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And every thought was a vision, bright-imaged, sharp-cut, unmistakable. My brain was illuminated by the clear, white light of alcohol. John Barleycorn was on a truth-telling rampage, giving away the choicest secrets on himself. And I was his spokesman. There moved the multitudes of memories of my past life, all orderly arranged like soldiers in some vast review. It was mine to pick and choose.

You may, and indeed must, use John Barleycorn "right barbarouslee," cutting him "off at knee" with your scythes, scourging him with your flails, burying him in the earth; and he will not resist you nor reproach you, but will rise again in golden beauty amidst a great burst of sunshine and bird music, and save you and renew your life.

Not that Johnny Heinhold asked me to do it, or expected me to do it. I did it, as I have said, in obedience to the code I had learned along with all the other things connected with John Barleycorn. In distress, when a man has no other place to turn, when he hasn't the slightest bit of security which a savage-hearted pawn-broker would consider, he can go to some saloon-keeper he knows.

There was no reason I should not drink with them I who knew so confidently that I had nothing to fear from John Barleycorn. And the foregoing was my attitude of mind for years. Occasionally I got well jingled, but such occasions were rare. It interfered with my work, and I permitted nothing to interfere with my work.

He was an all-round splendid type of seaman; his mates recognised his worth, and respected him and liked him. Yet John Barleycorn metamorphosed him into a violent lunatic. And that was the very point these drinkers made. They knew that drink and drink with a sailor is always excessive made them mad, but only mildly mad.

But for the refined woman who married a clean, clever young fellow only to have him come home some day reeking of liquor, silly, obscene, helpless, her contact with John Barleycorn took the joy and sweetness from her life. She often adjusted herself, but in many cases adjustment failed, and a chronic state of bruised and tingling nervousness resulted.

At last they said, 'O our brother, and what is its name? 'Don't you know? asked he; and they said, 'No. Quoth he, 'This is the mule Break-all, that browses on the basil of the dykes and gobbles up the peeled barleycorn and lies by night in the khan of Abou Mensour. And they laughed till they fell backward.

And once more, forward; past white frame houses with porches, and vine-grown verandas, and well-tended gardens, and groves of oak and beech and hickory trees "John Barleycorn" makes an ineffectual but gallant struggle to get in at the large white gate of one of these comfortable places, Squire Goodlet's home, but he is urged back into the road, and again the pursuit sweeps on.

Yet when I walk with John Barleycorn I suffer all the damnation of intellectual pessimism. He does tell the truth. That is the curse of it. The so-called truths of life are not true. They are the vital lies by which life lives, and John Barleycorn gives them the lie." "Which does not make toward life," Charmian said. "Very true," I answered. "And that is the perfectest hell of it.

Nor did Louis' case deter me, as I poured the biting, scorching stuff down my throat. John Barleycorn had thrown Louis to a nasty fall, but I was young. My blood ran full and red; I had a constitution of iron; and well, youth ever grins scornfully at the wreckage of age. Queer, fierce, alcoholic stuff it was that we drank.