The Yellow Claw eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 339 pages of information about The Yellow Claw.

Mr. Gianapolis seated himself beside the Frenchman.

“I perceive,” he said, “that you are of those who abjure the heresies of De Quincey.  How little he knew, that De Quincey, of the true ritual of the poppy!  He regarded it as the German regards his lager, whereas we know—­you and I—­that it is an Eleusinian mystery; that true communicants must retreat to the temple of the goddess if they would partake of Paradise with her.”

“It is perhaps a question of temperament,” said M. Gaston, speaking in a singularly tremulous voice.  “De Quincey apparently possessed the type of constitution which is cerebrally stimulated by opium.  To such a being the golden gates are closed; and the Easterners, whom he despised for what he termed their beastly lethargies, have taught me the real secret of the poppy.  I do not employ opium as an aid to my social activities; I regard it as nepenthe from them and as a key to a brighter realm.  It has been my custom, M. Gianapolis, for many years, periodically to visit that fairyland.  In Paris I regularly arranged my affairs in such a manner that I found myself occasionally at liberty to spend two or three days, as the case might be, in the company of my bright friends who haunted the Boulevard Beaumarchais.”

“Ah!  Our acquaintance has mentioned something of this to me, Monsieur.  You knew Madame Jean?”

“The dear Madame Jean!  Name of a name!  She was the hierophant of my Paris Temple"...

“And Sen?”

“Our excellent Sen!  Splendid man!  It was from the hands of the worthy Sen, the incomparable Sen, that I received the key to the gate!  Ah! how I have suffered since the accursed business has exiled me from the"...

“I feel for you,” declared Gianapolis, warmly; “I, too, have worshiped at the shrine; and although I cannot promise that the London establishment to which I shall introduce you is comparable with that over which Madame Jean formerly presided"...

“Formerly?” exclaimed M. Gaston, with lifted eyebrows.  “You do not tell me"...

“My friend,” said Gianapolis, “in Europe we are less enlightened upon certain matters than in Smyrna, in Constantinople—­in Cairo.  The impertinent police have closed the establishment in the Rue St. Claude!”

“Ah!” exclaimed M. Gaston, striking his brow, “misery!  I shall return to Paris, then, only to die?”

“I would suggest, monsieur,” said Gianapolis, tapping him confidentially upon the breast, “that you periodically visit London in future.  The journey is a short one, and already, I am happy to say, the London establishment (conducted by Mr. Ho-Pin of Canton—­a most accomplished gentleman, and a graduate of London)—­enjoys the patronage of several distinguished citizens of Paris, of Brussels, of Vienna, and elsewhere.”

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The Yellow Claw from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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