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                              THE HERB DANGEROUS

                                   PART IV

                      A FEW EXTRACTS FROM H. G. LUDLOW,

                              THE HASHEESH EATER

                         WHICH BEAR UPON THE PECULIAR
                            CHARACTERISTICS OF THE
                                DRUG'S ACTION








                              THE HASHEESH EATER


FOR a place, New York for instance, a stranger accounts, not by saying that
any one of the many who testify to its existence copied from another, but by
acknowledging "there is such a place."  So do I account for the fact by saying
"there is such a fact."

   We try to imitate Eastern narrative, but in vain.  Our minds can find no
clew to its strange untrodden by-ways of speculation; our highest soarings are
still in an atmosphere which feels heavy with the reek and damp of ordinary
life.
   We fail to account for those storm-wrapped peaks of sublimity which hover
over the path of Oriental story, or those beauties which, like rivers of
Paradise, make music beside it.
   We are all of us taught to say, "The children of the East live under a
sunnier sky than their Western brethren: they are the "repositors" of centuries
of tradition; their semi-civilised imagination is unbound by the fetters of
logic and the schools."  But the Ionians once answered all these conditions,
yet Homer sang no Eblis, no superhuman journey on the wings of genii through
infinitudes of rosy either.  At one period of their history, France, Germany,
and England abounded in all the characteristics of the untutored Old World
mind, yet when did an echo of oriental music ring from the lute of minstrel,
{243} "minnesinger," or "trovŠre?"  The difference can not be accounted for by
climate, religion, or manners.  It is not the supernatural in Arabian story
which is inexplicable, but the peculiar phase of the supernatural both in
beauty and terror.
   I say inexplicable, because to me, in common with all around me, it bore
this character for years.  In later days, I believe, and now with all due
modesty assert, I unlocked the secret, not by a hypothesis, not by processes
of reasoning, but by journeying through those self-same fields of weird
experience which are dinted by the sandals of the glorious old dreamers of the
East.  Standing on the same mounts of vision where they stood, listening to
the same gurgling melody that broke from their enchanted fountains, yes,
plunging into their rayless caverns of sorcery, and imprisoned with their
genie in the unutterable silence of the fathomless sea, have I dearly bought
the right to come to men with the chart of my wanderings in my hands, and
unfold to them the foundations of the fabric of Oriental story.
   The secret lies in the use of hasheesh.  A very few words will suffice to
tell what hasheesh is.  In northern latitudes the hemp plant ("Cannabis sativa")
grows almost entirely to fibre, becoming, in virtue of this quality, the great
resource for mats and cordage.  Under a southern sun this same plant loses its
fibrous texture, but secretes, in quantities equal to one-third of its bulk,
and opaque and greenish resin.  Between the northern and the southern hemp
there is no difference, except the effect of diversity of climate upon the
same vegetable essence; yet naturalists, misled by the much greater extent of
gummy secretion in the later, have distinguished it from its brother of the
colder soil by the name "Cannabis indica."  The {244} resin of the "Cannabis"
"indica" is hasheesh.  From time immemorial it has been known among all the
nations of the East as possessing powerful stimulant and narcotic properties;
throughout Turkey, Persia, Nepaul, and India it is used at this day among all
classes of society as an habitual indulgence.  The forms in which it is
employed are various.  sometimes it appears in the state in which it exudes
from the mature stalk, as a crude resin; sometimes it is manufactured into a
conserve with clarified butter, honey, and spices; sometimes a decoction is
made of the flowering tops in water or arrack.  Under either of these forms
the method of administration is by swallowing.  Again, the dried plant is
smoked in pipes of chewed, as tobacco among ourselves.
   ... a pill sufficient to balance the ten-grain weight of the scales.  This,
upon the authority of Pereira and the Dispensatory, I swallowed without a
tremor as to the danger of the result.
   Making all due allowance for the fact that I had not taken my hasheesh
bolus fasting, I ought to experience its effects within the next four hours.
That time elapsed without bringing the shadow of a phenomenon.  It was plain
that my dose had been insufficient.
   For the sake of observing the most conservative prudence, I suffered
several days to go by without a repetition of the experiment, and then,
keeping the matter equally secret, I administered to myself a pill of fifteen
grains.  This second was equally ineffectual with the first.
   Gradually, by five grains at a time, I increased the dose to thirty grains,
which I took one evening half an hour after tea. {245}
   I had now almost come to the conclusion that I was absolutely unsusceptible
of the hasheesh influence.  Without any expectation that this last experiment
would be more successful than the former ones, and indeed with no realization
of the manner in which the drug affected those who did make the experiment
successfully, I went to pass the evening at the house of an intimate friend.
In music and conversation the time passed pleasantly.  The clock struck ten,
reminding me that three hours had elapsed since the dose was taken, and as yet
not an unusual symptom had appeared.  I was provoked to think that this trial
was as fruitless as its predecessors.
   Ha! what means this sudden thrill?  A shock, as of some unimagined vital
force, shoots without warning through my entire frame, leaping to my fingers'
ends, piercing my brain, startling me till I almost spring from my chair.
   I could not doubt it.  I was in the power of the hasheesh influence.  My
first emotion was one of uncontrollable terror --- a sense of getting
something which I had not bargained for.  That moment I would have given all I
had or hoped to have to be as I was three hours before.
   No pain anywhere --- not a twinge in any fibre --- yet a cloud of
unutterable strangeness was settling upon me, and wrapping me impenetrably in
from all that was natural or familiar.

