"Lowell, May 10 1860
"The Top of the morning to you
"How do you get along courting the girls now since the Snow went off. Last night we had a splendid fire about twelve Oclock but did not go I can tell you I liked to lay abed too well. I went to see whare it was this morning. Dont let any one see this I will tell you whare it was
"It was a house of ilfame whare they keep pretty Girls I saw to of them & the lady of the house this morning.
"The old lady was telling how it caught afire. She said she used to have the back door open & the boys used to come in after rags & c ——— I suppose they did dont you.
"You say it is very dry down in Frankfort, but not dryer then it is here. we have not had any rain for the last two months untill yesterday. we had a slight rain of about four hours.
"But I think real estate will rise to day again
"I suppose you still stick to the Sons of Temperance dont you. I had rather stick to Daughters for my part
"The bells begin to ring & I must Close.
"Give my love to all the girls
"Burn this as quick as you read it."
Thursday, 5th. Rafe stopped by for coffee this morning and I joined him and Cara. He looked very cheerful.
"Cara tells me you've been working on your book some more. How's it going?"
Cara sat down with us, next to Rafe. "He typed all day yesterday, but he won't talk." She looked up at me and smiled. I love her eyes when they look like that — the color of clouds on a day like this one: gray, and a touch of blue sky behind them.
"I wrote chapter six," I said. But I could not tell them the book will never be finished. I have reached the center of the circle, the eye of calm, and my voyage has ended in nothing, where it began in the heart of my protagonist.
Rafe was happy. "The best therapy in the world," he said. "Write it out. It's good." He stretched like a cat. "I'll be over around ten Saturday for another session. That all right with you, Charles?" He shook his blond forelock back into place.
"I won't be by tomorrow morning," he said. "I have appointments all day, and I'm going to have to get to school early."
Cara looked disappointed.
"Sorry," he said. "There's a bunch of kids who need draft counseling. The war's still on, you know."
"It'll be on forever," Cara said touching her cup with her lip — a voluptuous gesture.
"Well, Saturday night, then," I said.
Rafe rose and waved as he went out to the kitchen. He stood a moment with his hand on the doorknob. He looked back at us, and a slight, troubled look overcast his blue glance. Then he smiled again and waved. "Be happy," he said, and left. We heard his car back out into the road and drive away.
I have spent the day walking in the fields. I went to the falls and watched the water come down over the stones from Blind Man's Hill; I crossed to the cemetery to visit my family and my friend, but all was still — only a winter sparrow or two looking for seeds among the headstones and monuments. In the late afternoon I returned to the house and sat with the books awhile, not reading, just listening to the soft murmur of voices rising out of the leather covers and falling to silence in the house among the tickings of the clocks and the chimres, Cara humming softly in the rooms among her plants. — watering and feeding the green life in this landscape of coming winter.
"Burn this as soon as you read it Charles.
Lowell may 30, 1860
"It is with the greatest pleasure that I now attempt to answer your kind letter which I received this afternoon
"If Mrs. Small has got the P———— it is quite sure that they have been doing or try to do something for there Country. I did as you requested me to do with your letter & I want you to do the same. Wednesday night only comes once a week & that I have to do myself.
"We are haveing a few drops of rain here to night & it is not very pleasant to be on the streets so I thought I would answer your letter as you requested me to write soon
"I do not know as I have much news to tell you, but Ile try & scrabble a few lines
"Yesterday there was afire over in Belvedere Charley Deming our book keeper & Mr. Washburn was ringing the fire bell. Some of the fixing gave way & it come through thje floor, had it not hit upon some of the timbers it would of come through all the floors & probably killed them both. Another accident I have to tell you but not of that kind, Mr. Loomis one of our customers hung himself yesterday about three OClock in his own shed. he was at the store & settled up his account the day previous. Antother sad accident I have to tell you Mrs. Alden another of our customers fell down her steps & broke her him. I believe she is doing well now. Well Charles that is all the sad news I have to relate to you
"But I have some few lines more to say, There was two young ladys walking out the other day, & they passed a young gentleman which the latter laughted, as he passed, the girls looked around. Says She, If you don't like the fasion, you may stick your nose in my arse.
That is about the stile of one half of them. Do you have any such down east.
