the prince of the assassins

Hotel Pimodan found here

Dr Jacques Joseph Moreau and his friend Theophile Gautier were the driving force behind the setting up of Le Club des Haschischins in 1844 which met every month at the Hotel Pimodan on the Ile St Louis. The order was under the command of a ‘shiek’ called the Prince of the Assassins. This role was played by Dr Moreau himself, who would distribute green hashish paste among his assembled “assassins.”

image found here

Gautier wrote about the experience here

The doctor stood by the side of a buffet on which lay a platter filled with small Japanese saucers. He spooned a morsel of paste or greenish jam about as large as the thumb from a crystal vase, and placed it next to the silver spoon on each saucer.

The doctor’s face radiated enthusiasm; his eyes glittered, his purple cheeks were aglow, the veins in his temples stood out strongly, and he breathed heavily through dilated nostrils.

Dr Purple and his team found here

“This will be deducted from your share in Paradise,” he said as he handed me my portion.

Already some of the more fervent members felt the effects of the green jam: for my part, I had experienced a complete transformation in taste. The water I drank seemed the most exquisite wine, the meat, once in my mouth, became strawberries, the strawberries, meat. I could not have distinguished a fish from a cutlet. That strange visitor, hallucination, had come to dwell within me.

Strawberry meat found here

Little by little the salon was filled with extraordinary figures, such as are found only in the etchings of Callot or the aquatints of Goya; a pêle-mêle of rags and tatters, bestial and human shapes; at any other time I should have been uneasy in such company, but there was nothing menacing in these monstrosities. Only in a grin of good humor could one discover the uneven fangs and pointed teeth.

Courtyard of Lunatics by Goya found here

One of the club members, who had not taken part in the voluptuous intoxications, in order to survey the phantasma and prevent those of us who believed we possessed wings from leaping out the windows, got up, opened the piano, and sat down. His two hands plunged together into the ivories of the clavier and a glorious chord, resounding forcefully, silenced the clamor and changed the direction of the drunkenness.

read about turkey parachuting here

A veil was torn away from my mind’s eye, and it became apparent to me that the club’s members were none other than Cabalists and sorcerers who wished to sweep me to my doom.

Then vertigo enveloped me completely; I became mad, delirious. I was overcome with despair, for, in lifting my hand to my skull, I found it open, and I lost consciousness.

skull cake found here

The dream had ended. The hachichins each escaped separately to their houses, like the officers after Malbrouck’s funeral.

As for myself, I went down that stairway which had caused me such tortures with a light step, and several minutes later was in my own room, in full reality; the last, lingering mists of the hashish had disappeared. My reason had returned, or at least that which I call reason, for want of a better term. My lucidity would have been just sufficient to grasp a pantomime or vaudeville, or to make verses rhyming in three letters……


Published in: on January 27, 2010 at 7:27 am  Comments (34)  
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34 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. And now I have to watch ‘fear and loathing in las vegas’ again.

    • I love that film so much I bought a copy to keep.

  2. Man…that skull cake gives me a headache! Hope that isn’t brain filling by-the-way…

    • I’m so hungry right now that I could eat a plate of fried brain fritters followed by a big slab of that skull cake…. yummo!

  3. I’ve always found the fact that the first assassins were always high on hash fascinating. You’d think they’d screw up the hits constantly by forgetting their weapons or losing their horses, or because they found an interesting puddle. But no, they somehow kept their focus. Amazing.

    Also, I could never tell Mr. Salmon from Mr. Orange. Why couldn’t they just do it like Reservoir Dogs and have a Mr. Black?

  4. I think that they used hash to deal with the “feelings” that they had from their “jobs” I don’t think my bank would like it to much if I came to work high and gave people advice on financial matters. could make for an interesting time though, and long lunches!!

  5. I’m loving that skull cake ……

  6. Listen you lot. I actually NEED that whole cake.

  7. Seems Gautier had a bit of a bad trip. That jam was obviously a little stronger than what I spread on my toast this morning.

  8. my dinner parties are so lame compared to these. need gummi bacon (which i have) and a skull cake at the next one!

    • I’ve read about your parties daisyfae – nothing lame about your jelly shot style of catering ;-)

  9. i’ve been in that room except i wasn’t with assassins, at least not in the literal sense.

  10. Ummmmm, hallucinogens, yummy. That much hash sounds immobilizing. If I was an assassin I’d go with peyote and just love people to death.

    Otto Mimind

  11. The cake! OMG.. I used to cater and have made Monopoly cakes and gift box cakes etc. but a skull? Never.. Amazing and gross, kinda!
    As always I have enlightened and titillated! I’ve added you to my blogroll, btw, so the greater world (not that my readership is all that big) can see your fascinating blog!

    • Do you still make special cakes? I’d love to see some photos on your blog

      • I haven’t done cakes in a few years,but maybe I can find some of the pictures.
        My sister will marry soon and I’ll be doing her cake, but I suspect it’ll be ‘normal’

  12. So intrigued by Goya and his dark worlds. Gaultier’s gatherings give the demi-monde parties I know and love some toothsome food for thought.

  13. I gotta try that with some turkeys.

  14. Boy, they must have made hashish a lot different back then than they did when I got to smoke some. personally I don’t understand how people that high were able to do anything other than sit around smiling, eating chocolate and watching their own inner movie screens. Very interesting what the Author’s subconscious provided him for entertainment.

  15. One cake for me too please….

  16. The next time I have a need I’m going to say, “Like Mr. Orange through the South.”

  17. I think if you know martial arts that you shouldn’t do hallucinogenics. You never know which drugs going to turn people’s head into wooden boards. Or everyone into villains of a Shaw Brothers kung-fu movie.

  18. So many good potential blog names here: Prince of Assassins, Gummy Bacon, Courtyard of Lunatics…an inspiration of creativity for sure. That cake was really something. Have you ever gone to cakewrecks.com? It is a funny site worth a few minutes. In addition to disasters, they feature monumental cake accomplishments from time to time. This one should make the cut for sure.

    • I’ll check it out

  19. Gummy Bacon, I need some. By the way, Assassin is one my favorite words of all time, it has two asses in it.

  20. I went to the Moreau museum in Paris this past year. It’s located in his home in Montmartre…Really lovely. His work is weird (symbolist) but quite arresting…

    • I didn’t know he had his own museum – what a beautiful staircase

  21. lightweight

    • ;-)

      • ~;)

  22. A bit new for me to read Theophile Gautier in English… but I have to improve it before being as a skull cake!


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