   As I heard once more the alien and unreal tones of my own voice, I became
convinced that it was some one else who spoke, and in another world.  I sat
and listened; still the voice kept speaking.  Now for the first time I
experienced that vast change which hasheesh makes in all measurements of time.
The first world of the reply occupied a period sufficient {246} for the action
of a drama; the last left me in complete ignorance of any point far enough
back in the past to date the commencement of the sentence.  Its enunciation
might have occupied years.  I was not in the same life which had held me when
I heard it begun.
   And now, with time, space expanded also.  At my friend's house one
particular arm-chair was always reserved for me.  I was sitting in it at a
distance of hardly three feet from the centre table around which the members
of the family were grouped.  Rapidly that distance widened.  The whole
atmosphere seemed ductile, and spun endlessly out into great spaces
surrounding me on every side.  We were in a vast hall, of which my friends and
I occupied opposite extremities.  The ceiling and the walls ran upward with a
gliding motion as if vivified by a sudden force of resistless growth.
   Oh!  I could not bear it.  I should soon be left alone in the midst of an
infinity of space.  And now more and more every moment increased the
conviction that I was watched.  I did not know then, as I learned afterward,
that suspicion of all earthly things and persons was the characteristic of the
hasheesh delirium.
   In the midst of my complicated hallucination, I could perceive that I had a
dual existence.  One portion of me was whirled unresistingly along the track
of this tremendous experience, the other sat looking down fro a height upon
its double, observing, reasoning, and serenely weighting all the phenomena.
This calmer being suffered with the other by sympathy, but did not lose its
self-possession.

   The servant had not come.                                 {247}

   "Shall I call her again?"  "Why, you have this moment called her."
"Doctor," I replied solemnly, and in language that would have seem bombastic
enough to any one who did not realise what I felt, "I will not believe you are
deceiving me, but to me it appears as if sufficient time has elapsed since
then for all the Pyramids to have crumbled back to dust."

   Any now, in another life, I remembered that far back in the cycles I had
looked at my watch to measure the time through which I passed.  The impulse
seized me to look again.  The minute-hand stood half-way between fifteen and
sixteen minutes past eleven.  The watch must have stopped; I held it to my
ear: no, it was still going.  I had travelled through all that immeasurable
chain of dreams in thirty seconds.  "My God!" I cried, "I am in eternity."  In
the presence of that first sublime revelation of the soul's own time, and her
capacity for an infinite life, I stood trembling with breathless awe.  Till I
die, that moment of unveiling will stand in clear relief from all the rest of
my existence.  I hold it still in unimpaired remembrance as one of the
unutterable sanctities of my being.  The years of all my earthly life to come
can never be as long as those thirty seconds.

   Before entering on the record of this new vision I will make a digression
for the purpose of introducing two laws of the hasheesh operation, which, as
explicatory, deserve a place here.  First, after the completion of any one
fantasia has arrived, there almost invariably succeeds a shifting of the
action to some other stage entirely different in its surroundings.  In this
transition the general character of the emotion {248} may remain unchanged.  I
may be happy in Paradise and happy at the sources of the Nile, but seldom,
either in Paradise or on the Nile, twice in succession.  I may writhe in Etna
and burn unquenchably in Gehenna, but almost never, in the course of the same
delirium, shall Etna or Gehenna witness my torture a second time.
   Second, after the full storm of a vision of intense sublimity has blown
past the hasheesh-eater, his next vision is generally of a quiet, relaxing,
and recreating nature.  He comes down from his clouds or up from his abyss
into a middle ground of gentle shadows, where he may rest his eyes from the
splendour of the seraphim or the flames of fiends.  There is a wise philosophy
in this arrangement, for otherwise the soul would soon burn out in the excess
of its own oxygen.  Many a times, it seems to me, has my own thus been saved
from extinction.

   When I woke it was morning --- actually morning, and not a hasheesh
hallucination.  The first emotion that I felt upon opening my eyes was
happiness to find things again wearing a natural air.  Yes; although the last
experience of which I had been conscious had seemed to satisfy every human
want, physical or spiritual, I smiled on the four plain white walls of my bed-
chamber, and hailed their familiar unostentatiousness with a pleasure which
had no wish to transfer itself to arabesque or rainbows.  It was like
returning home from an eternity spent in loneliness among the palaces of
strangers.  Well may I say an eternity, for during the whole day I could not
rid myself of the feeling that I was separated from the preceding one by an
immeasurable lapse of time.  In fact, I never got wholly rid of it. {249}
   I rose that I might test my reinstated powers, and see if the restoration
was complete.  Yes, I felt not one trace of bodily weariness nor mental
depression.  Every function had returned to its normal state, with the one
exception mentioned; memory could not efface the traces of my having passed
through a great mystery.

