The Fountain of Hyacinth
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law
I, Baphomet 666, wishing to prove the strength of my will and the
degree of my courage have poisoned myself for the last two years
and have succeeded finally in reaching a degree of intoxication such
that withdrawal of the drugs (heroin & cocaine) produce a terrible
attack of the "Storm Fiend". The acute symptoms arise suddenly,
usually on waking up from a nap. They remind me of the "For God's sake
turn it off" feeling of having an electric current passing through
one, and of the "Super-structure" of the Baltoro Glacier. The
psychology is very complex and curious: I think a detailed record of
my attempt at breaking the habit will be interesting and useful.
Tuesday, Feb. 14, 1922
Left Paris for Fontainbleau. Put up at Au Cadran Bleu. Walked before
dinner. No alcohol. Heroin & Cocaine at odd times till 8 P.M.
Difficult to sleep. [N.B. Part of my plan in coming here is to dig up
the bitter memories which have been killing me. I was so happy and
hopeful here two years ago; and now my little Poupee has been dead
over a year and her little brother never came to birth; and my manhood
in part is crushed]
1 1/2 tablets -- Slept till 9:30. Cafe Croissant. Struggled hard to
get up but relapsed and slept till after 11. Delightful dreams.
Walked (lunch on warm milk) till about 3:30. Very tired. A nap. The
breath of the forest hit me like a club, the moment I left the town.
I felt cured of everything. I broke into a series of storms of
sobbing; great relief.
"Storm-fiend" possessed me with terrible and unendurable violence.
A big sniff of heroin. Instant relief but very palsied. The residual
symptoms abated slowly and I was normal, nearly, at 4:17. From then I
got worse again slowly.
Small dose of heroin
" " "
Medium " '
Big dose. I am not suffering. The excesses are that I want to be very
fit to write this record though I have practically finished for the
present, and that I may as well take plenty before curfew at 7, so as
to make it less difficult to do without it till Reveille at 1 PM
I may find it wise to limit the number of doses during the "Open
Season" or to make it illegal to take a dose at all unless the "Storm-
fiend" is actually on the job.
My general idea is to increase the Close Season daily by a space of
one or two hours thus automatically limiting the Open Season and
reaching a point when a whole physiological cycle of 24 hours. That,
in my theory, would be the critical point of the cure.
It seems to be no effort at all to stop cocaine right away; one
returns to it from the moral impulse to "get going." This impulse
appears to depend on external circumstances. Accidental necessities to
be at one's best. (I am now, by the way, slightly intoxicated - by the
5 doses of the last 2 hours. I am combating my excess of hunger for
the drug by Strychnine, doses of 2 mgs - and by eating. The most
important part of the treatment is to keep the mind distracted. The
attacks of hunger seem to be partly caused by the mental obsession and
prove transient of the attention is attracted in any way.
I propose to deal with the most distressing symptoms which I have
explained hitherto, viz., inability to sleep at the proper hours (with
tendency to over-do sleep in the daytime) on the following principles.
1. Use of the IX' formula.
2. Hard physical exercise every day with a walk of at least half an
hour before dinner.
3. Hydrotherapy if to be procured. In any case, hot bath with eau-de-
cologne rub on retiring. Cold ditto on waking.
4. Alcohol on retiring.
5. Soporific in full dose as well unless asleep within 30 minutes of
My plan for tomorrow is this:
Forced wakening at 8:30. Breakfast. Bath. Walk. Lunch in forest. No
heroin till 1 PM. Doses at pleasure till curfew at 6 PM.
Medium dose Heroin. This was a real indulgence in the worst sense of
the word. It has occurred very frequently that I have taken a dose for
reasons at present utterly unfathomable. (This is a confession indeed,
for me, who claims to be the foremost living psychologist!) There is
not the slightest discomfort to be removed, or the faintest wish to
reach some still superior state. It is an absolutely perverse impulse.
I can only compare it with similar obfuscation -- phenomena common
enough in the matter of sex. Part of the explanation may be that I
feel (rather there is a physiological instinct in the animal) an
absurd sense of injury. An indignant assertion that it has a natural
right to be active and pleasantly divorced(?) for a certain
proportion of the 24 hours.
Small dose. Taken partly to prove to myself that I was not alarmed by
the reflection above set down.
I note certain pathological points.
1. Increased secretions, especially mucous, indicate the physical need
of the drug.
