OF THE PROGRESS OF THE GREAT EXPERIMENT; NOT FORGETTING OU_RIENDS LAST SEEN IN PARIS, ABOUT WHOSE WELFARE MUCH ANXIETY MUST HAVE BEE_ELT
EARLY in January Cyril Grey received a letter from Lord Antony Bowling. "M_ood Grey," it began, "may the New Year bring you courage to break you_esolutions early! My own plan is to swear off every kind of virtue, so that _riumph even when I fall!
"Morningside is off to America with his New Discovery in Science. It is tha_ll crime is due to breathing. Statistics show (a) that all convicts ar_uilty of this disgusting habit; (b) it is characteristic of all the inmate_f our insane asylums.
"On the other hand, neither crime nor insanity has ever been proved agains_ny person who was not an habitual breather. The case, as you see, i_omplete. Morningside has gone even farther, and shown that breathing is aki_o drug-habits; he has made numerous experiments upon addicts, and finds tha_uppression leads to mental and physical distress of an even more acute typ_han that which follows the removal of morphia or cocaine from their slaves.
There is little doubt that Congress will take immediate action to penaliz_his filthy vice as it deserves, and Fresh Air will be included among th_rugs to which the Harrison Law applies. Hot Air, as the natural food of th_eople, will of course be permitted.
"I saw Sister Cybele the other day. She was  passing through London t_isit friends in Scotland. I tried to alleviate that dreadful destiny b_sking her to dinner, and we had an amusing seance with my new toy, a yout_amed Roger Blunt, who is controlled by a spirit called Wooloo, has eigh_econdary personalities, and causes pencils to adhere to walls. It cannot b_hat this is varnish, or surface tension, or a little of both; it would b_oo, too cruel!
"The Mahathera Phang has vanished from our gaze; he has probably gone to th_quator to correct the obliquity of the Ecliptic in the interest of the Law o_ighteousness. I'm sorry; I believe in that man; I know he's got somethin_hat I haven't, and I want it. However, Simple Simon has been nice to me; onl_e won't talk Phenomena — says that, like a certain Pope, he has seen too man_iracles to believe in them. Which is my own case, only he is referring t_enuine ones. Hence difficulty in comprehension of his attitude.
"I hope you're having a great time with the devil; I envy your blue skies; London is wrapped in fog, and even on fine days I have to go to the Wa_ffice. But isn't it a pity those wicked bad naughty men know where you are? _ave my doubts about magick; but I know Balloch, and he's the rottenest egg i_ondon. I gather he's at the back of it. Some blackmailing articles on you, again; but as Morningside would say, you should worry. Come along and see m_efore, in a moment of madness and despair, you plunge into Vesuvius in th_ope of exciting a future Mathew Arnold to immortalize you.
"Well, here's the best to you!
There was a brief note, too, from Simon Iff. "It's to be supposed all's well; rumours of disaster to enemy offensive current in Paris. You had better  worry along on your own now; there's other fish frying in this kitchen. An ol_an may possibly drop in on you early in August; you may recognize him — wit_ strong pair of glasses — as your old friend, — SIMON IFF."
Simple Simon never spoke of himself as "I" in a letter; he only used th_ronoun in conversation as a concession to custom.
The Black Commissioners had also heard from headquarters; Gates was replaced, as quick as rail could carry, by a man of superior advancement in the Blac_odge.
This was the celebrated Dr. Victor Vesquit, the most famous necromancer of hi_ge. There was really little harm in the man beyond his extraordinar_erversion in the matter of corpses. His house in Hampden Road was not only _endezvous of spiritualists, but a Home for Lost Mummies. He based all hi_agical operations upon dead bodies, or detached portions of the same, believing that to endow dead matter with life — the essential of nearly al_agick, as he quite rightly saw — it was best to choose matter in which lif_ad recently been manifest. An obvious corollary is that the best bodies ar_hose that have met a violent death, rather than those which have bee_ubjected to illness and decay. Also, it followed that the best corpses of al_ere those of executed murderers, whose vitality may be assumed as very great — though on this last point Cyril Grey, for one, would have disagreed wit_im, saying that the most vital people would have too much respect for th_rinciple of life to commit murder in cold blood.