"You say you have not heard from Fred Hawkins since you wrote me last I have not written him since I have been in Lowell I have gorgoten how to superscribe my letters to him & Ile endeavor to write him afew little dities, You sayd Frank was lame, what made him so. You did not write half enough about him
"I should like to here him spin some of his long yarns, I suppose he will have as much to say as old Sam White ever did. Has Brad White got hom yet he wrote to me when he was in Charleston S. C. wanted to buy my tools, said he would be home in the spring, & as this is the 30th day of may thought I would see rather he is at home or not
"You said you & Henry went on a ride last Sunday over on the neck did you see any of the prety girls that is what I should of looked after if I had been there, how are all the Carney Girls do you ever see them except when they are at the division, give my respects to them when you see them
"Charles to tell you the barest facts I have not been home with but two girls since I have been here
"It is geting along towords ten OClock & I must go over to my boarding house & go to bed
"I still remane your honest friend
"Write soon as you told me & I did so. I shall be home for a visit before Thanksgivings day. Look for me at your door Charles I shall knock loud."
Cara has come up behind me holding two cob pipes and she is waiting.
Friday, 6th. It is all very clear to me now. I must try to write it clearly as well, so that you may be prepared, reader, if by chance this journal should be spared, which I shall make every attempt to ensure.
Last night, when I was done with my entry, I turned and followed Cara to her room. We lay down on the bed fully clothed and began to smoke. I felt clear enough of mind, so that I thought perhaps this time the leaves would not adversely affect me, as they are wont to do, strangely.
At first, this was the case. As I inhaled and held the smoke in my lungs, my feelings began to rise, and Cara and I began to exchange quips. They were silly in nture, and we began to giggle like schoolchildren.
"This won't work, Charles. We've got to cool it if we're going to get serious." She tried to force her face into repose, but was not successful. We laughed again. But, after repeated efforts, and more deep draughts of the fumes, at last we quieted. I begain to experience a sense of excitement, as did Cara, I believe.
I began to funble at her clothes, my hands busy with button and catches. Soon she lay naked on the bed and I lay back. Cara rose to her knees, bent above me, and undid my garments, pulling and tugging. I gave but little help.
As she worked I began to experience a feeling of foreboding. I attempted to fight the sensation down but was unsuccessful. Rather, it grew until I became certain that Cara was some sort of agent for malice, I cannot tell why. I began to resist her.
"Charles, you're not cooperating," she said. She looked at me out of an oval frame of darkness, her eyes luminous as gray moons. "Here," she said, "have another drag or two," and she held out the pipe I had put down. And I was certain she was trying to poison me — or, no — to use herbs to corrupt me. I pushed her hand a way, rose, and restored my clothing. I said nothing. The look of hurt in her eyes and countenance was great.
I left her room and went into mine; I sat on my bed for a while — how long I cannot surely say. The weeds were still working in my brain — flashes of strange colors and sounds.
"Hello, Charles," Norine said. Chill struck me to my marrow. I looked up, and in the darkness there was nothing to see but the glow of the fire in the hearth and its reflection in the hallseat mirror beside the wardrobe, but malevolence was omnipresent. As I gazed into the glass, above the flickering daggers of flame, as it were in the firmament, angels and clouds began to form and to whirl. At last they resolved themselves — I was staring into the mask of Death.
"You see, you've not gotten rid of us after all. Cara has seen to that. How are you, Charles? How far have to gotten with The Book of the Black Heart?" And the mask grinned coldly out of mercury and glass.
I rallied all my forces and tried to dissipate the force of the fumes. To some degree I succeeded, I think, for I rose and left the room. As I passed Cara's door I looked in. She had gone downstairs, but there was something peculiar about the light. Then I realized what it was — the house is filled with old lamps converted to electricity, but the one in Cara's room was burning with a flame, not a filament.
The hall was dark. I groped for the light switch, intending to go to the library, but I could not find it. Instead, I went downstares. I went into the dining room, and Cara was there in electrical light, holding a dish.
"Charles," she said, "you didn't eat your dessert at suppertime. Have some. It'll make you feel better. We shouldn't have smoked. I'm sorry. The stuff's no good for you." She proffered the dish. I took it, feeling shamed. I realized at the moment that I was hallucinating, and the knowledge came with a sense of relief.
