There are sores which slowly erode the mind in solitude like a kind of canker.The civil wars which existed there, however bitter, were conducted with all bourgeois propriety. Politics, religion, art, science, grouped themselves, and courteously competed for numbers and reputation. This summer, however, had seen a spectacular triumph of drama, for it had become known that Peter Stanhope had consented to allow the restless talent of the Hill to produce his latest play.
It is impossible to convey a just idea of the agony which this disease can inflict. In general, people are apt to relegate such inconceivable sufferings to the category of the incredible. Any mention of them in conversation or in writing is considered in the light of current beliefs, the individual's personal beliefs in particular, and tends to provoke a smile of incredulity and derision. The reason for this incomprehension is that mankind has not yet discovered a cure for this disease. Relief from it is to be found only in the oblivion brought about by wine and in the artificial sleep induced by opium and similar narcotics. Alas, the effects of such medicines are only temporary. After a certain point, instead of alleviating the pain, they only intensify it.
Last night, I finished work on my fourth novel. It is my greatest achievement, I think.
It was an incredibly untidy business. The results are scattered about all over this room in a hotel by the Baltic Sea, and I really must collate the myriad pages. I have been a victim of that unique mental fever from which only writers suffer. It is a malady brought on by a combination of a retreat into an inner world of the imagination and too much intense concentration. In this state the real world loses substantiality, and dreamlike visions from the depths of imagination take over completely.
The candleflame and the image of the candleflame caught in the pierflass twisted and righted when he entered the hall and again when he shut the door. He took off his hat and came slowly forward. The floorboards creaked under his boots. In his black suit he stood in the dark glass where the lilies leaned so palely from their waisted cutglass vase. Along the cold hallway behind him hung the portraits of forebears only dimly known to him all framed in glass and dimly lit above the narrow wainscotting. He looked down at the guttered candlestub. He pressed his thumbprint in the warm wax pooled on the oak veneer. Lastly he looked at the face so caved and drawn among the folds of funeral cloth, the yellowed moustache, the eyelids paper thin. That was not sleeping. That was not sleeping.
Hopefully, you know some of the stories that I quote here. Perhaps you'll be curious enough about the rest to inquire after their titles in order to purchase them. Several are famous and most of the rest at least deserve even greater acclaim.