Extracted from the Journal of Ezra Jennings
1849.--June 15.... With some interruption from patients, and some interruption
from pain, I finished my letter to Miss Verinder in time for to-day's post. I failed to
make it as short a letter as I could have wished. But I think I have made it plain. It
leaves her entirely mistress of her own decision. If she consents to assist the
experiment, she consents of her own free will, and not as a favour to Mr. Franklin
Blake or to me.
June 16th.--Rose late, after a dreadful night; the vengeance of yesterday's
opium, pursuing me through a series of frightful dreams. At one time I was
whirling through empty space with the phantoms of the dead, friends and
enemies together. At another, the one beloved face which I shall never see
again, rose at my bedside, hideously phosphorescent in the black darkness, and
glared and grinned at me. A slight return of the old pain, at the usual time in the
early morning, was welcome as a change. It dispelled the visions--and it was
bearable because it did that.
My bad night made it late in the morning, before I could get to Mr. Franklin Blake.
I found him stretched on the sofa, breakfasting on brandy and soda-water, and a
"I am beginning, as well as you could possibly wish," he said. "A miserable,
restless night; and a total failure of appetite this morning. Exactly what happened
last year, when I gave up my cigars. The sooner I am ready for my second dose
of laudanum, the better I shall be pleased."
"You shall have it on the earliest possible day," I answered. "In the meantime, we
must be as careful of your health as we can. If we allow you to become
exhausted, we shall fail in that way. You must get an appetite for your dinner. In
other words, you must get a ride or a walk this morning, in the fresh air."
"I will ride, if they can find me a horse here. By-the-by, I wrote to Mr. Bruff,
yesterday. Have you written to Miss Verinder?"
"Yes--by last night's post."
"Very good. We shall have some news worth hearing, to tell each other to-
morrow. Don't go yet! I have a word to say to you. You appeared to think,
yesterday, that our experiment with the opium was not likely to be viewed very
favourably by some of my friends. You were quite right. I call old Gabriel
Betteredge one of my friends; and you will be amused to hear that he protested
strongly when I saw him yesterday. "You have done a wonderful number of
foolish things in the course of your life, Mr. Franklin, but this tops them all!" There
is Betteredge's opinion! You will make allowance for his prejudices, I am sure, if
you and he happen to meet?"
I left Mr. Blake, to go my rounds among my patients; feeling the better and the
happier even for the short interview that I had had with him.