2. Slight tendency to manifest the bronchitis which introduced me to
3. I think my eyesight to be degenerated wholly since I began the
experiment. Occultist, however, will not admit this; they claim
that I am "doing as well as can be expected" or even a little
4. There has been a constantly increasing indifference to matters of
ordinary health, cleanliness and vanity. I seem hardly to know what
the state of affairs is, as to defecation, etc.
5. There are numerous very alarming mental symptoms, but all really
reduce to one only, the feeling that nothing is worth while. It is
a sort of "philosophical laziness" rather like Falstaff's deafness
"a scary slackness".
Medium dose. Excuse, a perverted sense of duty. The clock had struck
7. There are several audible clocks in the town and I wanted to assert
my right to take a last dose between the competing chimes.
I am now "nice drunk" as Alostrael would say. The day had been one of
anguish. Poupee peeped from every alley in the forest. I think of her
now without the least tendency to emotion of any kind at all; it is
even hard to remember that I ever regretted her for an instant.
An extraordinary incident has occurred. I had put a "choice cigar" in
my mouth as the safest place intending to smoke it after dinner. In my
mental absorption, I lit it, discovering the fact only now when it is
This sounds an absurd trifle; but it reveals a condition as serious as
an actor's who should unconsciously declaim "to be or not to be" in a
scene or so too early. I am economising these cigars as I cannot renew
the supply in this town.
I am now not only "nice drunk" but "very drunk", not far short of
"bloody drunk". My eyes are swimming, my senses singing: I feel
"floppy" and I radiate beatitude of the most beatific blessedness. My
middle name is Benedict; they call me Felix for short. Instead of
Bildred and his friends, I am surrounded by my cronies, Sat, Chit and
Ananda. I am enjoying a formless ecstasy, unsurpassed by anything in
my experience. Yes: the day has been a success. I never drank a
better bottle of nectar. It is all to the good that I can put no name
to my rejoicing.
The dinner, all unpleasing as was the menu, proved excellent. I had a
glass of Noirs, perfect; and a Vieux Marc ditto. I went to No. 4 & No.
6 to look for a female primate. The best of the banal bunch was a
short, sturdy creature called Paulette. I hardly feel justified in
robbing Pierrete to pay her! I drank a Vieux Marc and a Cointreau -- I
feel wonderfully well and deliciously tired: I am not even annoyed at
the rain. I shall not be sorry to go out and get soaked to the skin
and skip about in the slimy slush of the sodden forest. I am terribly
sleepy and have nothing on my mind. Except this: my ambition to make
this record "read well" may persuade my animal to simulate all sorts
of unnecessary tortures! Shame! I thought I had overcome that last
infirmity of noble mind! Well, let me go to sleep over the "Bourgeois
gentilhomme. I seem, by the way, to be the total antithesis of M.
Jourdain. I am noble, poor, and totally disillusioned on all points. I
have even ceased to protest against the fact that every step in
evolution is inseparable from spasms of stupid agony: and I don't
"want" anything. My will is at last -- so it seems -- free from all
lust of result.
I compose myself to Moliere.
1/2 tablet dichlenel(?) and a glass of wine. My Moliere became
illegible within 10 minutes. Yet I am awake still, bar a doubtful
half-nap of a few minutes.
The mechanism of my insomnia is extremely interesting.
Tonight conditions for sleeping were all advisable. The bed is
comfortable; my fatigue is great; and normal in all respects. My body
is entirely at east and my mind far from preoccupation. I cannot
recall having any thoughts of any special kind, such as worries,
contemplations, plans. There has been no "train of thought". What
happens is this: I feel myself sinking into sleep and am at the same
instant impelled to some slight physical movement, actually to seek a
more comfortable position, or to scratch. The action is sufficient to
remove me from the frontier of sleep. If I refuse to yield to the
physical impulse it passes off; but when I again feel the sensation of
approaching the Gates, it seems, not necessarily or even usually in
the same shape but with increased intensity.
Feeling my mental activity to have become very great. I take a second
1/2 tablet of Dial(?). This episode must have recurred dozens of times
in the 2 1/2 hours of insomnia. The only identifiable thought, by the
way, in that period is the wish to observe and record the phenomena
I return to Moliere.
[afterthought -- Despite the conditions, I feel very much rested,
perhaps more so that if I had slept deeply throughout and been
While writing these last entries I have felt a curious wish to confide
the secret of this whole experiment to T--E-- on his arrival in the
forest. I must think out why this should be.]