   No. I never should take it again.
   I did not know myself; I did not know hasheesh.  There are temperaments, no
doubt, upon which this drug produces, as a reactory result, physical and
mental depression.  With me this was never the case.  Opium and liquors fix
themselves as a habit be becoming necessary to supply that nervous waste which
they in the first place occasioned.  The lassitude which succeeds their
exaltation demands a renewed indulgence, and accordingly every gratification
of the appetite is parent to the next.  But no such element entered into the
causes which attached me to hasheesh.  I speak confidently, yet without
exaggeration, when I say that I have spent many an hour in torture such as was
never known by Cranmer at the stake, or Gaudentio di Lucca in the Inquisition,
yet out of the depths of such experience "I" have always come without a trace of
its effect in diminished strength or buoyancy.
   Had the first experiment been followed by depression, I had probably never
repeated it.  At any rate, unstrung muscles and an enervated mind could have
been resisted much more effectually when they pleaded for renewed indulgence
than the form which the fascination actually took.  For days I was even
unusually strong; all the forces of life were in a state of pleasurable
activity, but the memory of the wondrous glories {250} which I had beheld
wooed me continually like an irresistible sorceress.  I could not shut my eyes
for midday musing without beholding in that world, half dark, half light,
beneath the eyelids, a steady procession of delicious images which the
severest will could not banish nor dim.  Now through an immense and serene sky
floated luxurious argosies of clouds continually changing form and tint
through an infinite cycle of mutations.
   Now, suddenly emerging from some deep embowerment of woods, I stood upon
the banks of a broad river that curved far off into dreamy distance, and
glided noiselessly past its jutting headlands, reflecting a light which was
not of the sun nor of the moon, but midway between them, and here and there
thrilling with subdues prismatic rays.  Temples and gardens, fountains and
vistas stretched continually through my waking or sleeping imagination, and
mingled themselves with all I heard, or read, or saw.  On the pages of Gibbon
the palaces and lawns of Nicomedia were illustrated with a hasheesh tint and a
hasheesh reality; and journeying with old Dan Chaucer, I drank in a delicious
landscape of revery along all the road to Canterbury.  The music of my vision
was still heard in echo; as the bells of Bow of old time called to
Whittington, so did it call to me --- "Turn again, turn again."  And I turned.

   It will be remembered that the hasheesh states of ecstasy always alternate
with less intense conditions, in which the prevailing phenomena re those of
mirth or tranquillity.  In accordance with this law, in the present instance,
Dan, to whom I had told my former experience, was not surprised to hear me
break forth at the final cadence of our song into a {251} pal of
unextinguishable laughter, but begged to know what was its cause, that he
might laugh too.  I could only cry out that my right leg was a tin case filled
with stair-rods, and as I limped along, keeping that member perfectly rigid,
both from fear of cracking the metal and the difficulty of bending it, I heard
the rattle of the brazen contents shaken from side to side with feeling of the
most supreme absurdity possible to the human soul.  Presently the leg was
restored to its former state, but in the interim its mate had grown to a size
which would have made it a very respectable totter for Brian Boru or one of
the Titans.  Elevated some few hundred feet into the firmament, I was
compelled to hop upon my giant pedestal in a way very ungraceful in a world
where two legs were the fashion, and eminently disagreeable to the slighted
member, which sought in vain to reach the earth with struggles amusing from
their very insignificance.  This ludicrous affliction being gradually removed,
I went on my way quietly until we again began to be surrounded by the houses
of the town.

   And now that unutterable thirst which characterises hasheesh came upon me.
I could have lain me down and lapped dew from the grass.  I must drink,
wheresoever, howsoever.  We soon reached home --- soon, because it was not
five squares off from where we sat down, yet ages, from the thirst which
consumed me and the expansion of time in which I lived.  I came into the house
as one would approach a fountain in the desert, with a wild bound of
exultation, and gazed with miserly eyes at the draught which my friend poured
out for me until the glass was brimming.  I clutched it --- I {252} put it to
my lips.  Ha! a surprise!  It was not water, but the most delicious metheglin
in which ever bard of the Cymri drank the health of Howell Dda.  It danced and
sparkled like some liquid metempsychosis of amber; it gleamed with the
spiritual fire of a thousand chrysolites.  to sight, to taste it was
metheglin, such as never mantled in the cups of the Valhalla.

   Hasheesh I called the "drug of travel," and I had only to direct my
thoughts strongly toward a particular part of the world previously to
swallowing my bolus to make my whole fantasia in the strongest possible degree
topographical.

