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The way we were: Supreme happiness

Extracts from memoirs and diaries selected by Ian Irvine

By Ian Irvine   May 2019

Marriage of Victoria and Albert, painted by George Hayter


Thomas de Quincey, aged 19, first takes opium to relieve severe facial pain:

“I was necessarily ignorant of the whole art and mystery of opium taking: and what I took, I took under every disadvantage. But I took it—and in an hour, oh heavens! What a revulsion! What an upheaving, from its lowest depths, of the inner spirit! What an apocalypse of the world within me!

That my pains had vanished was now a trifle…

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