Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/502

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the three states of dreaming, insanity, and hasheesh intoxication. In all these external impressions are all-powerful, and the mind is subject, unchecked, to the excitation of the senses.

One great difference between intoxication by hasheesh and that by alcohol and chloroform is that in the former, when the dose is light, memory is intact: one remembers with marvelous exactitude all that he saw, did, or said. But if the dose be strong, the loss of memory is complete; then, too, there is delirium, wild delirium. In such doses hasheesh is dangerous, though I do not think a single case of death from this cause has ever been recorded in Europe. But sometimes the delirium has continued for several days, and assumed serious proportions. No one should take hasheesh without having some person to care for him while under the influence of the drug; oftentimes the hasheesh gives such a sense of lightness and agility that a person will attempt to fly by leaping out of a window.

In the East hasheesh is in very general use. It is nearly always smoked in large pipes, which are passed from mouth to mouth. The smoke is very agreeable, possessing a peculiar aromatic odor. On entering certain Arab cafés at Cairo or at Damascus, one perceives this penetrating odor, which gently intoxicates even those who do not smoke. In this mild dose hasheesh produces a sort of sleepiness, during which external objects assume fantastic forms, and all is like a dream. The monotonous, nasal music has a gentle, tranquilizing effect during this sleep. On the walls of the café are rudely-pictured camels, grotesque human forms, or the surface is marked with lines, quadrangles, and triangles. In the minds of the hasheesh-smokers these rude pictures awaken delightful illusions, and they fancy themselves to be transported to Mohammed's paradise. To further amuse the indolence of the customers, a chanter drones out a long story, semi-religious, semi-heroic. The tale is in couplets, and between the couplets the music strikes up again its interminable rhythm. Now and then a smoker will rise staggering to his feet, and will give expression by yells to the delight with which he contemplates some fantastic image that he sees. The rest of the company then laugh uproariously, but anon will greet the last speaker with "Allah be with thee! Allah be praised!" Never shall I forget this spectacle, which, in a dark corner of the noisy bazaars of Damascus, with the dim light of a smoky lamp, to the sound of the tambourine and guitar with three cords, enabled me to understand one side of Oriental life.