an appearance actually
beheld in the clouds, what in many of its circumstances I saw frequently
in sleep:

   The appearance, instantaneously disclosed,
   Was of a mighty city--boldly say
   A wilderness of building, sinking far
   And self-withdrawn into a wondrous depth,
   Far sinking into splendour--without end!
   Fabric it seem'd of diamond, and of gold,
   With alabaster domes, and silver spires,
   And blazing terrace upon terrace, high
   Uplifted; here, serene pavilions bright
   In avenues disposed; there towers begirt
   With battlements that on their restless fronts
   Bore stars--illumination of all gems!
   By earthly nature had the effect been wrought
   Upon the dark materials of the storm
   Now pacified; on them, and on the coves,
   And mountain-steeps and summits, whereunto
   The vapours had receded,--taking there
   Their station under a cerulean sky.  &c. &c.

The sublime circumstance, "battlements that on their _restless_ fronts
bore stars," might have been copied from my architectural dreams, for it
often occurred.  We hear it reported of Dryden and of Fuseli, in modern
times, that they thought proper to eat raw meat for the sake of obtaining
splendid dreams: how much better for such a purpose to have eaten opium,
which yet I do not remember that any poet is recorded to have done,
except the dramatist Shadwell; and in ancient days Homer is I think
rightly reputed to have known the virtues of opium.

To my architecture succeeded dreams of lakes and silvery expanses of
water: these haunted me so much that I feared (though possibly it will
appear ludicrous to a medical man) that some dropsical state or tendency
of the brain might thus be making itself (to use a metaphysical word)
_objective_; and the sentient organ _project_ itself as its own object.
For two months I suffered greatly in my head, a part of my bodily
structure which had hitherto been so clear from all touch or taint of
weakness (physically I mean) that I used to say of it, as the last Lord
Orford said of his stomach, that it seemed likely to survive the rest of
my person.  Till now I had never felt a headache even, or any the
slightest pain, except rheumatic pains caused by my own folly.  However,
I got over this attack, though it must have been verging on something
very dangerous.

The waters now changed their character--from translucent lakes shining
like mirrors they now became seas and oceans.  And now came a tremendous
change, which, unfolding itself slowly like a scroll through many months,
promised an abiding torment; and in fact it never left me until the
winding up of my case.  Hitherto the human face had mixed often in my
dreams, but not despotically nor with any special power of tormenting.
But now that which I have called the tyranny of the human face began to
unfold itself.  Perhaps some part of my London life might be answerable
for this.  Be that as it may, now it was that upon the rocking waters of
the ocean the human face began to appear; the sea appeared paved with
innumerable faces upturned to the heavens--faces imploring, wrathful,
despairing, surged upwards by thousands, by myriads, by generations, by
centuries: my agitation was infinite; my mind tossed and surged with the

May 1818

The Malay has been a fearful enemy for months.  I have been every night,
through his means, transported into Asiatic scenes.  I know not whether
others share in my feelings on this point; but I have often thought that
if I were compelled to forego England, and to live in China, and among
Chinese manners and modes of life and scenery, I should go mad.  The
causes of my horror lie deep, and some of them must be common to others.
Southern Asia in general is the seat of awful images and associations.  As
the cradle of the human race, it would alone have a dim and reverential
feeling connected with it.  But there are other reasons.  No man can
pretend that the wild, barbarous, and capricious superstitions of Africa,
or of savage tribes elsewhere, affect him in the way that he is affected
by the ancient, monumental, cruel, and elaborate religions of Indostan,
&c.  The mere antiquity of Asiatic things, of their institutions,
histories, modes of faith, &c., is so impressive, that to me the vast age
of the race and name overpowers the sense of youth in the individual.  A
young Chinese seems to me an antediluvian man renewed.  Even Englishmen,
though not bred in any knowledge of such institutions, cannot but shudder
at the mystic sublimity of _castes_ that have flowed apart, and refused
to mix, through such immemorial tracts of time; nor can any man fail to
be awed by the names of the Ganges or the Euphrates.  It contributes much
to these feelings that southern Asia is, and has been for thousands of
years, the part of the earth most swarming with human life, the great
_officina gentium_.  Man is a weed in those regions.  The vast empires
also in which the enormous population of Asia has always been cast, give
a further sublimity to the feelings associated with all Oriental names or
images.  In China, over and above what it has in common with the rest of
southern Asia, I am terrified by the modes of life, by the manners, and
the barrier of utter abhorrence and want of sympathy placed between us by
feelings deeper than I can analyse.  I could sooner live with lunatics or
brute animals.  All this, and much more than I can say or have time to
say, the reader must enter into before he can comprehend the unimaginable
horror which these dreams of Oriental imagery and mythological tortures
impressed upon me.  Under the connecting feeling of tropical heat and
vertical sunlights I brought together all creatures, birds, beasts,
reptiles, all trees and plants, usages and appearances, that are found in
all tropical regions, and assembled them together in China or Indostan.
From kindred feelings, I soon brought Egypt and all her gods under the
same law.  I was stared at, hooted at, grinned at, chattered at, by
monkeys, by parroquets, by cockatoos.  I ran into pagodas, and was fixed
for centuries at the summit or in secret rooms: I was the idol; I was the
priest; I was worshipped; I was sacrificed.  I fled from the wrath of
Brama through all the forests of Asia: Vishnu hated me: Seeva laid wait
for me.  I came suddenly upon Isis and Osiris: I had done a deed, they
said, which the ibis and the crocodile trembled at.  I was buried for a
thousand years in stone coffins, with mummies and sphynxes, in narrow
chambers at the heart of eternal pyramids.  I was kissed, with cancerous
kisses, by crocodiles; and laid, confounded with all unutterable slimy
things, amongst reeds and Nilotic mud.

