A Comedy of Disillusion


Mr. Marshall: Are you very happy?

Julia: I am very happy.

Mr. Marshall: And you have no regrets whatsoever? Julia: Absolutely none.

Mr. Marshall: You are too positive, Julia. If you only sighed or wept. Then I would know that you are really happy. Julia: Ah! But I am happy, Don Juan. A great deal happier than you imagine.

Mr. Marshall: (Somewhat disappointed.) O, I see, you really love me?

Julia: Indeed I don’t.

Mr. Marshall: Julia, I am shocked. After what happened last night how you can say that you do not love me? A night of beauty. . . . .

Julia: You mean a ghastly night! I can and do say that I do not love you. I have paid a tremendous price for my curiosity, that is all. But I am happy. Now at last I understand myself. Now at last I know the meaning of life. And I am happy because I realize that henceforth I shall be master of myself.

Mr. Marshall: You are disappointed. That is what is the matter with you, Julia.

Julia: And how disappointed! Not so much in you, Don Juan, as in my own self. I was never so foolish as to imagine that you could make me as supremely happy as you promised. But I really did think that it was in me. Now I see it is not. But I am happy because I see things finally as they really are. I wonder if you can understand that, clever man that you are?

Mr. Marshall: (Brightening up.) Julia, you please me. Now for the first time I am firmly convinced of your innocence. For innocent you are. You imagine this morning that you are separated from yesterday morning by the wisdom of the ages. You imagine that the events of a few hours ago have revealed the secrets of life to you. Most women in your place would plead for more love and yet more love and always more. They would demand a pledge of eternal allegiance. But you, you demand freedom. That is something new. In all my career such a thing has not happened. You hate me. You have discovered that love is quite commonplace. That the great flame is only a feeble pallid light. That the yellow sunbeams have put out that light altogether. Sitting here at breakfast with me you see how pitifully poor the reality is compared to the tremendous radiance you expected. And you say to yourself — with this valueless, unnecessary, bagatelle I can dispense completely.

Julia: You are right. Bagatelle is the word for it. In a little while I shall leave you. And I go gladly, strong in the consciousness of my strength. Happy because I was disappointed and deluded. I go with absolute ease.

Mr. Marshall: You say that so bravely. You speak with such sincerity. But do you know that Cleopatra and Lesbia and George Sand spoke almost exactly your words years ago. The next morning at breakfast they felt just as you do now. They too were disappointed. Shall I tell you why you are disappointed?

Julia: Tell me. You speak so well that although I do not love you, I love to listen to you.

Mr. Marshall: (With great earnestness.) Julia, a man who picks up the violin for the first time is bound to be disappointed in the instrument. It may be a golden Stradivarius. But in his clumsy fingers it can only give forth a few discordant and hideous sounds. The selfsame instrument in the hands of a Kreisler becomes a divine organ of melody and passion. All that is beautiful and voluptuous speaks with a candor and graciousness that words could not, even if they would, utter. You are like the man who cannot play. But you will learn. Last night for the first time you lifted up the lyre of love. Unable to strike harmony from its strings you threw it away in disgust. But you will pick it up again. I know you will. You will be driven to master it. Then will come the day when you will understand how to compel it to produce the most wonderful nuances, the most delicate phrases, the most powerful chords. And you will smile to think that once you scorned this priceless gift. Why do I speak so enthusiastically? Because I am a master. I am a veteran. Therefore, the lyre of love can never bore me. Only dilettantes and amateurs are wearied of its song. Only the weak fly from it.

Julia: If what you say is true then indeed I am accursed. Then indeed I should be unhappy.

Mr. Marshall: No! No! No! Ten thousand times no! You should be happy. Believe me, Julia, knowledge is not only power. It also spells happiness. Why am I the most envied of men on earth? Because the ignorant, the innocent, the weak know that I am happy. So do the wise. And so you shall be happy, too, if you discover the one great secret of life.

Julia: What is that secret?

Mr. Marshall: The secret of life is this: If you can stand alone you have conquered the world. If you can stand alone, men and women will flock to your side. Wealth will be lavished upon you. All that is wonderful and rare will be yours for the asking. If you can stand alone, Julia, you will have mastered life. Then from the lyre of love you will evoke imperishable melody. But you must stand alone.

Julia: (Who has listened, deeply moved.) But I cannot stand alone, Don Juan. (With intense passion.) I love you. I love you madly. Kiss me again and again and again. Let me swoon in your arms. Let me kiss your lips, let me feel your hair upon my face. (Marshall has risen. He puts on his gloves and reaches for his cane.) Don Juan, do not desert me ever. I need you every moment of my life. Do not go. . . . O Don Juan, Don Juan (her voice trails off in a bitter cry).

Mr. Marshall: (Rapidly walking up the road. His voice is far off and faint.) I said to you, Julia, that he who stands alone has conquered life. I am the master of my soul. He who stands alone. . . . .

Julia: (Her head on the table, weeping bitterly.) Don Juan, Don Juan, Don Juan, I love you … I need you … every minute … of my … life.


Previous | Top | Issue 11, November 1917 | Next


If you have found this material useful or enlightening, you may also be interested in


Ordo Templi Orientis, O.T.O., and the O.T.O. Lamen design are registered trademarks of Ordo Templi Orientis.


All copyrights on Aleister Crowley material are held by Ordo Templi Orientis. This site is not an official O.T.O. website, and is neither sponsored by nor controlled by Ordo Templi Orientis.

The text of this Aleister Crowley material is made available here only for personal and non-commercial use. This material is provided here in a convenient searchable form as a study resource for those seekers looking for it in their research. For any commercial use, please contact Ordo Templi Orientis.