Slept all night after only 3 or 4 repetitions of the torture called
Vigilium; and that despite a beginning of an asthma attack which is
"my animal's" way of asking for cocaine -- Heroin which stops my
bronchitis at once does not touch my asthma -- leaves it worse than
before if anything. I feel fully rested, mind & body; lazy indeed but
without irritation or fatigue. And I feel no temptation to take
heroin in order to acquire strength enough to get up. Things could
hardly seem more favorable but of course they may be the prelude to
all sorts of horrors--
Awake at last after several relapses.
Very dull damp and depressing. Crawled up the Roches D'Avon (?) -- no
enthusiasm, no vigor, no courage.
I note that the important part of the treatment is to increase the
period of abstinence and as heroin postpones sleep the best plan would
be to be very ---- about curfew and allow a little latitude to
Big do. (N.B. This is my "bad day" as to cocaine and the weather,
etc., etc., -- all combine to depress me.
Symptoms so far unsatisfactory. There is a dull malaise, combined lack
of any interest in anything and the knowledge that cocaine would put
me right at once. Cocaine is barred altogether of course. The reason
is this: The hunger for it is strictly moral and a man ought to be
able to master his moral passions -- Physical torture, on the other
hand, simply throws the moral apparatus out of gear; one cannot blamed
for committing suicide or doing any other foolish act when the pain is
so strong as to prevent the manifestation of the Will altogether.
I was slightly enthusiastic, by the way, during my whole walk today --
but I felt no temptation to take any cocaine on that score. I am
tempted strongly now, though, for I resent the tedium of my state. I
want to smoke, eat, read, write, drink and sleep all at once; and I
cannot settle to any one of these with the least enjoyment. The
feeling resembles that of subconscious worry. But I am unable to worry
about anything. My affairs, Leah, old memories, nothing seems to
matter. I want to be able to get into some positive state of mind, no
odds on what subject, and I can't. Only cocaine could help me and I
won't take it.
Medium dose. My feeling is that the safest course is to arrange a mild
jag; sufficient to overcome my general lassitude, which is beginning
to make me open to violent suggestion to throw the whole cure
Heavy with sleep and on the verge of a "nice drunk".
Small. I did not want this dose, but I want to take 7 in the 3 hours
so as not to diminish the ration too quickly. I want to take 6 doses
tomorrow for prudence's sake and yet to take one less than on the
previous day. If I took 6 today and 6 tomorrow, I might feel that I
was failing to make progress; while tomorrow it might well be that 5
were not enough to carry me over till Saturday.
Small -- Routine -- no impulse.
Programme for tomorrow
Reveille not before 2 PM.
Curfew 5 PM.
In case of early sleep or waking -- which may the Gods grant - I force
myself to walk to Melon(?) or at least to Bois-le-Rio --
Before dinner I went to Thibault to get a small commonplace printing
job done. The ignorance, stupidity and obstinacy of the specialist
nearly drove me insane. At dinner I was dropping with sleep, an
absolute agony of desire. Coffee and 2 Vieux Marcs revived me and I
took my walk in perfectly normal circumstances not in the least
intoxicated but feeling as I used to in 1896 on a bright May morning
in a new suit strolling Trinity Street.
I then went to the Cafe and had 3 Mandarins (I do not mean that I
committed a felony on the persons of three Chinamen of high official
rank!). I practiced billiards. I have not touched a cue for two years,
or been in good form for 8. I was amazed to find myself doing better
than I have ever done in my life. All classes of stroke seemed equally
easy. I was not trying particularly to do my best yet I ran off a
break of 22 from a leave of no remarkable promise.
Astounding! At this moment I feel quite normal and not a day over
I wish to note (before I forget it) that one of the nuisances
connected with the legends current as to the effects of drug-taking is
that one is apt to attribute any and every unpleasant symptom to
addiction or abstinence. Just as the man who fell downstairs while
reading George Eliot and broke his leg jumped to the conclusion that
the fracture of the femur was due to the fall, so I, after a bad night
and a weary walk in wet weather, wonder whether my asthma, depression
and other unpleasant phenomena are due to a) lack of cocaine b) too
much cocaine c) too much heroin d) too little heroin e) my Freudian
attitude toward drugs f)my reaction against said attitude g) etc.
The fundamental trouble about drugs is then that they tend to obsess
me, just as in the days of Christianity people always referred
anything that happened to the prophecies in Daniel, Matthew XXIV, or
These considerations, however, have this effect at least: that I am no
longer in the least anxious about my alleged addition, my imminent
insomnia, or anything else. There is yet, I regret to say, one super-
subtle whisper: "Is not your freedom from apprehension a `devise of
the Devil' to induce you to disdain your manifold precautions and to
go on the loose in order to show your superiority to the whole
Just so: This is a case for putting into practice by old rule -- "When
in doubt, stick to the letter of your resolution and never mind the
spirit." I may be free from all danger of being enslaved by drugs; I
may be making myself absurd by going on with my "cure" but I shall
keep my rules for the sake of keeping them -- without lust of result.