   There are two facts which I have verified as universal by repeated
experiment, which fall into their place here as aptly ass then can in the
course of my narrative.  First: At two different times, when body and mind are
apparently in precisely analogous states, when all circumstances, exterior and
interior, do not differ tangibly in the smallest respect, the same dose of the
same preparation of hasheesh will frequently produce diametrically opposite
effects.  Still further, I have taken at one time a pill of thirty grains,
which hardly gave a perceptible phenomenon, and at another, when my dose had
been but half that quantity, I have suffered the agonies of a martyr, or
rejoiced in a perfect phrensy.  so exceedingly variable are its results, that,
long before I abandoned the indulgence, I took each succcessive bolus with the
consciousness that I was daring an uncertainty as tremendous as the equipoise
between hell and heaven.  Yet the fascination employed Hope as its advocate,
an won the suit.  Secondly: If, during the ecstasy {253} of hasheesh delirum,
another dose, however small --- yes, though it be no larger than half a pea
--- be employed to prolong the condition, such agony will inevitably ensue as
will make the soul shudder at its own possibility of endurance without
annihilation.  By repeated experiments, which now occupy the most horrible
place upon my catalogue of horrible remembrances, have I proved that, among
all the variable phenomena of hasheesh, this alone stands unvarying .  The use
of it directly after any other stimulus will produce consequences as
appalling.

   I extinguished my light.  To say this may seem trivial, but it is as
important a matter as any which it is possible to notice.  The most direful
suggestions of the bottomless pit may flow in upon thehasheesh eater through
the very medium of darkness.  The blowing out of a candle can set an
unfathomed barathrum wide agape beneath the flower-wreathed table of his
feast, and convert his palace of sorcery into a Golgotha.  Light is a
necessity to him, even when sleeping; it must tinge his visions, or they
assume a hue as sombre as the banks of Styx.

   It was an awaking, which, for torture, had no parallel in all the
stupendous domain of sleeping incubus.  Beside my bed in the centre of the
room stood a bier, from whose corners drooped the folds of a heavy pall;
outstretched upon it lay in state a most fearful corpse, whose livid face was
distorted with the pangs of assassination.  The traces of a great agony were
frozen into fixedness in the tense position of every muscle, and the nails of
the dead man's fingers pierced {254} his palms with the desperate clinch of
one who has yielded not without agonising resistance.  Two tapers at his head,
two at his feet, with their tall and unsnuffed wicks, made the ghastliness of
the bier more luminously unearthly, and a smothered laugh of derision from
some invisible watcher ever and anon mocked the corpse, as if triumphant
demons were exulting over their prey.  I pressed my hands upon my eye-balls
till they ached, in intensity of desire to shut out the spectacle; I buried my
head in the pillow, that I might not hear that awful laugh of diabolic
sarcasm.
   But --- oh horror immeasurable!  I behold the walls of the room slowly
gliding together, the ceiling coming down, the floor ascending, as of old the
lonely captive saw them, whose cell was doomed to be his coffin.  Nearer and
nearer am I born toward the corpse.  I shrunk back from the edge of the bed; I
cowered in most abject fear.  I tried to cry out, but speech was paralysed.
The walls came closer and closer together.  Presently my hand lay on the dead
man's forehead.  I made my arm as straight and rigid as a bar of iron; but of
what avail was human strength against the contraction of that cruel masonry?
Slowly my elbow bent with the ponderous pressure; nearer grew the ceiling ---
I fell into the fearful embrace of death.  I was pen, I was stifled in the
breathless niche, which was all of space still left to me.  The stony eyes
stared up into my own, and again the maddening peal of fiendish laughter rang
close beside my ear.  now I was touched on all sides by the walls of the
terrible press; there came a heavy crush, and I felt all sense blotted out in
darkness.
  I awoke at last; the corpse was gone, but I had taken his {255} place upon
the bier.  In the same attitude which he had kept I lay motionless, conscious,
although in darkness, that I wore upon my face the counterpart of his look of
agony.  The room had grown into a gigantic hall, whose roof was framed of iron
arches; the pavement, the walls, the cornice were all of iron.  The spiritual
essence of the metal seemed to be a combination of cruelty and despair.  Its
massive hardness spoke a language which it is impossible to embody in words,
but any one who has watched the relentless sweep of some great engine crank,
and realised its capacity for murder, will catch a glimpse, even in the
memory, of the thrill which seemed to say, "This iron is a tearless fiend," of
the unutterable meaning I saw in those colossal beams and buttresses.  I
suffered from the vision of that iron as from the presence of a giant
assassin.
   But my senses opened slowly to the perception of still worse presences.  By
my side there gradually emerged from the sulphurous twilight which bathed the
room the most horrible form which the soul could look upon unshattered --- a
fiend also of iron, white-hot and dazzling with the glory of the nether
penetralia.  A face that was theferreous incarnation of all imaginations of
malice and irony looked on me with a glare withering from its intense heat,
but still more from the unconceived degree of inner wickedness which it
symbolised.  I realised whose laughter I had heard, and instantly I heard it
again.  Beside him another demon, his very twin, was rocking a tremendous
cradle framed of bars of iron like all things else, and candescent with as
fierce a heat as the fiend's.
   And now, in a chant of the most terrific blasphemy which it is possible to
imagine, or rather of blasphemy so fearful that no human thought has ever
conceived of it, both the {256} demons broke forth, until I grew intensely
wicked merely by hearing it.  I still remember the meaning of the song they
sand, although there is no language yet coined which will convey it, and far
be it from me event to suggest its nature, lest I should seem to perpetuate in
any degree such profanity as beyond the abodes of the lost no pips are capable
of uttering.  Every note of the music itself accorded with the thought as
symbol represents essence, and with its clangour mixed the maddening creak of
the for ever oscillating cradle, until I felt driven into a ferocious despair.
Suddenly the nearest fiend, snatching up a pitchfork (also of white-hot iron),
thrust it into my writing side, and hurled me shrieking into the fiery cradle.
I sought in my torture to scale the bars; they slipped from my grasp and under
my feet like the smoothest icicles.  Through increasing grades of agony I lay
unconsumed, tossing from side to side with the rocking of the dreadful engine,
and still above me pealed the chant of blasphemy, and the eyes of demoniac
sarcasm smiled at me in mockery of a mother's gaze upon her child.
   "Let us sing him," said one of the fiends to the other, "the lullaby of
Hell."  The blasphemy now changed into an awful word-picturing of eternity,
unveiling what it was, and dwelling with raptures of malice upon its
infinitude, its sublimity of growing pain, and its privation of all fixed
points which might mark it into divisions.  By emblems common to all language
rather than by any vocal words, did they sing this frightful apocalypse, yet
the very emblems had a sound as distinct as tongue could give them.  This was
one, and the only one of their representatives that I can remember.  Slowly
they began, 'To-day is father of to-morrow, to-morrow hath a son that {257}
shall beget the day succeeding."  With increasing rapidity they sang in this
way, day by day, the genealogy of a thousand years, and I traced on the
successive generations, without a break in one link, until the rush of their
procession reached a rapidity so awful as fully to typify eternity itself; and
still I fled on through that burning genesis of cycles.  I feel that I do not
convey my meaning, but may no one else ever understand it better.
   Withered like a leaf in the breath of an oven, after millions of years I
felt myself tossed upon the iron floor.  The fiends had departed, the cradle
was gone.  I stood alone, staring into immense and empty spaces.  Presently I
found that I was in a colossal square, as of some European city, alone at the
time of evening twilight, and surrounded by houses hundreds of stories high.
I was bitterly athirst.  I ran to the middle of the square, and reached it
after an infinity of travel.  There was a fountain carved in iron, every jet
inimitably sculptured in mockery of water, yet dry as the ashes of a furnace.
"I shall perish with thirst," I cried.  "Yet one more trial.  There must be
people in all these immense houses.  Doubtless they love the dying traveller,
and will give him to drink.  Good friends! water! water!"  A horribly
deafening din poured down on me from the four sides of the square.  Every sash
of all the hundred stories of every house in that colossal quadrangle flew up
as by one spring.  Awakened by my call, at every window stood a terrific
maniac.  Sublimely in the air above me, in front, beside me, on either hand,
and behind my back, a wilderness of insane faces gnashed at me, glared,
gibbered, howled, laughed horribly, hissed and cursed.  At the unbearable
sight {258} I myself became insane, and leaping up and down, mimicked them
all, and drank their demented spirit.