However, Dr Vesquit had obtained an appointment as coroner in the mos_urderous district of London; and uncanny were the rumours that circulate_mong occult sympathizers. 
His career had nearly been ruined on two occasions by scandal. The notoriou_iana Vaughan, it had been said, was his mistress; and he had become he_ccomplice in the introduction of the frightful sect of the Palladists.
The rumour was not widespread, and Vesquit need not have suffered; but he too_larm, and had the unlucky thought of employing Arthwait to write a boo_learing him from all suspicion, by which it naturally was fixed on him fo_ver.
The second trouble was his little quarrel with Douglas. Vesquit was Senior i_he Black Lodge, and Douglas overthrew him by "carelessly" leaving, in _ansom cab, some documents belonging to the Lodge, with Vesquit's name an_ddress attached to them, which made some exceedingly grim revelations of th_ecromantic practices carried on in Hampden Road.
The honest cabby had turned over the papers to Scotland Yard, as his duty was; and the police had sent them on to those in authority over coroners; an_esquit received, with his documents, an intimation that he must drop tha_ort of thing at once.
To be chief in the Lodge seemed less than to be always in a Paradise o_orpses; so he resigned office, and Douglas pushed his advantage by making hi_n abject tool, under the perpetual threat of exposure.
No sooner did Douglas learn of the death of Gates than he telegraphed t_rthwait to get the inquest adjourned "so that the relatives of the decease_n England might attend, and take possession of the body," and to Vesquit t_ttend the same. On this occasion the coroner needed no threat — the job wa_fter his own heart.
Douglas met him in Paris in high glee, for he was not sorry to be rid o_ates; and, on the other hand, the man had died in full tide of battle, an_hould be the very corpse that Vesquit most needed; as Douglas himself said, with a certain grim humour in which he excelled, he was, morally speaking, a_xecuted criminal; while, being in actual magical contact with Grey and hi_riends, so much so that he had evidently been killed by them, he was an idea_agical link.
Vesquit's task was, if possible, to learn from Gates exactly what ha_appened, and so expert a necromancer had no fear of the result. He was als_o create a semi-material ghost of Gates from the remains, and send it to th_erson who had dealt out death to that unlucky wizard.
On his arrival at Naples, there was no difficulty in the way of the Blac_odge; the authorities were only too glad to return a formal verdict of deat_y misadventure, and to hand over the corpse to the rejoicing Vesquit.
Gates had fortunately left memoranda, a rough diary of the various procedure_itherto adopted; so that Vesquit was not committed to the task of acquirin_nformation from Arthwait, which might easily have occupied a season; and fro_hese notes the old necromancer came to the conclusion that the enemy was t_e respected. Gates had done pretty well in the matter of the pigeons, a_irst; his procedure was not to be compared with his colleague's pedanti_diocies; but the first touch of riposte had been indeed deadly. Gates ha_een the clairvoyant of the party; he had gauged clearly enough the result o_is operation; but naturally he had left no note of the last act, and neithe_rthwait nor Abdul Bey had been able to do anything. Arthwait had been scare_adly until his pompous vanity came to the rescue, and showed him tha_ccidents of that kind must be expected when one is handicapped with a_ssistant of inferior ability.
Vesquit decided that the battle should be properly  prepared, and n_rouble spared to make it a success. His fondness for corpses had not gone t_he length of desiring to become one.
In him there had been the makings of a fairly strong man; and, with Douglas t_ush him on, he was still capable of acting with spirit and determination.
Also, he had the habit of authority. He set Arthwait to worrk on the Grimoire; for, in a operation of this importance, one must make all one's instruments.
Beginning with a magic knife, which one is allowed to buy, one cuts the magi_and from a hazel, the magic quill from a goose, and so on. The idea is t_onfirm the will to perform the operation by a long series of acts _ad hoc_.
It is even desirable to procure parchment by killing a consecrated animal wit_he magic knife, and making ready the skin with similarly prepared utensils; one might for instance, cut and consecrate even the pegs which stretched th_kin. However, in this case Arthwait had plenty of "Virgin parchment" i_tock, with quills of a black vulture, and ink made by burning human bones, and mixing the carbonized products with the soot of the magic dark-lantern, whose candles were prepared with human fat.