I thus give the reader some slight abstraction of my Oriental dreams,
which always filled me with such amazement at the monstrous scenery that
horror seemed absorbed for a while in sheer astonishment.  Sooner or
later came a reflux of feeling that swallowed up the astonishment, and
left me not so much in terror as in hatred and abomination of what I saw.
Over every form, and threat, and punishment, and dim sightless
incarceration, brooded a sense of eternity and infinity that drove me
into an oppression as of madness.  Into these dreams only it was, with
one or two slight exceptions, that any circumstances of physical horror
entered.  All before had been moral and spiritual terrors.  But here the
main agents were ugly birds, or snakes, or crocodiles; especially the
last.  The cursed crocodile became to me the object of more horror than
almost all the rest.  I was compelled to live with him, and (as was
always the case almost in my dreams) for centuries.  I escaped sometimes,
and found myself in Chinese houses, with cane tables, &c.  All the feet
of the tables, sofas, &c., soon became instinct with life: the abominable
head of the crocodile, and his leering eyes, looked out at me, multiplied
into a thousand repetitions; and I stood loathing and fascinated.  And so
often did this hideous reptile haunt my dreams that many times the very
same dream was broken up in the very same way: I heard gentle voices
speaking to me (I hear everything when I am sleeping), and instantly I
awoke.  It was broad noon, and my children were standing, hand in hand,
at my bedside--come to show me their coloured shoes, or new frocks, or to
let me see them dressed for going out.  I protest that so awful was the
transition from the damned crocodile, and the other unutterable monsters
and abortions of my dreams, to the sight of innocent _human_ natures and
of infancy, that in the mighty and sudden revulsion of mind I wept, and
could not forbear it, as I kissed their faces.

June 1819

I have had occasion to remark, at various periods of my life, that the
deaths of those whom we love, and indeed the contemplation of death
generally, is (_caeteris paribus_) more affecting in summer than in any
other season of the year.  And the reasons are these three, I think:
first, that the visible heavens in summer appear far higher, more
distant, and (if such a solecism may be excused) more infinite; the
clouds, by which chiefly the eye expounds the distance of the blue
pavilion stretched over our heads, are in summer more voluminous, massed
and accumulated in far grander and more towering piles.  Secondly, the
light and the appearances of the declining and the setting sun are much
more fitted to be types and characters of the Infinite.  And thirdly
(which is the main reason), the exuberant and riotous prodigality of life
naturally forces the mind more powerfully upon the antagonist thought of
death, and the wintry sterility of the grave.  For it may be observed
generally, that wherever two thoughts stand related to each other by a
law of antagonism, and exist, as it were, by mutual repulsion, they are
apt to suggest each other.  On these accounts it is that I find it
impossible to banish the thought of death when I am walking alone in the
endless days of summer; and any particular death, if not more affecting,
at least haunts my mind more obstinately and besiegingly in that season.
Perhaps this cause, and a slight incident which I omit, might have been
the immediate occasions of the following dream, to which, however, a
predisposition must always have existed in my mind; but having been once
roused it never left me, and split into a thousand fantastic varieties,
which often suddenly reunited, and composed again the original dream.

I thought that it was a Sunday morning in May, that it was Easter Sunday,
and as yet very early in the morning.  I was standing, as it seemed to
me, at the door of my own cottage.  Right before me lay the very scene
which could really be commanded from that situation, but exalted, as was
usual, and solemnised by the power of dreams.  There were the same
mountains, and the same lovely valley at their feet; but the mountains
were raised to more than Alpine height, and there was interspace far
larger between them of meadows and forest lawns; the hedges were rich
with white roses; and no living creature was to be seen, excepting that
in the green churchyard there were cattle tranquilly reposing upon the
verdant graves, and particularly round about the grave of a child whom I
had tenderly loved, just as I had really beheld them, a little before
sunrise in the same summer, when that child died.  I gazed upon the well-
known scene, and I said aloud (as I thought) to myself, "It yet wants
much of sunrise, and it is Easter Sunday; and that is the day on which
they celebrate the first fruits of resurrection.  I will walk abroad; old
griefs shall be forgotten to-day; for the air is cool and still, and the
hills are high and stretch away to heaven; and the forest glades are as
quiet as the churchyard, and with the dew I can wash the fever from my
forehead, and then I shall be unhappy no longer."  And I turned as if to
open my garden gate, and immediately I saw upon the left a scene far
different, but which yet the power of dreams had reconciled into harmony
with the other.  The scene was an Oriental one, and there also it was
Easter Sunday, and very early in the morning.  And at a vast distance
were visible, as a stain upon the horizon, the domes and cupolas of a
great city--an image or faint abstraction, caught perhaps in childhood
from some picture of Jerusalem.  And not a bow-shot from me, upon a stone
and shaded by Judean palms, there sat a woman, and I looked, and it
was--Ann!  She fixed her eyes upon me earnestly, and I said to her at
length: "So, then, I have found you at last."  I waited, but she answered
me not a word.  Her face was the same as when I saw it last, and yet
again how different!  Seventeen years ago, when the lamplight fell upon
her face, as for the last time I kissed her lips (lips, Ann, that to me
were not polluted), her eyes were streaming with tears: the tears were
now wiped away; she seemed more beautiful than she was at that time, but
in all other points the same, and not older.  Her looks were tranquil,
but with unusual solemnity of expression, and I now gazed upon her with
some awe; but suddenly her countenance grew dim, and turning to the
mountains I perceived vapours rolling between us.  In a moment all had
vanished, thick darkness came on, and in the twinkling of an eye I was
far away from mountains, and by lamplight in Oxford Street, walking again
with Ann--just as we walked seventeen years before, when we were both

As a final specimen, I cite one of a different character, from 1820.