Well, that's off my chest. (I wish the phlegm was!). I shall need some
-------- till I happen to go to sleep -- Goodnight everybody!
I slept at once, woke at 3 for a few minutes, woke back up at 5:15,
slept again till nearly 12. There has been a lot of violent sweating.
I am now very slack still, despite the length of the rest.
Medium. Had been feeling very badly, chilled, empty etc. some relief
-- not complete.
Big. This put me at ease but I was aware of an absurd wish to let
myself go. The wish had no rational basis, positive or negative -- it
seemed principally due to the spirit of revolt against restriction.
T--- E--- not at station -- I began the walk along the crest back to
" No need but I don't want to risk the loss of prestige involved in
having to go back on my programme.
I now feel in first class shape all round. I walk briskly, blithely
and have a ridiculous feeling I must be "looking my best"--
Big -- The result of this dose was (apparently) that I was suddenly
overcome with somnolence. I can hardly keep my eyes open. I must lie
No: the feeling passes off to some extent.
Reveille -- 1:30 PM
Curfew -- 4 PM
Doses -- 5
I know that I am not diminishing very rapidly. But I have organized
and restricted the business. Last night's natural sleep was a big
stride! I find the mirror justifies my impression that I am looking
like an exceptionally handsome winner of the Diamond Sculls, whose
love is returned by the loveliest lady alive --
I'm not quite "nice drunk". This is as it should be. A few more
nights like last night ought to clear up the worst of the nervous
exhaustion. N.B. The cigar episode of Wednesday repeated itself!
After dinner walk cut short by a very severe fit of shivering -- the
worst I have had since malarial --------- was my long suit. I refuse
to admit that a little heroin would put me right.
Slept instantly but woke about 10:30 with fierce thirst, skin dry and
Nearly asleep -- sweating heavily.
Woke fresh & fit though very uncomfortable the bed and my sheet being
drenched with sweat! had no idea -- despite much experience of malaria
in such places as Rangoon that such quantities of perspiration could
be produced by so small a person! The quality offers no prospect of my
betting a contract with Houbignet.
I slept off and on all morning while my sheet dried on the radiator.
1 & 1:34.
Big- A tremendous relief, though I can hardly say from what! It seems
as if my symptoms were becoming uniform. I have had dyspepsia, fever,
bronchitis, asthma, rheumatic pains, tendency to headache, etc. The
trouble is that if it were not for knowing about heroin I should have
accepted any one of these as the natural lot of mankind and treated it
accordingly. As it is, I suspect "suppression" to be at the root of
2 & 2:01.
Medium. Heavy rain: it would be stupid to go out walking as I have
not a Barberry or a change of clothes and in view of two nights of
violent fever. Yet I suspect myself of exaggerating the rain as an
excuse for relaxing my regime. This is all absurdly over-honest; the
good point is the proof that I am taking the cure seriously, the bad
one that it shows a tendency to scare. But in a case of this port it
is an error on the right side to be slow to make excuses.
This is true, although at first sight silly; that all unpleasant
symptoms, diverse as they may be, depart unceremoniously on the
arrival of Heroin. The converse proposition (is it converse, obverse,
contrapositive or what? My logic is rusty) thus appears tenable: that
the symptoms arise from a single cause, the withdrawal of the drug.
Why then do I not get more symptoms still? Obviously enough: the
action of the heroin is to prevent one's natural tendencies to illness
from manifesting. I can well understand (in this light) the claim made
for opium that addicts are practically immune from most types of
disease. If, then, one could be sure of not abusing such drugs, it
might be a tenable thesis that their use prolongs life (Excuse me if I
distrust the above remarks! May not such thoughts be the scouts of my
soul's enemies?! I might easily change my plan of campaign, aiming to
limit my doses instead of suppressing them. The next step would be to
employ ---------- to enlarge the limit, or at least to become careless
so that I slid back into the way of taking dose whenever I felt like
I think it very important for humanity to set down all these
subtleties; it has never been properly done either by an artist or a
psychologist. I am not sorry that I undertook the experiment. These
mental analyses have analogies in other departments. They will be
extremely useful to the young Yogi, for example.
2 & 2:53.