But the Grimoire of any great operation must be thought out and composed; according to elaborate rules, indeed, but with the purpose of the wor_onstantly in mind. Even when all this is done, the Grimoire is hardly begun; for it must be copied out in the way above indicated; and it should b_lluminated with every kind of appropriate design. This was an ideal task fo_rthwait; he was able to wallow in dog-latin and corrupt Greek-Coptic; he mad_entences so complicated that the complete works of George Meredith, Thoma_arlyle, and Henry James, tangled together, would have seemed in compariso_ike a word of three letters. 
His Grimoire was in reality excellent for its purpose; for the inferna_ierarchy delights in unintelligible images, in every kind of confusion an_bscurity. This particular lucubration was calculated to drag the Archdemon o_ad Syntax himself from the most remote corner of his lair.
For Arthwait could not speak with becoming unintelligibility; to knot _entence up properly it has to be thought out carefully, and revised. Ne_hrases have to be put in; sudden changes of subject must be introduced; verb_ust be shifted to unsuspected localities; short words must be excised wit_uthless hand; archaisms must be sprinkled like sugar-plums upon th_oncoction; the fatal human tendency to say things straightforwardly must b_etected and defeated by adroit reversals; and, if a glimmer of meaning ye_emain under close scrutiny, it must be removed by replacing all the principa_erbs by paraphrases in some dead language.
This is not to be achieved in a moment; it is not enough to write disconnecte_onsense; it must be possible for anyone acquainted with the tortuosities o_he author's mind to resolve the sentence into its elements, and reproduce — not the meaning, for there is none, but the same mental fog from which he wa_riginally suffering. An illustration is appended.
(and) (appear) 
Upon this skeleton, a fair example of his earlier manner, for no man attain_he summit of an art in a day, he would build a superstructure by the def_ntroduction of parentheses, amplifying each word until the original coherenc_f the paragraph was diluted to such an extent that the true trail wa_ndiscoverable. The effect upon his public was to impress them with th_niversality of his learning.
Arthwait being thus well out of harm's way, Vesquit and Abdul set to work o_he less arduous of the preparations. Four black cats were needed for the fou_oints of the compass, and it was desirable to massacre a goat upon the altar, which would be no less than the corpse itself. Vesquit, declaring that th_ody was to be sent to England, had a dummy shipped off in a coffin, and kep_ates on ice, which may or may not have been a great comfort to him.
Abdul had no difficulty in procuring the cats which, much to thei_issatisfaction, were caged in Arthwait's study, and fed on human flesh, whic_esquit easily procured from the dissecting-rooms of the local hospitals.
But the goat was a more serious matter. An ordinary goat will not do; it ha_o qualify in certain respects; Abdul succeeded in his quest only after _eries of intrigues with the lowest ruffians in Naples, which brought him int_ore vulgar and unpleasant dangers than he had contemplated "when he first pu_hat uniform on." It was, however, at least temporarily, a very amusin_ituation for the goat. The requisite bat, which must be fed on a woman'_lood, was easily arranged for, a courageous country girl offering t_ccommodate with a toe, for a consideration. The nails from a suicide'_offin, and the skull of the parricide, were of course no trouble; for Vesqui_ever travelled without these household requisites.
There were many other details to arrange; the consideration of a proper plac_or the operation gave rise to much mental labour. It is, generally speaking, desirable to choose the locality of a recent battle; and the greater th_umber of slain the better. (There should be some very desirable spots in th_icinity of Verdun for black magicians who happen to flourish after the vulga_ear 1917). But the Grimoires were written in other times with other manners; now-a-days there is risk of disturbance if one sets up one's paraphernalia o_oats and cats at a cross-roads, in the hope of helping oneself out with _ecently-interred suicide, or a ceremonially annihilated vampire; where th_easant of the fourteenth century would have fled shrieking, the motorist o_he twentieth century stops to observe, or, more likely, runs you over; s_hat unless your property includes a private battlefield, it is a point o_alour to choose a more retired site for one's necromancy than the stricke_ield of the Marne. Cross-roads, again, are not so thickly planted wit_uicides and vampires as in happier days. Reflecting solidly and ably upo_hese points of modern degeneracy, Vesquit made up his mind to compromise, an_ccept the most agreeable substitute, a profaned chapel; it was easy to rent _illa with a chapel attached, and, to a man of Vesquit's ability, the work o_ moment to profane it.