The dream commenced with a music which now I often heard in dreams--a
music of preparation and of awakening suspense, a music like the opening
of the Coronation Anthem, and which, like _that_, gave the feeling of a
vast march, of infinite cavalcades filing off, and the tread of
innumerable armies.  The morning was come of a mighty day--a day of
crisis and of final hope for human nature, then suffering some mysterious
eclipse, and labouring in some dread extremity.  Somewhere, I knew not
where--somehow, I knew not how--by some beings, I knew not whom--a
battle, a strife, an agony, was conducting, was evolving like a great
drama or piece of music, with which my sympathy was the more
insupportable from my confusion as to its place, its cause, its nature,
and its possible issue.  I, as is usual in dreams (where of necessity we
make ourselves central to every movement), had the power, and yet had not
the power, to decide it.  I had the power, if I could raise myself to
will it, and yet again had not the power, for the weight of twenty
Atlantics was upon me, or the oppression of inexpiable guilt.  "Deeper
than ever plummet sounded," I lay inactive.  Then like a chorus the
passion deepened.  Some greater interest was at stake, some mightier
cause than ever yet the sword had pleaded, or trumpet had proclaimed.
Then came sudden alarms, hurryings to and fro, trepidations of
innumerable fugitives--I knew not whether from the good cause or the bad,
darkness and lights, tempest and human faces, and at last, with the sense
that all was lost, female forms, and the features that were worth all the
world to me, and but a moment allowed--and clasped hands, and
heart-breaking partings, and then--everlasting farewells!  And with a
sigh, such as the caves of Hell sighed when the incestuous mother uttered
the abhorred name of death, the sound was reverberated--everlasting
farewells!  And again and yet again reverberated--everlasting farewells!

And I awoke in struggles, and cried aloud--"I will sleep no more."

But I am now called upon to wind up a narrative which has already
extended to an unreasonable length.  Within more spacious limits the
materials which I have used might have been better unfolded, and much
which I have not used might have been added with effect.  Perhaps,
however, enough has been given.  It now remains that I should say
something of the way in which this conflict of horrors was finally
brought to a crisis.  The reader is already aware (from a passage near
the beginning of the introduction to the first part) that the Opium-eater
has, in some way or other, "unwound almost to its final links the
accursed chain which bound him."  By what means?  To have narrated this
according to the original intention would have far exceeded the space
which can now be allowed.  It is fortunate, as such a cogent reason
exists for abridging it, that I should, on a maturer view of the case,
have been exceedingly unwilling to injure, by any such unaffecting
details, the impression of the history itself, as an appeal to the
prudence and the conscience of the yet unconfirmed opium-eater--or even
(though a very inferior consideration) to injure its effect as a
composition.  The interest of the judicious reader will not attach itself
chiefly to the subject of the fascinating spells, but to the fascinating
power.  Not the Opium-eater, but the opium, is the true hero of the tale,
and the legitimate centre on which the interest revolves.  The object was
to display the marvellous agency of opium, whether for pleasure or for
pain: if that is done, the action of the piece has closed.

However, as some people, in spite of all laws to the contrary, will
persist in asking what became of the Opium-eater, and in what state he
now is, I answer for him thus: The reader is aware that opium had long
ceased to found its empire on spells of pleasure; it was solely by the
tortures connected with the attempt to abjure it that it kept its hold.
Yet, as other tortures, no less it may be thought, attended the
non-abjuration of such a tyrant, a choice only of evils was left; and
_that_ might as well have been adopted which, however terrific in itself,
held out a prospect of final restoration to happiness.  This appears
true; but good logic gave the author no strength to act upon it.  However,
a crisis arrived for the author's life, and a crisis for other objects
still dearer to him--and which will always be far dearer to him than his
life, even now that it is again a happy one.  I saw that I must die if I
continued the opium.  I determined, therefore, if that should be
required, to die in throwing it off.  How much I was at that time taking
I cannot say, for the opium which I used had been purchased for me by a
friend, who afterwards refused to let me pay him; so that I could not
ascertain even what quantity I had used within the year.  I apprehend,
however, that I took it very irregularly, and that I varied from about
fifty or sixty grains to 150 a day.  My first task was to reduce it to
forty, to thirty, and as fast as I could to twelve grains.