   Hasheesh is indeed an accursed drug, and the soul at last pays a most
bitter price for all its ecstasies; moreover, the use of it is not the proper
means of gaining any insight, yet who shall say that at that season of
exaltation I did not know things as they are more truly than ever in the
ordinary state?  Let us not assert that the half-careless and uninterested way
in which we generally look on nature is the normal mode of the soul's power of
vision.  There is a fathomless meaning, an intensity of delight in all our
surroundings, which our eyes must be unsealed to see.  In the jubilance of
hasheesh, we have only arrived by an improper pathway at the secret of that
infinity of beauty which shall be beheld in heaven and earth when the veil of
the corporeal drops off, and we know as we are known.  Then from the muddy
waters of our life, defiled by the centuries of degeneracy through which they
have flowed, we shall ascend to the old-time original fount, and grow
rapturous with its apocalytpic draught.

   I do not remember whether I have yet mentioned that in the hasheesh state
an occasional awakening occurs, perhaps as often as twice in an hour (though I
have no way of judging accurately, from the singular properties of the
hasheesh time), when the mind returns for an exceedingly brief space to
perfect consciousness, and views all objects in their familiar light.

   Awaking on the morrow after a succession of vague and {259} delicious
dreams, I had not yet returned to the perfectly natural state.  I now began to
experience a law of hasheesh which developed its effects more and more through
all future months of its use.  With the progress of the hasheesh life, the
effect of every successive indulgence grows more per-during until the hitherto
isolated experiences become tangent to each other; then the links of the
delirium intersect, and at last so blend that the chain has become a
continuous band, now resting with joyous lightness as a chaplet, and now
mightily pressing in upon the soul like the glowing hoop of iron which holds
martyrs to the stake.  The final months of this spell-bound existence, be it
terminated by mental annihilation or by a return into the quiet and mingled
facts of humanity are passed in one unbroken yet chequered dream.

   Moreover, through many ecstasies and many pains, I still supposed that I
was only making experiments, and that, too, in the most wonderful field of
mind which could be opened for investigation, and with an agent so deluding in
its influence that the soul only became aware that the strength of a giant was
needed to escape when its locks were shorn.