I took the dish and sat down. Cara passed behind me. I heard the cellar door open. I heard her footsteps as she descended, as I thought. I took a spoonful of the pudding and lifed it to my mouth — but all my premonitions returned ten-fold. I could not eat it. This was another attempt to put me in her power. I had barely escaped once, I could not succumb now.
I went into the kitchen and disposed of the pudding, feeling again a sense of relief — but at the same time a corner of my mind told me I was being foolish and that I mustn't let myself be deeived by appearances conjured out of burning leaves.
I returned to the dining room and sat down t my place, the empty dish before me, so that Cara when she came back up would believe I had eaten her food.
And then I heard footsteps in the living room. I was astonished. I knew there was no one else in the house but Cara and me, and I knew she had not come back up out of the cellar. I got up to look and found Cara in the living room sitting on the couch and looking into the fire.
"If you're in here," I asked, "who's in the cellar?"
She looked up at me. "There's no one in the cellar, Charles. Come and sit beside me." She sighed. "I'm sorry it went all wrong. Really sorry." She was weeping.
I went to her and touched her shoulder. "It'll be all right," I said, or I think I said. "I'll be right back."
I returned to the dining room and went to the cellarway to reach for the light switch — there was none. There was a deep glow coming from below. I made some sort of hoarse noise in my throat, stepped back, and slammed the door.
When I turned about I saw I was standing in flickering lamplight.
There is no possible way to describe my sensations of fear, though I fought them as strongly as I might. I went back to the living room and called, "Cara —"
My senses spun in my mind like dust devils.
Cara was lying naked before the hearth, her legs spread. At her head and at each of her shoulders stood a black candle burning, and another at her feet.
A priest was kneeling, conducting the communion, using Cara as the altar. About Cara and the priest, in a semicircle, stood many people, some seeming to be solid flesh, others with outlines that wavered in the candlelight. Tituba stood there, and the minister with the noose about his neck; Norine and Melany, and another girl, a little older, with a woman who must have been her mother, both dressed in Puritan costume. There were others, both men and women, all clothed in ancient garments, and one man naked, his body misshapen, holding a stone, blood running from his mouth, nose, and eyes,to one side. He slgnalled Cara, who doused tbe lights, and, from the sounds of her movements, one could tell she had settled onto the couch.
"Okay," Rafe said in a quiet voice, “I want you to relax and tell every part of your body to relax, and I want you to keep looking at the pendulum as it swings, Follow it with your eyes. Let yourself sink into the pendulum and the chair. Listen to the ticking of
the clock, and, when I speak, to my volce."
For a long time he said nothing except, now and thcn, "Relax." In the fireplace I heard the sound of embers falling. I heard Rafe's voice murmuring near me. At first I was very tense, but
I did as he asked, and eventually my limbs began to lighten and to tingle, and the disc grew larger until it was very big. Then Rafe began to speak again: "It is the moon. It is filling the room. Nothing is here but you, the moon, and my voice. Let it take you. I am hcre ta protect you and help you. Your eyes are growing wider and wider, to swallow the moon, and 'all you can hear is my voice end the ticking of time. The moon, only the moon.
"Your limbs are growing heavy, and you see only the moon,”
but I could no longer feel my limbs tingling, I was lying on the softest place in the sky, on the moon which was enormous.
"And now you are growing very sleepy, Charles, and your eyelids are
beavy. The moonlight is hurting them. Let them close agalnst the light, Charles, let them clase and 1isten to me. Are you slcepy, Charlcs?"
"Yes," I said, "Very. The moon is hurting my eyes.”
“You are ssleep, Charles, and you hear nothing but my voice.
Is that so?”
"Yes,” I said. “My eyes are closed,” but I could see through the lids. The moon was pale among the scudding clouds.
"Are you asleep?"
"'What do you see?"
“The dim moon in the night aky, and I am in the sky too."
Now the voice became hollow, like a heavy gong. "Rise up and face me, rise up, Charles Ally!" I felt myself rise and turn. I was standing on nothing. I saw, with my eyes still closed, a priest in robes and cassock, darkly in the moonlight.
"I am Raphael, minister of God, Charles, and then: Speak! Who art thou that has taken this man?"
A ereat groan burst from my lips. Coils in my bowels, knots and aches.
"In the name of the Father, speak! In the name of the Son, speak! In the name of the Holy Ghost, speak, viper!"
