Light failed with an ugly bump. I believe others also arrived at Chancery... whether they were initiates or hirelings I cannot say, but there must have been six strong shoulders for the coffin was properly lifted and carried downstairs. I felt the night and frost on my skin but could not move and could not speak... surely this was life-in-death of a sort even the poet of the Albatross could not conceive.

          There was a short voyage in what I blasphemously presumed to be a hearse-carriage, suitably garnished, then an interval in one of London's stations, awaiting the midnight train to Scotland. At one point I heard voices nearby and the coffin lid was raised, but so potent was the effect of Crowley's medicine that I could not even blink at the light, nor at the respectful Glaswegian porter, regarding me as the corpse I seemed to be.

          I could almost hear Crowley's hand wiping imagined tears. "God's called poor Arthur home," my landlord said, "to rest in his beloved Scots earth forever. Here is his empty, mortal suit and here is a Certificate of Decease... with the signature of Coroner Westcott of London, himself... besides which is the Coroner's letter requesting all considerations due and proper respects paid, harrumph..."

          The porter, a skeptical man no doubt, inserted his nose into my coffin then leaned back, crossing himself. "Thy Laird be with ye, laddie," he blessed me and was replaced by Crowley overhead, and Bennett at my feet.

          "Good people who this highway tread," remarked the Beast of Boleskine, withdrawing the handful of rotten meat he'd placed in my pocket with a pious smirk before the coffin lid again began its descent, " say a prayer for thy dead!"

          The Golden Dawn had arranged to be quartered, with my coffin as I learned, in a sealed, private car. Once formalities had been paid, officials bribed and the train departed through the swirling midnight mists of London, the Adepts kindly opened my casket so that I might hear, if not reply, as they conversed in low voices of the tarot and rugged virtues of Gothic cathedrals, of India and relativity. Now and again one was seized by an inclination to unburden his or her treacherous soul before my casket, a gesture that... as I found myself quite capable of hearing, remembering and even thinking, assembling useful fragments of their confessions... became all the more appalling for the implications that no mere Zelator could be entrusted to hear such things and still survive.

          First to appear came Bennett...

          "If it's of any comfort, you were quite upon the right trail in Paris and Germany. We underestimated you," he allowed, moving closer so that I could see that he wore a baby constrictor as a wrap around his shoulders... I've heard such fashions, since, be referred to as "boas". "There is war in Hell and Heaven, not a slobbery Manichean duel between the light and dark but a complex Enochian struggle," Bennett revealed, "... reaching through dimensions of time and space. A fluid plasma accessed by Templars and Hospitallers, by Saracens and Assassins and... of course... by the Secret Chiefs in Thibet. Madame Blavatsky was only last to understand the struggle wholistically - that game which Besant and Shaw have reduced to a miserable political flap in India. The World Teacher, the Logos Aionos is not coming... he is here, Cameron, and you... you shall be the rope that binds his flesh to his spirit. What a destiny... I envy you, Cameron!"

          Bennett raised his shoulder so that the snake might flick its tongue out in a sort of homage and then he was gone. Soon, however, Florence Farr bent over, ravaged face veiled...

          "Have I told you I'm going to Ceylon? It's a secret, you wouldn't give me away to Aleister, would you? I do not want to die in Europe... if this is vanity then you may call me vain. They are wise, gentle people... the Ceylonese... we shall learn from them as much as they from us."

          And she gave me a kiss, but chastely... if we had known passion it was extinguished now or, worse, had been counterfeit all along. Willie Yeats dared not face me but not so Maud Gonne who looked down with some pity but a great deal more contempt.

          "I do wish that you could see these stars! It is as if the constellations had themselves dispersed and reformed to show the way for you, the Walker into Nowhere. Ruskin's resuscitation shall make the Fabian temple a middle path between ours... Isis-Urania... and the European lodges and professionally we also are combining," Maud admitted, one thumb and forefinger picking at the tips of the other's glove, "Yeats, Annie Horniman and I... but for subscriptions for a theatre to be established in Dublin. Strong art and the pressure of Europe shall pry England's talons loose from Scotland and from Ireland... Crowley, Mathers and I have executive difficulties but the thrust of history... that is implacable. It extends to India, to the Transvaal and the Protectorate of Jerusalem... and Russia too... it is a dawn of mass delirium, and we are those who will rob the dead, the rooks feasting upon the eyes and entrails of empire. What is one petty life next to such Daimonic vision?"

          Crowley at last appeared as it seemed dawn was about to break... he had prepared another syringe full of the paralyzing Amazonic drug.