I triumphed.  But think not, reader, that therefore my sufferings were
ended, nor think of me as of one sitting in a _dejected_ state.  Think of
me as one, even when four months had passed, still agitated, writhing,
throbbing, palpitating, shattered, and much perhaps in the situation of
him who has been racked, as I collect the torments of that state from the
affecting account of them left by a most innocent sufferer {20} of the
times of James I.  Meantime, I derived no benefit from any medicine,
except one prescribed to me by an Edinburgh surgeon of great eminence,
viz., ammoniated tincture of valerian.  Medical account, therefore, of my
emancipation I have not much to give, and even that little, as managed by
a man so ignorant of medicine as myself, would probably tend only to
mislead.  At all events, it would be misplaced in this situation.  The
moral of the narrative is addressed to the opium-eater, and therefore of
necessity limited in its application.  If he is taught to fear and
tremble, enough has been effected.  But he may say that the issue of my
case is at least a proof that opium, after a seventeen years' use and an
eight years' abuse of its powers, may still be renounced, and that _he_
may chance to bring to the task greater energy than I did, or that with a
stronger constitution than mine he may obtain the same results with less.
This may be true.  I would not presume to measure the efforts of other
men by my own.  I heartily wish him more energy.  I wish him the same
success.  Nevertheless, I had motives external to myself which he may
unfortunately want, and these supplied me with conscientious supports
which mere personal interests might fail to supply to a mind debilitated
by opium.

Jeremy Taylor conjectures that it may be as painful to be born as to die.
I think it probable; and during the whole period of diminishing the opium
I had the torments of a man passing out of one mode of existence into
another.  The issue was not death, but a sort of physical regeneration;
and I may add that ever since, at intervals, I have had a restoration of
more than youthful spirits, though under the pressure of difficulties
which in a less happy state of mind I should have called misfortunes.

One memorial of my former condition still remains--my dreams are not yet
perfectly calm; the dread swell and agitation of the storm have not
wholly subsided; the legions that encamped in them are drawing off, but
not all departed; my sleep is still tumultuous, and, like the gates of
Paradise to our first parents when looking back from afar, it is still
(in the tremendous line of Milton)

   With dreadful faces throng'd, and fiery arms.


From the "London Magazine" for December 1822.

The interest excited by the two papers bearing this title, in our numbers
for September and October 1821, will have kept our promise of a Third
Part fresh in the remembrance of our readers.  That we are still unable
to fulfil our engagement in its original meaning will, we, are sure, be
matter of regret to them as to ourselves, especially when they have
perused the following affecting narrative.  It was composed for the
purpose of being appended to an edition of the Confessions in a separate
volume, which is already before the public, and we have reprinted it
entire, that our subscribers may be in possession of the whole of this
extraordinary history.

* * * * *

The proprietors of this little work having determined on reprinting it,
some explanation seems called for, to account for the non-appearance of a
third part promised in the _London Magazine_ of December last; and the
more so because the proprietors, under whose guarantee that promise was
issued, might otherwise be implicated in the blame--little or
much--attached to its non-fulfilment.  This blame, in mere justice, the
author takes wholly upon himself.  What may be the exact amount of the
guilt which he thus appropriates is a very dark question to his own
judgment, and not much illuminated by any of the masters in casuistry
whom he has consulted on the occasion.  On the one hand it seems
generally agreed that a promise is binding in the inverse ratio of the
numbers to whom it is made; for which reason it is that we see many
persons break promises without scruple that are made to a whole nation,
who keep their faith religiously in all private engagements, breaches of
promise towards the stronger party being committed at a man's own peril;
on the other hand, the only parties interested in the promises of an
author are his readers, and these it is a point of modesty in any author
to believe as few as possible--or perhaps only one, in which case any
promise imposes a sanctity of moral obligation which it is shocking to
think of.  Casuistry dismissed, however, the author throws himself on the
indulgent consideration of all who may conceive themselves aggrieved by
his delay, in the following account of his own condition from the end of
last year, when the engagement was made, up nearly to the present time.
For any purpose of self-excuse it might be sufficient to say that
intolerable bodily suffering had totally disabled him for almost any
exertion of mind, more especially for such as demands and presupposes a
pleasurable and genial state of feeling; but, as a case that may by
possibility contribute a trifle to the medical history of opium, in a
further stage of its action than can often have been brought under the
notice of professional men, he has judged that it might be acceptable to
some readers to have it described more at length.  _Fiat experimentum in
corpore vili_ is a just rule where there is any reasonable presumption of
benefit to arise on a large scale.  What the benefit may be will admit of
a doubt, but there can be none as to the value of the body; for a more
worthless body than his own the author is free to confess cannot be.  It
is his pride to believe that it is the very ideal of a base, crazy,
despicable human system, that hardly ever could have been meant to be
seaworthy for two days under the ordinary storms and wear and tear of
life; and indeed, if that were the creditable way of disposing of human
bodies, he must own that he should almost be ashamed to bequeath his
wretched structure to any respectable dog.  But now to the case, which,
for the sake of avoiding the constant recurrence of a cumbersome
periphrasis, the author will take the liberty of giving in the first