A great voice, deeper than any well: "f am Asmodeus.”
"And I am Raphael, How didst thou enter? Speak, in the nsme of Christl"
"I am Asmodeus, of the Order of Seraphim. I came Into this man through his organ of procreation.”
“Are there others with thee? Speak!"
“No others," said the deep voice.
"I, Raphael, command thee in the name of the Lord, what others are there with thee in this man?"
"In the name of the Father!”
Coilings and gnashings.
"And of the Son!”
A babble of voices in my lungs.
"And of the Holy Ghost!"
"I am here," said a soft and haughty voice. "Belial of the Third
Hierarchy, Prince of the Order of Virtues fallen. I entered through his mind, and have clothed him in the raiment of arrogance,"
"I entered with Belial.” said a towering voice. "I am Beelzebub, of
the First Hierarchy, Prince of the Order of Seraphim Fallen, I have pierced his heart with the lance of pride."
"I, Verrine, of the First Hierarchy, Order of Thrones Fallen. I entered with the point of the lance, and poisoned his blood with Impatience.”
"And I, Gresael, af the First Hierarchy, Order of Thrones Fallen, came in with the haft. His heart is unsure."
"Cerrow, of the Second Hierarchy, Prince of Powers Fellen. His heart is stone. No one may remove the lance,"
"And I am the last, Carnivan, of the Second Hierarchy, Prince of Powers fallen. In the mirror of glass he sees me when he commits fornication with women."
Tho babble ceased. In the darkness was the ticking of the moon.
"Are there others? Speak! In the name of the Trinity, I, Raphael, command it.”
Silence again, as before; lightning and thunder,
"Why hast thou possessed this man?'
The deep voice answered: "He wished it. He forsook his Father
when he was twelve, after baptism. He heard no voice when he addressed the Throne of Grace. He commanded, and heard not the Lord, and celled out, ‘Thou art gone from the heavens, and I am forsaken. Therefore will I forsake thee,' and we began to enter."
"How long wilt thou possess this man? What is thy term?"
"'Until the final hour," the softest voice said.
''I command thee then, vipers of the Serpent, the Worm that destroys the flesh, in the name of the Judge of the word and the
deed, of the hosts of Torment and Earth, of Heaven and Hell, begonel"
In my bowels the mortal terror; the scent of smoke in my nostrils. I felt Rafe’s hand laid upon my head, and it was cool.
"I conjure thee, Princes of Seraphim fallen, of Cherubim end Throne
fallen, in the name of thy Maker, begone!" I fell and twisted, writhing in the dark air, but felt no pain; my limbs were as cedars in the wind.
"I conjure thee, Princes of Thrones Fallen, of Principalities and
Powers Fallen, in tho name of the Holy Ghost, begone!"
Terrible noises in my throat. The hand was ice on my forehead, and I shook in every' part, as though torn by wolves.
"I conjure thee, Princes of Virtues Fallen, of Archangels and Angels Fallen, in the name of the Lord thy God, Jehovah, begone!"
I cannot describe the storm that now shook me, the voices that shrieked and cursed me, overwhelming. me so that I could hardly hear Raphael.
"Beelzebub, in the name of thy adversary, St. Francis of Assisi; Asmodeus, in the name of thy adversary, St. John the Baptist; Verrine, in the name of thy adversary, St, Dominic; Gresael, in the name of thy adversary, St, Reynard; Cerrow, in the name of thy adversary, St. Vincent; Carnivan, in the name of thy adversary, St. John the Evangelist; Belial, in the name of thy adversary, St. Francis de Paul, - all ye that possess this man, by the power of the Holy Church and of the Lord of Heaven. I, Raphael, command thee to go forth and enter not again!"
As he named those names, each and every one, I felt part of a burden go with great wailing, and, at the last word, there was silence. Then, the bell behind the moon peeled twelve times, and I opened my eyes. The room was suffused with a fiery glow from the fireplace.
Suddenly, with a yowl of rage, Wesley Catch tore out of the shadows into the fireplace and I beard his claws scratching the chimney as he ran among a burst of wings that faded into the night above the house,
I remember that Rafe and Cara helped me upstairs and into bed. Cara kissed me goodnight. I am too tired, now, to continue the narrative, I have not seen Catch all day.