          "Teatime, Ruby Arse, and for a special treat, a few grains of opium salt to make pleasant the road to Loch Ness. Strick, stein, gras... grains, eh? Think of an old parable brought to fulfillment, Cameron... an Edison cylinder, constant and cyclical as lunar tides or the Cinematograph whose speed of aperture makes possible illusions Maskelyne himself may only envy. The doctrine of grains and tides drummed into every young mind subject to my parents' Order; Father... after selling the brewery... used to take me on his missionary rounds through streets of grimy towns in the north, accosting this or that stranger, demanding to know their business and sins, answering each reply "and then?" through the rest of the day and month, then years until finally the poor old sod would admit that, sooner or later, they'd die... at which unhappy instance Father would seize upon them, bellowing 'Get right with God!' So if God were to send his messenger down, but a messenger flawed, an Amfortas of philosophy... wouldn't it be worth giving your body up for understanding all there is that lies behind every deed and thought?... and all that thinks and reaches from above to move its pawn through every lie?"

          Crowley emptied the needle into my arm painfully, but I could make no gesture of resistance, summon no cry to Heaven. "Perhaps a fragment of your soul survives when the Ipsissimus dons your splendid body as one does a macintosh... though, actually, every major advance must be accompanied by tremendous crumbling and passings-away. He... Cameron... He shall bring back, from realms beyond the Veil, that mode of thought that prescribes laws for the Superman's future, that for this future's sake is harsh, even tyrannical... towards itself and towards all weak things of this vulgar, comfortable present!"

          And the Beast lowered his lips to my ear, whispering so the rest of his confederates might not hear... "Wait until DEDI and the rest discover who the Starke von Ober truly is!"

          Now, unable to close my eyes despite the laudanum, I lived through waking reveries, a Witches' Sabbat through the shortest day of the year while the Adepts, having bolted the door and drawn the shades, collapsed into sleep as vampires do... in a tangle of fitful limbs I could not observe but heard occasionally thrashing... rustling on the floor of the empty carriage. A wedge of sunlight at the window's corners brightened with noon's passage, then began to fade... long hours afterwards the Adepts begin stirring and... at twilight... Crowley appeared to give me another shot, but of curare whole, this time, without a leavening of opium. Down came the coffin's lid and soon I heard voices, felt myself transferred to a horse drawn carriage for the beginning of our voyage south out of Inverness. As the road was rough and the casket closed, but not sealed, the occasional bump in the road afforded me a brief slash of purple sky and once... an occasion of a monstrous bump elicited a Babel of English, German and French, now even the caffeinated Italian of my Futurist antagonist Marinetti... the lid bounced wholly open, exposing me to the glint of December's waxing moon.

          "Leave it!" I heard Crowley chuckle. "After all, it isn't as if the fellow is going to tell someone where we have been!"

          And the laughter which replied was pitiless, soulless as that elicited from the throats of robbers or tax collectors rather than any congregation of Adepts!

          "O! if you could but see this night of Saturnalia in its splendor," Crowley said when the carriage ceased its rumblings, and a number of strong shoulders had removed my coffin to its place of rest beneath a glade of old pines, "all your friends here and some enemies too... all seekers after the Quintessence! What a new look Night is taking on!" I heard voices conversing, bumps and shouts. "You shall!" declared the Beast. "Iehi Aour... lay down that carpetbag of vipers and help me roll this rock over this way!" And the proud Beast summoned help to lift the head of my coffin so I might be able to view a portion of his estate, Boleskine, and Loch Ness beyond. Had I been capable, I might have laughed to spite the devil... Crowley's holdings were less the country manor as depicted in the imagination of Mr. Somerset Maugham some years later than an oversized chicken house with low ceilings and piles of debris still left from its casual improvements. In the foreground Bennett returned to his carpetbag that writhed ominously, Lanz and Marinetti wrestled with the bulky Vartanian ray, and I was only barely able to perceive a second, sealed coffin waiting beside me.

          "Thou certainly has become In-itiate," joked Crowley, "but, as soon as I can find the Praemonstrator, we shall set your soul towards flying Out!"

          Florence Farr joined him in laughter but, as he stalked away she removed her jacket and rolled it up.

          "You must be dreadfully uncomfortable... here is a sort of pillow for your dear head. Since you cannot tell Crowley, I shall leave with you another secret... Bennett and I have determined to depart for Ceylon together. He is the man of my destiny... what remains of it... but please don't be angry, I don't regret one moment of what we shared. Each of us have our future, be it splendid or merely common... so bless us, Altius, in this world, or the next, as you will..."

          And Bennett behind her smirked "Love is the law so Florence and I shall do as we will in spite of Frater Perdurabo!" His head turned sharply, a bolt apparently had given way, causing the Vartanian Device to fall to the turf. Lanz von Liebenfels and Marinetti, whose common language was an imperfect English, set at once to blaming each other.

