Esoteric London

No. 413: Stamford Hill, N16

Posted in Literary London, Pubs by esotericlondon on September 28, 2011

Birdcage Public House, Stamford Hill, London, N16. Photo © Roger Dean 2010

 London: a book of Aspects – Arthur Symons, 1912:

Different taverns were at different times haunted by young writers; some of them came for the drink and some for the society . . . Many of my friends drank, and I was forced to become acquainted with the different forms which liquor could take, so that I could almost label them in their classes. Thus one drank copiously, continually, all drinks, for pleasure: he could carry so much so steadily that he sometimes passed his limit  without knowing it: not that he minded passing the limit, but he liked to be conscious of it. [Another] drank to become unconscious, he passed his limit rapidly, and became first apologetic, then quarrelsome. His friend, a man abstract in body and mind, who muttered in Greek when he was least conscious of himself, and sat with imperturbable gravity, drinking like an ascetic, until his head fell without warning on the table. I do not think he ever got any pleasure out of drinking: he would sit up over night with absinthe and cigarettes in order to be awake to attend early mass; but though his will was strong enough for that, the habit was stronger than his will, and he seemed like one condemned to that form of suicide without desire or choice in the matter.

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