Is that vodka?" Margarita asked weakly.The cat jumped up in his seat with indignation."I beg pardon, my queen," he rasped, "Would I ever allow myself to offer vodka to a lady? This is pure alcohol!
I must give due praise to the man who first extracted morphine from poppyheads. He was a true benefactor of mankind. The pain stopped seven minutes after the injection. Interesting: the pain passed over me in ceaseless waves, so that I had to gasp for breath, as though a red-hot crowbar were being thrust into my stomach and rotated. Four minutes after the injection I was able to distinguish the wave-like nature of the pain.
A book is open in front of me and this is what it has tosay about the symptoms of morphine withdrawal:'... morbid anxiety, a nervous depressed condition,irritability, weakening of the memory, occasionalhallucinations and a mild impairment of consciousness...'I have not experienced any hallucinations, but I canonly say that the rest of this description is dull, pedestrianand totally inadequate.'Depressed condition' indeed!Having suffered from this appalling malady, I hereby enjoinall doctors to be more compassionate toward theirpatients. What overtakes the addict deprived of morphinefor a mere hour or two is not a 'depressed condition': it isslow death. Air is insubstantial, gulping it down is useless... there is not a cell in one's body that does not crave... but crave what? This is something which defies analysisand explanation. In short, the individual ceases to exist:he is eliminated. The body which moves, agonises andsuffers is a corpse. It wants nothing, can think of nothingbut morphine. To die of thirst is a heavenly, blissful deathcompared with the craving for morphine. The feeling mustbe something like that of a man buried alive, clawing at theskin on his chest in the effort to catch the last tiny bubblesof air in his coffin, or of a heretic at the stake, groaning andwrithing as the first tongues of flame lick at his feet.Death. A dry, slow death. That is what lurks behindthat clinical, academic phrase 'a depressed condition'.