Friday, September 6, 2013


It is useless, and the time awfully fails me, to prolong this description; no one has ever suffered such torments, let that suffice; and yet even to these, habit brought—no, not alleviation—but a certain callousness of soul, a certain acquiescence of despair; and my punishment might have gone on for years, but for the last calamity which has now fallen, and which has finally severed me from my own face and nature. My provision of the salt, which had never been renewed since the date of the first experiment, began to run low. I sent out for a fresh supply, and mixed the draught; the ebullition followed, and the first change of colour, not the second; I drank it and it was without efficiency. You will learn from Poole how I have had London ransacked; it was in vain; and I am now persuaded that my first supply was impure, and that it was that unknown impurity which lent efficacy to the draught.

Note:  Thinking, as I’m often forced to do, about constant misapplied irony citations and repetitions of the banal phrase “the banality of evil,” how redeeming and refreshing it is to taste again the pure impurities of Robert Louis Stevenson's salts and articulate, energetic melancholy.  There’s such a lot of good ways to be bad.  And so many bad ways to be good.   Every politician’s deceptive and hollow cant can be measured  against the great artist’s mettle and valorous honesty.  Where does Susan Rice’s $44M come from?  Just like what you hear with a shell pressed to your ear.  That’s the sea in the trees in the morning.   Mr Hyde is swelling the shadowy boughs. Or is he lurking behind you?

Text:  Robert Louis Stevenson, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, London, Longman, Green & Co, 1886.

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