This he accordingly arranged through Abdul Bey.
The mind of this youth was very forcibly impressed by the preparations of th_ld coroner. He had been brought up in the modern school, and could laugh a_uperstition with the best of us; but there were traces of hereditary faith i_slam, and he was not sceptical enough to spoil the magic of Vesquit.
No man knew better than the necromancer that all this insane ceremonial wa_rrational. But it  so happens that everything on this planet is, ultimately, irrational; there is not, and cannot be, any reason for the causa_onnexion of things, if only because our use of the word "reason" alread_mplies the idea of causal connexion. But, even if we avoid this fundamenta_ifficulty, Hume said that causal connexion was not merely unprovable, bu_nthinkable; and, in shallower waters still, one cannot assign a true reaso_hy water should flow down hill, or sugar taste sweet in the mouth. Attempt_o explain these simple matters always progress into a learned lucidity, an_n further analysis retire to a remote stronghold where every thing i_rrational and unthinkable.
If you cut off a man's head, he dies. Why? Because it kills him. That i_eally the whole answer. Learned excursions into anatomy and physiology onl_eg the question; it does not explain why the heart is necessary to life t_ay that it is a vital organ. Yet that is exactly what is done, the trick tha_s played on every inquiring mind. Why cannot I see in the dark? Because ligh_s necessary to sight. No confusion of that issue by talk of rods and cones, and optical centres, and foci, and lenses, and vibrations is very different t_dwin Arthwait's treatment of the long-suffering English language.
Knowledge is really confined to experience. The laws of Nature are, as Kan_aid, the laws of our minds, and, as Huxley said, the generalization o_bserved facts.
It is, therefore, no argument against ceremonial magic to say that it is
"absurd" to try to raise a thunderstorm by beating a drum; it is not even fai_o say that you have tried the experiment, found it would not work, and s_erceived it to be "impossible." You might as well claim that, as you ha_aken paint and canvas, and not produced a Rembrandt, it was evident that th_ictures attributed to his painting were really produced in quite a differen_ay.
You do not see why the skull of a parricide should help you to raise a dea_an, as you do not see why the mercury in a thermometer should rise and fall, though you elaborately pretend that you do; and you could not raise a dead ma_y the aid of the skull of a parricide, just as you could not play the violi_ike Kreisler; though in the latter case you might modestly add that yo_hought you could learn.
This is not the special pleading of a professed magician; it boils down to th_dvice not to judge subjects of which you are perfectly ignorant, and is to b_ound, stated in clearer and lovelier language, in the Essays of Thomas Henr_uxley.
Dr. Victor Vesquit, to whom the whole of these ideas was perfectly familiar, proceeded with his quaint preparations unperturbed by the least doubt of thei_fficacy.
He had found that they worked; and he cared no more for the opinion of thos_ho, whatever their knowledge in other branches of science might be, were no_xperts in necromancy, than does Harry Vardon when it is proved to him, wit_he utmost scientific precision, that he cannot possibly hit a golf ball s_ong as he swings as he does, and uses that mechanically defective grip.
It is also to be remarked that the contrary holds good; no method of doin_nything has yet been found which cannot be bungled by the inept.
So, as the Persian poet says: "Who hath the How is careless of the Why."
It was early in the course of Dr. Vesquit's preliminaries that (what Arthwai_alled the "antilan-thanetical douleskeiarchy") the secret service which ha_een established reported to him a complete  change in the routine of th_eople of the Butterfly net. On the seventh of January Iliel reported that th_irst point of the work was in all probability attained; all that was no_ecessary was to concentrate upon the real crux of the case, the catching o_he Butterfly.
The household was reorganized accordingly; Cyril Grey withdrew himsel_ompletely from the company of Iliel, and joined the Church Militant Here O_arth; while Iliel herself came under the direct care of Sister Clara, th_oint within the triangle of women. She took part in their invocations, as th_ocus to which they were directed; while the men were wholly busied i_atching over the safety of the fortress, their faces turned inexorabl_utward, their sole business to assure the security of the three women an_heir treasure.
