or defect of sensibility in the stomach, and this I imagined might imply a scirrhous state of that organ, either formed or forming. An eminent physician, to whose kindness I was at that time deeply indebted, informed me that such a termination of my case was not impossible, though likely to be forestalled by a different termination in the event of my continuing the use of opium. Opium therefore I resolved wholly to abjure as soon as I should find myself at liberty to bend my undivided attention and energy to this purpose. It was not, however, until the 24th of June last that any tolerable concurrence of facilities for such an attempt arrived. On that day I began my experiment, having previously settled in my own mind that I would not flinch, but would “stand up to the scratch” under any possible “punishment.” I must premise that about 170 or 180 drops had been my ordinary allowance for many months; occasionally I had run up as high as 500, and once nearly to 700; in repeated preludes to my final experiment I had also gone as low as 100 drops; but had found it impossible to stand it beyond the fourth day—which, by the way, I have always found more difficult to get over than any of the preceding three. I went off under easy sail—130 drops a day for three days; on the fourth I plunged at once to 80. The misery which I now suffered “took the conceit” out of me at once, and for about a month I continued off and on about this mark; then I sunk to 60, and the next day to—none at all. This was the first day for nearly ten years that I had existed without opium. I persevered in my abstinence for ninety hours; i.e., upwards of half a week. Then I took—ask me not how much; say, ye severest, what would ye have done? Then I abstained again—then took about 25 drops then abstained; and so on.

Meantime the symptoms which attended my case for the first six weeks of my experiment were these: enormous irritability and excitement of the whole system; the stomach in particular restored to a full feeling of vitality and sensibility, but often in great pain; unceasing restlessness night and day; sleep—I scarcely knew what it was; three hours out of the twenty-four was the utmost I had, and that so agitated and shallow that I heard every sound that was near me. Lower jaw constantly swelling, mouth ulcerated, and many other distressing symptoms that would be tedious to repeat; amongst which, however, I must mention one, because it had never failed to accompany any attempt to renounce opium—viz., violent sternutation. This now became exceedingly troublesome, sometimes lasting for two hours at once, and recurring at least twice or three times a day. I was not much surprised at this on recollecting what I had somewhere heard or read, that the membrane which lines the nostrils is a prolongation of that which lines the stomach; whence, I believe, are explained the inflammatory appearances about the nostrils of dram drinkers. The sudden restoration of its original sensibility to the stomach expressed itself, I suppose, in this way. It is remarkable also that during the whole period of years through which I had taken opium I had never once caught cold (as the phrase is), nor even the slightest cough. But now a violent cold attacked me, and a cough soon after. In an unfinished fragment of a letter begun about this time to—I find these words: “You ask me to write the—Do you know Beaumont and Fletcher’s play of “Thierry and Theodore”? There you will see my case as to sleep; nor is it much of an exaggeration in other features. I protest to you that I have a greater influx of thoughts in one hour at present than in a whole year under the reign of opium. It seems as though all the thoughts which had been frozen up for a decade of years by opium had now, according to the old fable, been thawed at once—such a multitude stream in upon me from all quarters. Yet such is my impatience and hideous irritability that for one which I detain and write down fifty escape me: in spite of my weariness from suffering and want of sleep, I cannot stand still or sit for two minutes together. ’I nunc, et versus tecum meditare canoros.’”

At this stage of my experiment I sent to a neighbouring surgeon, requesting that he would come over to see me. In the evening he came; and after briefly stating the case to him, I asked this question; Whether he did not think that the opium might have acted as a stimulus to the digestive organs, and that the present state of suffering in the stomach, which manifestly was the cause of the inability to sleep, might arise from indigestion? His answer was; No; on the contrary, he thought that the suffering was caused by digestion itself, which should naturally go on below the consciousness, but which from the unnatural state of the stomach, vitiated by so long a use of opium, was become distinctly perceptible. This opinion was plausible; and the unintermitting nature of the suffering disposes me to think that it was true, for if it had been any mere IRREGULAR affection of the stomach, it should naturally have intermitted occasionally, and constantly fluctuated as to degree. The intention of nature, as manifested in the healthy state, obviously is to withdraw from our notice all the vital motions, such as the circulation of the blood, the expansion

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