          "That dunking in the Seine can't have helped any," I heard Lanz condemn...

          "Everything shall be splendid!" the Imagnifico promised. "I've applied my personal genius to its repair and improvement... if you would question me, go back to your Black Forest... and take that blind pillar of Teutonic gloom with you!"

          I presume he pointed to Guido von List whose head I could discern in cloak and bandages, alone... muttering a silent Runic prayer...

          "He is a genuine Master you little... fop..." swore Lanz. They brandished wrenches against each other in anger but work finally continued on the Ray... at length I heard another carriage appear and, shortly, Crowley arguing with the stumbling Praemonstrator.

          "Are you already drunk? By Pan, the making of moonchildren is no scientific demonstration at a boarding school..."

          Apparently my landlord shoved Mathers aside for I beheld him stalking by Willie Yeats, the latter almost smiling. "Give us this day our daily Dewars," Crowley recited scornfully, "and a wee drappie maire for the luck..."

          "He is your patron, Beast, until the rising of the Great One" Yeats scolded, "...if he isn't capable of invoking Logos, why don't you replace him?"

          "Don't tempt me!" Crowley shot back. "I've enough on my mind... Elementals to be placated, correlated, the planets and metals by sevens, and other things by twelves, serpents and perfumes... and don't call me Beast! I'll not be reminded of my mother tonight..."

          "As you will! I on the other hand have resolved to propose to Miss Gonne!"

          "Don't expect my congratulations, Willie... we were counting on you as our virgin sacrifice at Samhain. Fortunately the Walker to Nowhere is not half so particular... go have a look at Attis here, I don't want him crawling off! Damn medication is so frightfully expensive..."

          Yeats, having dutifully traipsed through the wet grass to the twin coffins, sneered down at me with a violent disdain, lifting his spectacles and tossing his head like a proud stork.

          "Now what sayest thou, Ozymandias? Does your sense of smell remain... this incense is Assyrian, or have you already sensed the presence of the Sar? I have been forced to deter Peladan from lopping off your head with that knife of his as they do in Paris, or Persepolis... don't thank me, Cameron, understand... sometimes great purposes may not be achieved save by taking the winding path. I hold no affection for these conspiracies of Europe save that they shall advance the day of Irish liberation upon which all Irishmen shall know freedom, which is patriotic regimentation. John Ruskin, risen, shall drive the sword of Beauty into the heart of colonialism's sick rose... I am Blake's disciple, not Hegel's, but I am no dreamer as you suppose... I've known a phoenix and tonight, Altius, I shall propose to her. If your gaze was to rest a few inches higher, why you could see the mountains of the dawn from this, our Valley of the Black Pig... to Loch Ness over there..."

          Yeats paused, turned away from me and straddled the other coffin, suddenly wresting open its lid... and recoiling with a shudder and a cry.

          "Crowley! What... who is this? And what has become of Ruskin?"

          The Beast scurried over, pushing a blinded, mumbling List out of his way, drawing an angry outcry from Liebenfels.

          "This... ah, this... well, you see, we had a caucus, Mr. Ruskin's doctors and some others... and it was determined, yes, that the health of the great architect was too precarious. To attempt so radical a transformation on the first go round... yes, that's what was decided. Instead, we've brought this fine fellow round from Germany by way of Limehouse yesterday... he's a philisopher as well..."

          "You have broken your promise," scolded Yeats.

          I say Crowley's lip curl in a pitying sneer. "I repeat... I observed a medical log in the road and I removed it. Buck up, DEDI," smirked the Beast, clapping Yeats on the shoulder, "if we can get this right, tonight, for our friends on the Continent, Ruskin shall be set to rights next and then... why not a whole army of Supermen, the better to free Ireland."

          "You're mad! I shall go to the Praemonstrator... even he will not support such insubordination."

          "Go, then!" my landlord challenged, and Willie's profile disappeared. "Unfortunate for you," Crowley spoke down to me, "Mathers is drunk and I've superiority in numbers. So the rising will proceed and you'll be better for it... the German's a paragon of spleen and contradictions, and in your body his soul will nourish calamity for all the sheep-people and ape-people, grazing and dozing in their sitting rooms. And you... why not have a look at your future habitation!"

          And Crowley tipped my neighbor's coffin upwards, revealing a shuddering, emaciated wretch whose only distinguishing aspect was a great, black moustache twitching beneath mad eyes, spinning in their sockets like a pair of gyroscopes.

          "What strong enchanter comes round to be born this Lucifer-kist night!" smiled the Beast.


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