Upon these facts being brought to the notice of Edwin Arthwait, he smiled. H_ad redeemed his earlier failures — due to the incapacity of his assistants — by a sweeping success.
For to his magic, evidently, was due the observed change in nature! Shortl_fter the arrival of Vesquit, he had completed his latest operation, th_ewitchment of three nails in such a manner that, if struck into the door of _oom of a house, the occupants would be thereby debarred from the enjoyment o_onjugal felicity. And here was the result, shining before him, beautiful wit_anners. Even the pretence of amity had been abandoned. As a matter of fact, Brother Onofrio had discovered the nails, and taken the proper measures t_eturn the current to its sender; but on this occasion it was as " tae tak'
the breeks aff a Hielan' mon"!
Arthwait was totally insensible to the malice of his adversary, and remaine_n the enjoyment of his supposed victory. He resolved to steal a match on  Vesquit. Why should he share his glory with another? He had the enemy o_he run; he had better pursue them forthwith. Vesquit's slow methods woul_nly give them time to recover.
So he resolved upon the chivalrous if perilous course of Cat's Cradle. Thi_agical operation, the relics of which are familiar even to the mos_nspiritually-minded children, is exceedingly widespread, especially amon_ations which live principally by fishing, as, for example, the South Se_slanders. Many most intricate and beautiful patterns have been devised, an_f these the wayfaring man may partake by a perusal of Dr. W. W. R. Ball'_onograph upon th_ubject.[](http://hermetic.com/crowley/moonchild/mc13.html#_ftn1) That abl_athematician, however, neglects unpardonably the magical side of the matter.
The theory is apparently based upon the fact that the most elusive objects, birds, butterflies, and fishes, may be taken by means of a net. It is argued, therefore, that anything whatever, no matter how elusive, such as the ghost o_ne's father or the soul of one's enemy, may be caught similarly, though o_ourse the net must be adapted to the special game that one is after.
With these things Arthwait was familiar, and it occurred to him that it shoul_e easy to identify string, or, preferably, cat-gut, with the viscera of hi_ictims. There could then be no difficulty in knotting up the cords in such _attern, for example, as the Many Stars, or the Owl, or the Zigzag Lightning; and assuredly the magicians thus assailed would find similar re-arrangement_f the contents of their peritonea.
After various preliminary exercises, annoying to the objects of thi_olicitude, Arthwait proposed to proceed to the grand operation of all, tyin_p his gut in the Elusive Yam pattern, which, from the  greates_omplexity, dissolves like a dream at a single last twist; the persons thu_ympathetically treated would obviously perish no less miserably than di_glon, King of Moab, or Judas Iscariot.
The advantage of this operation is evidently its extreme simplicity an_conomy; while, if it works at all, it surely leaves nothing to be desired i_uch Teutonic qualities as thoroughness and frightfulness.
Whether from any difficulty in identification or otherwise, it was some littl_hile before Arthwait began to feel that his plan was working out. The troubl_ith all these operations was in the absence of a direct link with th_rincipals; the currents invariably struck the outer defences, in the perso_f Brother Onofrio, before penetrating. When, therefore, Arthwait's effort_egan to show results, they were first noticed by that sturdy warrior. And he, considering the situation, argued that the observed phenomena were due t_ature or to Magick, and that in either case the remedy lay in opposing n_esistance to the forces, but allowing them to operate in a laudable manner.
Accordingly, he took a large dose of a medicine known to the pharmacist a_ydrarg.Subchlor, adding the remark "If this be nature, may it do _me_ good; and if this be magic, may it do _him_ good!"
This occurred just as Arthwait reached his final operation, the evisceratio_f his enemy.
That night both parties were successful in causing things to happen; and th_orning after Arthwait was securely incarcerated in the Quarantine Hospital o_he city, and the newspapers were paragraphing a suspected case of Asiati_holera.
However, in five days the symptoms abated; the case was declared non- infectious; and the pallid shadow of the disconcerted sorcerer was restored t_he more congenial atmosphere of his Grimoire.