* * * * *

Those who have read the Confessions will have closed them with the
impression that I had wholly renounced the use of opium.  This impression
I meant to convey, and that for two reasons: first, because the very act
of deliberately recording such a state of suffering necessarily presumes
in the recorder a power of surveying his own case as a cool spectator,
and a degree of spirits for adequately describing it which it would be
inconsistent to suppose in any person speaking from the station of an
actual sufferer; secondly, because I, who had descended from so large a
quantity as 8,000 drops to so small a one (comparatively speaking) as a
quantity ranging between 300 and 160 drops, might well suppose that the
victory was in effect achieved.  In suffering my readers, therefore, to
think of me as of a reformed opium-eater, I left no impression but what I
shared myself; and, as may be seen, even this impression was left to be
collected from the general tone of the conclusion, and not from any
specific words, which are in no instance at variance with the literal
truth.  In no long time after that paper was written I became sensible
that the effort which remained would cost me far more energy than I had
anticipated, and the necessity for making it was more apparent every
month.  In particular I became aware of an increasing callousness or
defect of sensibility in the stomach, and this I imagined might imply a
scirrhous state of that organ, either formed or forming.  An eminent
physician, to whose kindness I was at that time deeply indebted, informed
me that such a termination of my case was not impossible, though likely
to be forestalled by a different termination in the event of my
continuing the use of opium.  Opium therefore I resolved wholly to abjure
as soon as I should find myself at liberty to bend my undivided attention
and energy to this purpose.  It was not, however, until the 24th of June
last that any tolerable concurrence of facilities for such an attempt
arrived.  On that day I began my experiment, having previously settled in
my own mind that I would not flinch, but would "stand up to the scratch"
under any possible "punishment."  I must premise that about 170 or 180
drops had been my ordinary allowance for many months; occasionally I had
run up as high as 500, and once nearly to 700; in repeated preludes to my
final experiment I had also gone as low as 100 drops; but had found it
impossible to stand it beyond the fourth day--which, by the way, I have
always found more difficult to get over than any of the preceding three.
I went off under easy sail--130 drops a day for three days; on the fourth
I plunged at once to 80.  The misery which I now suffered "took the
conceit" out of me at once, and for about a month I continued off and on
about this mark; then I sunk to 60, and the next day to--none at all.
This was the first day for nearly ten years that I had existed without
opium.  I persevered in my abstinence for ninety hours; i.e., upwards of
half a week.  Then I took--ask me not how much; say, ye severest, what
would ye have done?  Then I abstained again--then took about 25 drops
then abstained; and so on.

Meantime the symptoms which attended my case for the first six weeks of
my experiment were these: enormous irritability and excitement of the
whole system; the stomach in particular restored to a full feeling of
vitality and sensibility, but often in great pain; unceasing restlessness
night and day; sleep--I scarcely knew what it was; three hours out of the
twenty-four was the utmost I had, and that so agitated and shallow that I
heard every sound that was near me.  Lower jaw constantly swelling, mouth
ulcerated, and many other distressing symptoms that would be tedious to
repeat; amongst which, however, I must mention one, because it had never
failed to accompany any attempt to renounce opium--viz., violent
sternutation.  This now became exceedingly troublesome, sometimes lasting
for two hours at once, and recurring at least twice or three times a day.
I was not much surprised at this on recollecting what I had somewhere
heard or read, that the membrane which lines the nostrils is a
prolongation of that which lines the stomach; whence, I believe, are
explained the inflammatory appearances about the nostrils of dram
drinkers.  The sudden restoration of its original sensibility to the
stomach expressed itself, I suppose, in this way.  It is remarkable also
that during the whole period of years through which I had taken opium I
had never once caught cold (as the phrase is), nor even the slightest
cough.  But now a violent cold attacked me, and a cough soon after.  In
an unfinished fragment of a letter begun about this time to--I find these
words: "You ask me to write the--Do you know Beaumont and Fletcher's play
of "Thierry and Theodore"?  There you will see my case as to sleep; nor
is it much of an exaggeration in other features.  I protest to you that I
have a greater influx of thoughts in one hour at present than in a whole
year under the reign of opium.  It seems as though all the thoughts which
had been frozen up for a decade of years by opium had now, according to
the old fable, been thawed at once--such a multitude stream in upon me
from all quarters.  Yet such is my impatience and hideous irritability
that for one which I detain and write down fifty escape me: in spite of
my weariness from suffering and want of sleep, I cannot stand still or
sit for two minutes together.  'I nunc, et versus tecum meditare

At this stage of my experiment I sent to a neighbouring surgeon,
requesting that he would come over to see me.  In the evening he came;
and after briefly stating the case to him, I asked this question; Whether
he did not think that the opium might have acted as a stimulus to the
digestive organs, and that the present state of suffering in the stomach,
which manifestly was the cause of the inability to sleep, might arise
from indigestion?  His answer was; No; on the contrary, he thought that
the suffering was caused by digestion itself, which should naturally go
on below the consciousness, but which from the unnatural state of the
stomach, vitiated by so long a use of opium, was become distinctly
perceptible.  This opinion was plausible; and the unintermitting nature
of the suffering disposes me to think that it was true, for if it had
been any mere _irregular_ affection of the stomach, it should naturally
have intermitted occasionally, and constantly fluctuated as to degree.
The intention of nature, as manifested in the healthy state, obviously is
to withdraw from our notice all the vital motions, such as the
circulation of the blood, the expansion and contraction of the lungs, the
peristaltic action of the stomach, &c., and opium, it seems, is able in
this, as in other instances, to counteract her purposes.  By the advice
of the surgeon I tried _bitters_.  For a short time these greatly
mitigated the feelings under which I laboured, but about the forty-second
day of the experiment the symptoms already noticed began to retire, and
new ones to arise of a different and far more tormenting class; under
these, but with a few intervals of remission, I have since continued to
suffer.  But I dismiss them undescribed for two reasons: first, because
the mind revolts from retracing circumstantially any sufferings from
which it is removed by too short or by no interval.  To do this with
minuteness enough to make the review of any use would be indeed _infandum
renovare dolorem_, and possibly without a sufficient motive; for
secondly, I doubt whether this latter state be anyway referable to
opium--positively considered, or even negatively; that is, whether it is
to be numbered amongst the last evils from the direct action of opium, or
even amongst the earliest evils consequent upon a _want_ of opium in a
system long deranged by its use.  Certainly one part of the symptoms
might be accounted for from the time of year (August), for though the
summer was not a hot one, yet in any case the sum of all the heat
_funded_ (if one may say so) during the previous months, added to the
existing heat of that month, naturally renders August in its better half
the hottest part of the year; and it so happened that--the excessive
perspiration which even at Christmas attends any great reduction in the
daily quantum of opium--and which in July was so violent as to oblige me
to use a bath five or six times a day--had about the setting-in of the
hottest season wholly retired, on which account any bad effect of the
heat might be the more unmitigated.  Another symptom--viz., what in my
ignorance I call internal rheumatism (sometimes affecting the shoulders,
&c., but more often appearing to be seated in the stomach)--seemed again
less probably attributable to the opium, or the want of opium, than to
the dampness of the house {21} which I inhabit, which had about this time
attained its maximum, July having been, as usual, a month of incessant
rain in our most rainy part of England.