   Upon William N---- hasheesh produced none of the effects characteristic of
fantasia.  There was no hallucination, no volitancy of unusual images before
the eye when closed.
   Circulation, however, grew to a surprising fulness and rapidity,
accompanied by the same introversion of faculties and clear perception of all
physical processes which startled my in my first experiment upon myself.
There was stertorous breathing, dilation of the pupil, and a drooping
appearance {260} of the eyelid, followed at last by a comatose state, lasting
for hours, out of which it was almost impossible fully to arouse the energies.
These symptoms, together with a peculiar rigidity of the muscular system, and
inability to measure the precise compass and volume of the voice when
speaking, brought the case nearer in resemblance to those recorded by Dr.
O'Shaughnessy, of Calcutta, as occurring under his immediate inspection among
the natives of India, than any I have ever witnessed.

   At half-past seven in the evening, and consequently after supping instead
of before, as I should have preferred, he took twenty-five grains of the drug.
This may seem a large bolus to those who are aware that from fifteen grains I
frequently got the strongest cannabine effect; but it must be kept in mind
that, to secure the full phenomena, a much greater dose is necessary in the
first experiment than ever after.  Unlike all other stimuli with which I am
acquainted, hasheesh, instead of requiring to be increased in quantity as
existence in its use proceeds, demands rather a diminution, seeming to leave,
at the return of the natural state (if I may express myself by rather a
material analogy), an unconsumed capital of exaltation for the next indulgence
to set up business upon.

   For a while we walked silently.  Presently I felt my companion shudder as
he leaned upon my arm.  "What is the matter, Bob?" I asked.  "Oh!  I am in
unbearable horror," he replied.  "If you can, save me!"  "How do you suffer?"
"This shower of soot which falls on me from heaven is dreadful!"  {261}
   I sought to turn the current of his thoughts into another channel, but he
had arrived at that place in his experience where suggestion is powerless.
His world of the Real could not be changed by any inflow from ours of the
Shadowy.  I reached the same place in after days, and it was then as
impossible for any human being to alter the condition which enwrapped me as it
would have been for a brother on earth to stretch out his hands and rescue a
brother writhing in the pangs of immortality.  There are men in Oriental
countries who make it their business to attend hasheesh-eaters during the
fantasia, and profess to be able to lead them constantly in pleasant paths of
hallucination.  If indeed they possess this power, the delirium which they
control must be a far more ductile state than any I have witnessed occurring
under the influence of hasheesh at its height.  in the present instance I
found all suggestion powerless.  The inner actuality of the visions and the
terror of external darkness both defeated me.

   And now, in the midst of the darkness, there suddenly stood a wheel like
that of a lottery, surrounded by one luminous spot, which illustrated all its
movements.  It began slowly to revolve; its rapidity grew frightful, and out
of its opening flew symbols which indicated to him, in regular succession,
every minutest act of his past life: from his first unfilial disobedience in
childhood --- the refusal upon a certain day, as far back as infancy, to go to
school when it was enjoined upon him, to the latest deed of impropriety he had
committed --- all his existence fled before him like lighting in those burning
emblems.  Things utterly forgotten --- things at {262} the time of their first
presence considered trivial acts --- as small as the cutting of a willow wand,
all fled by his sense in arrow-flight; yet he remembered them as real
incidents, and recognized their order in his existence.
   This phenomenon is one of the most striking exhibitions of the state in
which the higher hasheesh exaltation really exists.  It is a partial
sundering, for the time, of those ties which unite soul and body.  That spirit
should ever loose the traces of a single impression is impossible.

   In the morning he awoke at the usual time; but, his temperament being
perhaps more sensitive than mine, the hasheesh delight, without its
hallucination, continued for several days.

   And now a new fact flashed before me.  This agony was not new; I had felt
it ages ago, in the same room, among the same people, and hearing the same
conversation.  To most men, such a sensation has happened at some time, but it
is seldom more than vague and momentary.  With me it was sufficiently definite
and lasting to be examined and located as an actual memory.  I saw it in an
instant, preceded and followed by the successions of a distinctly recalled
past life.
   What is the philosophy of this fact?  If we find no ground for believing
that we have ever lived self-consciously in any other state, and cannot thus
explain it, may not this be the solution of the enigma?  At the moment of the
soul's reception of a new impression, she first accepts it as a thing entirely
of the sense; she tells us how large it is, and of what quality.  To this
definition of its boundaries and likeness succeeds, at times {263} of high
activity, an intuition of the fact that the sensation shall be perceived again
in the future unveiling that is to throw open all the past.  Prophetically she
notes it down upon the indestructible leaves of her diary, assured that it is
to come out in the future revelation.  Yet we who, from the tendency of our
thought, reject all claims to any knowledge of the future, can only
acknowledge perceptions as of the present or the past, and accordingly refer
the dual realisation to some period gone by.  We perceive the correspondence
of two sensations, but, by an instantaneous process, give the second one a
wrong position in the succession of experiences.  The soul is regarded as the
historian when she is in reality the sibyl; but the misconception takes place
in such a microscopic portion of time that detection is impossible.  In the
hasheesh expansion of seconds into minutes, or even according to a much
mightier ratio, there is an opportunity thoroughly to scrutinise the hitherto
evanescent phenomena, and the truth comes out.  How many more such prophecies
as these may have been rejected through the gross habit of the body we may
never know until spirit vindicates her claim in a court where she must have
audience.

