Confessions of an English Opium-Eater HTML version

{1} "Not yet RECORDED," I say; for there is one celebrated man of the present
day, who, if all be true which is reported of him, has greatly exceeded me in
{2} A third exception might perhaps have been added; and my reason for not
adding that exception is chiefly because it was only in his juvenile efforts that the
writer whom I allude to expressly addressed hints to philosophical themes; his
riper powers having been all dedicated (on very excusable and very intelligible
grounds, under the present direction of the popular mind in England) to criticism
and the Fine Arts. This reason apart, however, I doubt whether he is not rather to
be considered an acute thinker than a subtle one. It is, besides, a great drawback
on his mastery over philosophical subjects that he has obviously not had the
advantage of a regular scholastic education: he has not read Plato in his youth
(which most likely was only his misfortune), but neither has he read Kant in his
manhood (which is his fault).
{3} I disclaim any allusion to EXISTING professors, of whom indeed I know only
{4} To this same Jew, by the way, some eighteen months afterwards, I applied
again on the same business; and, dating at that time from a respectable college,
I was fortunate enough to gain his serious attention to my proposals. My
necessities had not arisen from any extravagance or youthful levities (these my
habits and the nature of my pleasures raised me far above), but simply from the
vindictive malice of my guardian, who, when he found himself no longer able to
prevent me from going to the university, had, as a parting token of his good
nature, refused to sign an order for granting me a shilling beyond the allowance
made to me at school--viz., 100 pounds per annum. Upon this sum it was in my
time barely possible to have lived in college, and not possible to a man who,
though above the paltry affectation of ostentatious disregard for money, and
without any expensive tastes, confided nevertheless rather too much in servants,
and did not delight in the petty details of minute economy. I soon, therefore,
became embarrassed, and at length, after a most voluminous negotiation with
the Jew (some parts of which, if I had leisure to rehearse them, would greatly
amuse my readers), I was put in possession of the sum I asked for, on the
"regular" terms of paying the Jew seventeen and a half per cent. by way of
annuity on all the money furnished; Israel, on his part, graciously resuming no
more than about ninety guineas of the said money, on account of an attorney's
bill (for what services, to whom rendered, and when, whether at the siege of
Jerusalem, at the building of the second Temple, or on some earlier occasion, I
have not yet been able to discover). How many perches this bill measured I really
forget; but I still keep it in a cabinet of natural curiosities, and some time or other I
believe I shall present it to the British Museum.
{5} The Bristol mail is the best appointed in the Kingdom, owing to the double
advantages of an unusually good road and of an extra sum for the expenses
subscribed by the Bristol merchants.