Madagan on the creative potential of hard drugs

The rest of my journey home passed without much incident. Having first stopped off to count the gas lamps on Putney Bridge, I arrived back at the front gardens of my lodgings just as the Match Girls were setting off for work. Now according to Mr Melmoth, those who imbibe the wares of Lloyds, Bayer, Boots et al ‘recreationally’, id est his friends, the Bohemian set, hair worn to the shoulder, hookah pipe, chaise longue etcetera, they find them a great boon to creativity. Take the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, he says, heavily under the influence of ‘the poppy’ when he wrote Kubla Khan. Or Lewis Carroll, Anglican Deacon by day, dropped a couple of Bunter’s Nervine Tablets one evening to rid himself of a migraine, wrote Alice in Wonderland. Or Madagan Rùn, I reply, who retched up a quart of ‘phiz’ and then fell asleep in a privet hedge.

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