Under these reasons for doubting whether opium had any connexion with the
latter stage of my bodily wretchedness--except, indeed, as an occasional
cause, as having left the body weaker and more crazy, and thus
predisposed to any mal-influence whatever--I willingly spare my reader
all description of it; let it perish to him, and would that I could as
easily say let it perish to my own remembrances, that any future hours of
tranquillity may not be disturbed by too vivid an ideal of possible human

So much for the sequel of my experiment.  As to the former stage, in
which probably lies the experiment and its application to other cases, I
must request my reader not to forget the reasons for which I have
recorded it.  These were two: First, a belief that I might add some
trifle to the history of opium as a medical agent.  In this I am aware
that I have not at all fulfilled my own intentions, in consequence of the
torpor of mind, pain of body, and extreme disgust to the subject which
besieged me whilst writing that part of my paper; which part being
immediately sent off to the press (distant about five degrees of
latitude), cannot be corrected or improved.  But from this account,
rambling as it may be, it is evident that thus much of benefit may arise
to the persons most interested in such a history of opium, viz., to opium-
eaters in general, that it establishes, for their consolation and
encouragement, the fact that opium may be renounced, and without greater
sufferings than an ordinary resolution may support, and by a pretty rapid
course {22} of descent.

To communicate this result of my experiment was my foremost purpose.
Secondly, as a purpose collateral to this, I wished to explain how it had
become impossible for me to compose a Third Part in time to accompany
this republication; for during the time of this experiment the
proof-sheets of this reprint were sent to me from London, and such was my
inability to expand or to improve them, that I could not even bear to
read them over with attention enough to notice the press errors or to
correct any verbal inaccuracies.  These were my reasons for troubling my
reader with any record, long or short, of experiments relating to so
truly base a subject as my own body; and I am earnest with the reader
that he will not forget them, or so far misapprehend me as to believe it
possible that I would condescend to so rascally a subject for its own
sake, or indeed for any less object than that of general benefit to
others.  Such an animal as the self-observing valetudinarian I know there
is; I have met him myself occasionally, and I know that he is the worst
imaginable _heautontimoroumenos_; aggravating and sustaining, by calling
into distinct consciousness, every symptom that would else perhaps, under
a different direction given to the thoughts, become evanescent.  But as
to myself, so profound is my contempt for this undignified and selfish
habit, that I could as little condescend to it as I could to spend my
time in watching a poor servant girl, to whom at this moment I hear some
lad or other making love at the back of my house.  Is it for a
Transcendental Philosopher to feel any curiosity on such an occasion?  Or
can I, whose life is worth only eight and a half years' purchase, be
supposed to have leisure for such trivial employments?  However, to put
this out of question, I shall say one thing, which will perhaps shock
some readers, but I am sure it ought not to do so, considering the
motives on which I say it.  No man, I suppose, employs much of his time
on the phenomena of his own body without some regard for it; whereas the
reader sees that, so far from looking upon mine with any complacency or
regard, I hate it, and make it the object of my bitter ridicule and
contempt; and I should not be displeased to know that the last
indignities which the law inflicts upon the bodies of the worst
malefactors might hereafter fall upon it.  And, in testification of my
sincerity in saying this, I shall make the following offer.  Like other
men, I have particular fancies about the place of my burial; having lived
chiefly in a mountainous region, I rather cleave to the conceit, that a
grave in a green churchyard amongst the ancient and solitary hills will
be a sublimer and more tranquil place of repose for a philosopher than
any in the hideous Golgothas of London.  Yet if the gentlemen of
Surgeons' Hall think that any benefit can redound to their science from
inspecting the appearances in the body of an opium-eater, let them speak
but a word, and I will take care that mine shall be legally secured to
them--i.e., as soon as I have done with it myself.  Let them not hesitate
to express their wishes upon any scruples of false delicacy and
consideration for my feelings; I assure them they will do me too much
honour by "demonstrating" on such a crazy body as mine, and it will give
me pleasure to anticipate this posthumous revenge and insult inflicted
upon that which has caused me so much suffering in this life.  Such
bequests are not common; reversionary benefits contingent upon the death
of the testator are indeed dangerous to announce in many cases: of this
we have a remarkable instance in the habits of a Roman prince, who used,
upon any notification made to him by rich persons that they had left him
a handsome estate in their wills, to express his entire satisfaction at
such arrangements and his gracious acceptance of those loyal legacies;
but then, if the testators neglected to give him immediate possession of
the property, if they traitorously "persisted in living" (_si vivere
perseverarent_, as Suetonius expresses it), he was highly provoked, and
took his measures accordingly.  In those times, and from one of the worst
of the Caesars, we might expect such conduct; but I am sure that from
English surgeons at this day I need look for no expressions of
impatience, or of any other feelings but such as are answerable to that
pure love of science and all its interests which induces me to make such
an offer.

