Confessions of an English Opium-Eater HTML version

yet the power of dreams had reconciled into harmony with the other. The scene
was an Oriental one, and there also it was Easter Sunday, and very early in the
morning. And at a vast distance were visible, as a stain upon the horizon, the
domes and cupolas of a great city--an image or faint abstraction, caught perhaps
in childhood from some picture of Jerusalem. And not a bow-shot from me, upon
a stone and shaded by Judean palms, there sat a woman, and I looked, and it
was--Ann! She fixed her eyes upon me earnestly, and I said to her at length: "So,
then, I have found you at last." I waited, but she answered me not a word. Her
face was the same as when I saw it last, and yet again how different! Seventeen
years ago, when the lamp-light fell upon her face, as for the last time I kissed her
lips (lips, Ann, that to me were not polluted), her eyes were streaming with tears:
the tears were now wiped away; she seemed more beautiful than she was at that
time, but in all other points the same, and not older. Her looks were tranquil, but
with unusual solemnity of expression, and I now gazed upon her with some awe;
but suddenly her countenance grew dim, and turning to the mountains I
perceived vapours rolling between us. In a moment all had vanished, thick
darkness came on, and in the twinkling of an eye I was far away from mountains,
and by lamplight in Oxford Street, walking again with Ann--just as we walked
seventeen years before, when we were both children.
As a final specimen, I cite one of a different character, from 1820.
The dream commenced with a music which now I often heard in dreams-- a
music of preparation and of awakening suspense, a music like the opening of the
Coronation Anthem, and which, like THAT, gave the feeling of a vast march, of
infinite cavalcades filing off, and the tread of innumerable armies. The morning
was come of a mighty day-- a day of crisis and of final hope for human nature,
then suffering some mysterious eclipse, and labouring in some dread extremity.
Somewhere, I knew not where--somehow, I knew not how--by some beings, I
knew not whom--a battle, a strife, an agony, was conducting, was evolving like a
great drama or piece of music, with which my sympathy was the more
insupportable from my confusion as to its place, its cause, its nature, and its
possible issue. I, as is usual in dreams (where of necessity we make ourselves
central to every movement), had the power, and yet had not the power, to decide
it. I had the power, if I could raise myself to will it, and yet again had not the
power, for the weight of twenty Atlantics was upon me, or the oppression of
inexpiable guilt. "Deeper than ever plummet sounded," I lay inactive. Then like a
chorus the passion deepened. Some greater interest was at stake, some mightier
cause than ever yet the sword had pleaded, or trumpet had proclaimed. Then
came sudden alarms, hurryings to and fro, trepidations of innumerable fugitives--I
knew not whether from the good cause or the bad, darkness and lights, tempest
and human faces, and at last, with the sense that all was lost, female forms, and
the features that were worth all the world to me, and but a moment allowed--and
clasped hands, and heart-breaking partings, and then--everlasting farewells! And
with a sigh, such as the caves of Hell sighed when the incestuous mother uttered
the abhorred name of death, the sound was reverberated--everlasting farewells!
And again and yet again reverberated--everlasting farewells!