Confessions of an English Opium-Eater HTML version

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
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 moon-
light 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!"