   In this world we are but half spirit; we are thus able to hold only the
perceptions and emotions of half an orb.  Once fully rounded into symmetry
ourselves, we shall have strength to bear the pressure of influences from a
whole sphere of truth and loveliness.
   It is this present half-developed state of ours which makes the infinitude
of the hasheesh awakening so unendurable, even when its sublimity is the
sublimity of delight.  We have no {264} longer anything to do with horizons,
and the boundary which was at once our barrier and our fortress is removed,
until we almost perish from the inflow of perceptions.

   It would be no hard task to prove, to a strong probability, at least, that
the initiation to the Pythagorean mysteries, and the progressive instruction
that succeeded it, to a considerable extent consisted in the employment,
judiciously, if we may use the word, of hasheesh, as giving a critical and
analytic power to the mind, which enabled the neophyte to roll up the murk and
mist from beclouded truths till they stood distinctly seen in the splendour of
their own harmonious beauty as an intuition.
   One thing related of Pythagoras and his friends has seemed very striking to
me.  There is a legend that, as he was passing over a river, its waters called
up to him in the presence of his followers, "Hail! Pythagoras."
   Frequently, while in the power of the hasheesh dilirium, have I heard
inanimate things sonorous with such voices.  On every side they have saluted
me, from rocks, and trees, and waters, and sky, in my happiness filling me
with intense exultation as I heard them welcoming their master; in my agony
heaping nameless curses on my head as I went away into an eternal exile from
all sympathy.  Of this tradition of Iamblichus I feel an appreciation which
almost convinces me that the voice of the river was indeed heard, though only
by the quickened mind of some hasheesh-glorified esoteric.  Again, it may be
that the doctrine of the metempsychosis was first communicated to Pythagoras
by Theban priests; but the astonishing illustration which hasheesh would
contribute to {265} this tenet should not be overlooked in our attempt to
assign its first suggestion and succeeding spread to their proper causes.
   I looked, and lo!  all the celestial hemisphere was one terrific brazen
bell, which rocked upon some invisible adamantine pivot in the infinitudes
above.  When I cam it was voiceless, but I soon knew how it was to sound.  My
feet were quickly chained fast to the top of heaven, and, swinging with my
head downward, I became its tongue.  Still more mightily swayed that frightful
bell, and now, tremendously crashing, my head smote against its side.  It was
not the pain of the blow, though that was inconceivable, but the colossal roar
that filled the universe, and rent my brain also, which blotted out in one
instant all sense, thought, and being.  In an instant I felt my life
extinguished, but knew that it was by annihilation, not by death.
   When I awoke out of the hasheesh state I was as overwhelmed to find myself
still in existence as a dead man of the last century could be were he now
suddenly restored to earth.  For a while, even in perfect consciousness, I
believed I was still dreaming, and to this day I have so little lost the
memory of that one demoniac toll, that while writing these lines I have put my
hand to my forehead, hearing and feeling something, trough the mere
imagination, which was an echo of the original pang.  It is this persistency
of impressions which explains the fact of the hasheesh state, after a certain
time, growing more and more every day a thing of agony.  It is not because the
body becomes worn out by repeated nervous shocks; with some constitutions,
indeed, this wearing may occur; it never did with me, as I have said, even to
the extent {266} of producing muscular weakness, yet the universal law of
constantly acceleration diabolisation of visions held good as much in my case
as in any others; but a thing of horror once experienced became a
kappa tau nu mu alpha  epsilon sigma  alpha epsilon iota , an inalienable dower of
hell; it was certain to reproduce itself in some --- to God be the thanks if
not in all --- future visions.  I had seen, for instance, in one of my states
of ecstasy, a luminous spot on the firmament, a prismatic parhelion.  In the
midst of my delight of gazing on it, it had transferred itself mysteriously to
my own heart, and there became a circle of fire, which gradually ate its way
until the whole writing organ was in a torturous blaze.  That spot, seen again
in an after-vision, through the memory of its former pain instantly wrought
out for me the same accursed result.  The number of such remembered faggots of
fuel for direful suggestion of course increased proportionally to the
prolonging of the hasheesh life, until at length there was hardly a visible or
tangible object, hardly a phrase which could be spoken, that had not some such
infernal potency as connected with an earlier effect of suffering.
   Slowly thus does midnight close over the hasheesh-eater's heaven.  One by
one, upon its pall thrice dyed in Acharon, do the baleful lustres appear,
until he walks under a hemisphere flaming with demon lamps, and upon a ground
paved with tiles of hell.  Out of this awful domain there are but three ways.
Thank God that over this alluring gateway is not written,

            "Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch' entrate!"