Sept 30, 1822


{1}  "Not yet _recorded_," I say; for there is one celebrated man of the
present day, who, if all be true which is reported of him, has greatly
exceeded me in quantity.

{2}  A third exception might perhaps have been added; and my reason for
not adding that exception is chiefly because it was only in his juvenile
efforts that the writer whom I allude to expressly addressed hints to
philosophical themes; his riper powers having been all dedicated (on very
excusable and very intelligible grounds, under the present direction of
the popular mind in England) to criticism and the Fine Arts.  This reason
apart, however, I doubt whether he is not rather to be considered an
acute thinker than a subtle one.  It is, besides, a great drawback on his
mastery over philosophical subjects that he has obviously not had the
advantage of a regular scholastic education: he has not read Plato in his
youth (which most likely was only his misfortune), but neither has he
read Kant in his manhood (which is his fault).

{3}  I disclaim any allusion to _existing_ professors, of whom indeed I
know only one.

{4}  To this same Jew, by the way, some eighteen months afterwards, I
applied again on the same business; and, dating at that time from a
respectable college, I was fortunate enough to gain his serious attention
to my proposals.  My necessities had not arisen from any extravagance or
youthful levities (these my habits and the nature of my pleasures raised
me far above), but simply from the vindictive malice of my guardian, who,
when he found himself no longer able to prevent me from going to the
university, had, as a parting token of his good nature, refused to sign
an order for granting me a shilling beyond the allowance made to me at
school--viz., 100 pounds per annum.  Upon this sum it was in my time
barely possible to have lived in college, and not possible to a man who,
though above the paltry affectation of ostentatious disregard for money,
and without any expensive tastes, confided nevertheless rather too much
in servants, and did not delight in the petty details of minute economy.
I soon, therefore, became embarrassed, and at length, after a most
voluminous negotiation with the Jew (some parts of which, if I had
leisure to rehearse them, would greatly amuse my readers), I was put in
possession of the sum I asked for, on the "regular" terms of paying the
Jew seventeen and a half per cent. by way of annuity on all the money
furnished; Israel, on his part, graciously resuming no more than about
ninety guineas of the said money, on account of an attorney's bill (for
what services, to whom rendered, and when, whether at the siege of
Jerusalem, at the building of the second Temple, or on some earlier
occasion, I have not yet been able to discover).  How many perches this
bill measured I really forget; but I still keep it in a cabinet of
natural curiosities, and some time or other I believe I shall present it
to the British Museum.

{5}  The Bristol mail is the best appointed in the Kingdom, owing to the
double advantages of an unusually good road and of an extra sum for the
expenses subscribed by the Bristol merchants.

{6}  It will be objected that many men, of the highest rank and wealth,
have in our own day, as well as throughout our history, been amongst the
foremost in courting danger in battle.  True; but this is not the case
supposed; long familiarity with power has to them deadened its effect and
its attractions.

{7}  [Greek text].

{8}  [Greek text].  EURIP.  Orest.

{9}  [Greek text].

{10}  [Greek text].  The scholar will know that throughout this passage I
refer to the early scenes of the Orestes; one of the most beautiful
exhibitions of the domestic affections which even the dramas of Euripides
can furnish.  To the English reader it may be necessary to say that the
situation at the opening of the drama is that of a brother attended only
by his sister during the demoniacal possession of a suffering conscience
(or, in the mythology of the play, haunted by the Furies), and in
circumstances of immediate danger from enemies, and of desertion or cold
regard from nominal friends.

{11}  _Evanesced_: this way of going off the stage of life appears to
have been well known in the 17th century, but at that time to have been
considered a peculiar privilege of blood-royal, and by no means to be
allowed to druggists.  For about the year 1686 a poet of rather ominous
name (and who, by-the-bye, did ample justice to his name), viz., Mr.
_Flat-man_, in speaking of the death of Charles II. expresses his
surprise that any prince should commit so absurd an act as dying,
because, says he,

   "Kings should disdain to die, and only _disappear_."

They should _abscond_, that is, into the other world.

{12}  Of this, however, the learned appear latterly to have doubted; for
in a pirated edition of Buchan's _Domestic Medicine_, which I once saw in
the hands of a farmer's wife, who was studying it for the benefit of her
health, the Doctor was made to say--"Be particularly careful never to
take above five-and-twenty _ounces_ of laudanum at once;" the true
reading being probably five-and-twenty _drops_, which are held equal to
about one grain of crude opium.