Medium. I must make a point of analyzing the precise motives that
operate the actual decision at any moment as to when and how much I
take. I observe, by the way, that the above entry is accompanied by a
Such analysis strikes me as damnable difficult; and I instinctively
cry out for a stenographer to save me the trouble of writing and a
dose of cocaine to brace me up to the intellectual fatigue.
I see one difficulty about this `cure' which reminds me of Russell and
his `zigzagginess'. Suppose I succeed in ------ moral tone. I am
liable to discover it to be my "duty" to spurn this campaign as
selfish and trivial and to sacrifice myself to humanity (or something
pompous and piggish of the kind) by going off to establish the Law
aided by adequate doses. I can think of about a million artful
arguments of this kind. The sole rebuttal is -- as in learning
concentration of any sort -- to stick to the letter of the law without
lust of result. I must emphasize this danger to the utmost; I have
seen too often in the past how one can become obsessed by some ordered
mass of ideas which are utterly irrefutable and yet are the flimsiest
falsehoods when once they are set aside. The moral quality required to
do so is Resolute Stupidity; it is his possession of this that has
made the Englishman master of the world. It is the infiltration of the
poison of intelligence that is reducing him to a national rabbit.
Tommy Adkins is immeasurably superior to a Chink -- like Confucius; if
not, by what right does Brittania rule the waves?
I have made one gigantic stride toward recovery. I have regained my
belief in myself as a World Force. Despite the general indifference to
things at large which still leaves me without magnetism, I am
genuinely interested in this record and think it will prove one of the
most important documents offered to psycho-pathology.
I am calculating the best way to use my last two doses. I feel no need
of anything. As on previous days at this stage; and the reason in
taking them is as before. Yet I am haunted by the anguish of further
diminution -- I think: Hadn't I better take two big doses as late as
possible, so as to suffer less before Reveille tomorrow? As against
this: hadn't I better advance the time and diminish the amounts, so as
to force myself to fight through as much suffering as possible -- get
used to it, like eels to being skinned? For as I have hitherto managed
to keep strictly to my programme, I am getting to feel confident that
my pride will help me out in a pinch.
The final argument is this: let me be careful not to be overcareful.
There is danger in attaching too much importance to the matter. On the
other hand, no danger is so great as over-confidence; if I get
careless, good-night! The bottom of the business is the dear old
occult bottom -- to work without lust of result. One must act with all
the ardor and integrity possible; yet with indifference, as if one had
no interest in the upshot.
3 & 3:38.
Medium. I took this dose with very marked reluctance. I am tempted to
stop brutally. "To hell with the beastly stuff" is my reaction.
I am quite uncertain whether to regard this attitude as a symptom of
moral convalescence or as a subtly false attempt of the subconscious
craving to trick me into rashness. It is certainly wise to repudiate
both claims and to maintain the letter of the Law.
While wring this, I observe a powerful undertow of craving. The effect
of the dose seems to have been to make me eager to continue the drug
with enthusiasm. [This effect, by the way, is exceptionally well
reached when taking cocaine.] Now what may one deduce from this? Is it
that the stimulus, consciously resented, is subconsciously demanded?
It seems that the gain in power, the return towards the normal, gives
one confidence in one's mastery of oneself? In other words, is one
---------- there is a marked confusion of thought in my mind on this
point. I feel acutely that I am not expressing myself well and that I
am not clear about what I wish to express. This suggests that I must
be "drilling near the nerve" of some complex. My mind is simply
bewildered. I don't know how to formulate my question properly. I am
aware of a sort of shame or embarrassment. I seems as if my mind
wanted to evade the analysis and take refuge in deliberate
obfuscation. This is, of course, what regularly happens to the average
man whenever confronted by any moral problem. He thinks with confused
consternation on such subjects as religion, morality and disease
because his fear of what might happen to him is so vast and so vague
-- this inhibition has been responsible for all the (ignorance?) which
has disgraced the history of the race.
Medium. The final dose was taken with a certain anguish which I
instantly recognized as saying "all very well for today! but what
about tomorrow when the limit is 4 doses?" This sounds absurd as 3
doses have so far put me all right. But I am thinking of the question
of cumulative counter poisoning, and I feel a passionate impulse to
break down at this very moment, to "go on the bust, regardless" -- Yet
the thought of taking another dose is repugnant. The last has not made
me feel any better; it has simply dizzied me and fulled me with
querulous impatience. It has stopped raining, I think; I will go out
and if too wet, try what a Mandarin and an hour with a cue will do for
Just a note before going out -- I am not nearly "nice drunk" I am glad
to say -- But I am tremendously encouraged by the thought that this
record will be a model which may serve men to work out their own
mastery of "habits" without compulsion or assistance.