   The first of these exits is insanity, the second death, the third
abandonment.  The first is doubtless oftenest trodden {267} yet it may be long
ere it reaches the final escape in oblivion, and it is as frightful as the
domain it leaves behind.  The second but rarely opens to the wretch unless he
prises it open with his knife; ordinarily its hinges turn lingeringly.
Towards the last let him struggle, though a nightmare torpor petrify his limbs
--- though on either side of the road be a phalanx of monstrous Afreets with
drawn swords of flame --- though demon cries peal before him, and unimaginable
houris beckon him back --- over thorns, through furnaces, but into --- Life!
   To the first restaurant at hand we hastened.  Passing in, I called for that
only material relief which I have ever found for these spiritual sufferings
--- something strongly acid.  in the East the form in use is sherbet; mine was
very sour lemonade.1  A glass of it was made ready, and with a small glass
tube I drew it up, not being able to bear the shock of a large swallow.
Relief came but very slightly --- very slowly.  Before the first glass was
exhausted I called most imperatively for another one to be prepared as quickly
as possible, let the flames should spread by waiting.  In this way I kept a
man busy with the composition of lemonade after lemonade, plunging my tube
over the edge of the drained tumbler into the full one with a precipitate
haste for which there were mortal reasons, until six had been consumed.
   I returned to hasheesh, but only when I had become hopeless of carrying out
my first intention --- its utter and immediate abandonment.  I now resolved to
abandon it gradually --- to retreat slowly from my enemy, until I had passed
the borders of his enchanted ground, whereon he warred with me at vantage.
Once over the boundaries, and the nightmare spell {268} unloosed, I might run
for my life, and hope to distance him in my own recovered territory.
   This end I sought to accomplish by diminishing the doses of the drug.  The
highest I had ever reached was a drachm, and this was seldom necessary except
in the most unimpressible states of the brain, since, according to the law of
the hasheesh operation which I have stated to hold good in my experience, a
much less bolus was ordinarily sufficient to produce full effect at this time
than when I commenced the indulgence.  I now reduced my daily ration to ten or
fifteen grains.
   The immediate result of even this modified resumption of the habit was a
reinstatement into the glories of the former life.  I came out of my clouds;
the outer world was reinvested with some claim to interest, and the lethal
torpor of my mind was replaced by an airy activity.  I flattered myself that
there was now some hope of escape by grades of renunciation, and felt assured,
moreover, that since I now seldom experienced anything approaching
hallucination, I might pass through this gradual course without suffering on
the way.
        1  WEH NOTE:  Citric acid has a reductive effect on these sorts of
          intoxications, also Nicotinic Acid and common ethanol in
          quantity.
   As lemon-juice had been sometimes an effectual cure for the sufferings of
excess, I now discovered that a use of tobacco, to an extent which at other
times would be immoderate, was a preventive of the horrors of abandonment.
   As, some distance back, I have referred to my own experience upon the
subject, asserting my ability at times to "feel sights, see sounds," &c., I will
not attempt to illustrate the present discussion by a narrative of additional
portions of my own case.  It might be replied to me, "Ah! yes, all very
likely; but probably you are an exception to the general rule: {169} nobody
else might be affected so."  This was said to me quite frequently when, early
in the hasheesh life, I enthusiastically related the most singular phenomena
of my fantasy.
   But there is no such thing true of the hasheesh effects.  Just as
inevitably as two men taking the same direction, and equally favoured by
Providence, will arrive at the same place, will two persons of similar
temperament come to the same territory in hasheesh, see the same mysteries of
their being, and get the same hitherto unconceived facts.  It is this
characteristic which, beyond all gainsaying, proves the definite existence of
the most wondrous of the hasheesh disclosed states of mind.  The realm of that
stimulus is no vagary; it as much exists and England.  We are never so absurd
as to expect to see insane men by the dozen all holding to the same
hallucination without having had any communication with each other.
   As I said once previously, after my acquaintance with the realm of witchery
had become, probably, about as universal as anybody's, when I chanced to be
called to take care of some one making the experiment for the first time (and
I always was called), by the faintest word, often by a mere look, I could tell
exactly the place that my patient had reached, and treat him accordingly.
Many a time, by some expression which other bystanders thought ineffably
puerile, have I recongised the landmark of a field of wonders wherein I have
travelled in perfect ravishment.  I understood the symbolisation, which they
did not.
   Though as perfectly conscious as in his natural state, and capable of
apprehending all outer realities without hallucination, he still perceived
every word which was spoken to him {270} in the form of some visible symbol
which most exquisitely embodied it.  For hours every sound had its colour and
its form to him as truly as scenery could have them.
   The fact, never witnessed by me before, of a mind in that state being able
to give its phenomena to another and philosophise about them calmly, afforded
me the means of a most clear investigation.  I found that his case was exactly
analogous to those of B. and myself; for, like us, he recognised in distinct
inner types every possible sensation, our words making a visible emblematic
procession before his eyes, and every perception of whatever sense becoming
tangible to him as form and audible as music.


{271}