{13}  Amongst the great herd of travellers, &c., who show sufficiently by
their stupidity that they never held any intercourse with opium, I must
caution my readers specially against the brilliant author of
_Anastasius_.  This gentleman, whose wit would lead one to presume him an
opium-eater, has made it impossible to consider him in that character,
from the grievous misrepresentation which he gives of its effects at pp.
215-17 of vol. i.  Upon consideration it must appear such to the author
himself, for, waiving the errors I have insisted on in the text, which
(and others) are adopted in the fullest manner, he will himself admit
that an old gentleman "with a snow-white beard," who eats "ample doses of
opium," and is yet able to deliver what is meant and received as very
weighty counsel on the bad effects of that practice, is but an
indifferent evidence that opium either kills people prematurely or sends
them into a madhouse.  But for my part, I see into this old gentleman and
his motives: the fact is, he was enamoured of "the little golden
receptacle of the pernicious drug" which Anastasius carried about him;
and no way of obtaining it so safe and so feasible occurred as that of
frightening its owner out of his wits (which, by the bye, are none of the
strongest).  This commentary throws a new light upon the case, and
greatly improves it as a story; for the old gentleman's speech,
considered as a lecture on pharmacy, is highly absurd; but considered as
a hoax on Anastasius, it reads excellently.

{14}  I have not the book at this moment to consult; but I think the
passage begins--"And even that tavern music, which makes one man merry,
another mad, in me strikes a deep fit of devotion," &c.

{15}  A handsome newsroom, of which I was very politely made free in
passing through Manchester by several gentlemen of that place, is called,
I think, _The Porch_; whence I, who am a stranger in Manchester, inferred
that the subscribers meant to profess themselves followers of Zeno.  But
I have been since assured that this is a mistake.

{16}  I here reckon twenty-five drops of laudanum as equivalent to one
grain of opium, which, I believe, is the common estimate.  However, as
both may be considered variable quantities (the crude opium varying much
in strength, and the tincture still more), I suppose that no
infinitesimal accuracy can be had in such a calculation.  Teaspoons vary
as much in size as opium in strength.  Small ones hold about 100 drops;
so that 8,000 drops are about eighty times a teaspoonful.  The reader
sees how much I kept within Dr. Buchan's indulgent allowance.

{17}  This, however, is not a necessary conclusion; the varieties of
effect produced by opium on different constitutions are infinite.  A
London magistrate (Harriott's _Struggles through Life_, vol. iii. p. 391,
third edition) has recorded that, on the first occasion of his trying
laudanum for the gout he took _forty_ drops, the next night _sixty_, and
on the fifth night _eighty_, without any effect whatever; and this at an
advanced age.  I have an anecdote from a country surgeon, however, which
sinks Mr. Harriott's case into a trifle; and in my projected medical
treatise on opium, which I will publish provided the College of Surgeons
will pay me for enlightening their benighted understandings upon this
subject, I will relate it; but it is far too good a story to be published

{18}  See the common accounts in any Eastern traveller or voyager of the
frantic excesses committed by Malays who have taken opium, or are reduced
to desperation by ill-luck at gambling.

{19}  The reader must remember what I here mean by _thinking_, because
else this would be a very presumptuous expression.  England, of late, has
been rich to excess in fine thinkers, in the departments of creative and
combining thought; but there is a sad dearth of masculine thinkers in any
analytic path.  A Scotchman of eminent name has lately told us that he is
obliged to quit even mathematics for want of encouragement.

{20}  William Lithgow.  His book (Travels, &c.) is ill and pedantically
written; but the account of his own sufferings on the rack at Malaga is
overpoweringly affecting.

{21}  In saying this I mean no disrespect to the individual house, as the
reader will understand when I tell him that, with the exception of one or
two princely mansions, and some few inferior ones that have been coated
with Roman cement, I am not acquainted with any house in this mountainous
district which is wholly waterproof.  The architecture of books, I
flatter myself, is conducted on just principles in this country; but for
any other architecture, it is in a barbarous state, and what is worse, in
a retrograde state.

{22}  On which last notice I would remark that mine was _too_ rapid, and
the suffering therefore needlessly aggravated; or rather, perhaps, it was
not sufficiently continuous and equably graduated.  But that the reader
may judge for himself, and above all that the Opium-eater, who is
preparing to retire from business, may have every sort of information
before him, I subjoin my diary:--

First Week                   Second Week
       Drops of Laud.           Drops of Laud.
Mond. June 24 ... 130    Mond. July  1 ...  80
           25 ... 140                2 ...  80
           26 ... 130                3 ...  90
           27 ...  80                4 ... 100
           28 ...  80                5 ...  80
           29 ...  80                6 ...  80
           30 ...  80                7 ...  80
Third Week                   Fourth Week
Mond. July  8 ... 300    Mond. July 15 ...  76
            9 ...  50               16 ...  73.5
           10 }                     17 ...  73.5
           11 } Hiatus in           18 ...  70
           12 } MS.                 19 ... 240
           13 }                     20 ...  80
           14 ...  76               21 ... 350
Fifth Week
Mond. July 22 ...  60
           23 ... none.
           24 ... none.
           25 ... none.
           26 ... 200
           27 ... none.

What mean these abrupt relapses, the reader will ask perhaps, to such
numbers as 300, 350, &c.?  The _impulse_ to these relapses was mere
infirmity of purpose; the _motive_, where any motive blended with this
impulse, was either the principle, of "_reculer pour mieux sauter_;" (for
under the torpor of a large dose, which lasted for a day or two, a less
quantity satisfied the stomach, which on awakening found itself partly
accustomed to this new ration); or else it was this principle--that of
sufferings otherwise equal, those will be borne best which meet with a
mood of anger.  Now, whenever I ascended to my large dose I was furiously
incensed on the following day, and could then have borne anything.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Confessions of an English Opium-Eater" ***

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