It was the summer of 1821- the atmosphere, which remained torrential and gloomy, reflected not the season but the tragedy of my tormented soul, and the harsh winds weathered the tall dark structures like the guilt of betrayal on my corrupt heart. I have acknowledged, through my depravity, that a corrupt heart is no more baneful than a corrupt mind, one that commences uncomfortable madness; often resulting in bouts of rambling about the unimportant, and displaying behaviours no different from that of black magic or wicked possessions. Now, my love dwells in a place, not far from the river that flows East through the valley, and adjoining a dank forest.
I turned right on the desolate path- it possessed menacing weeds and blades of grass that stood five-foot upright, and was desolate, I presumed, as not many in their right mind would visit such an establishment. There on the visage of the hill resigned that same dilapidated establishment- it stood, brooding and gloomy against the azure heavens, yet I knew I was about to enter the very realms of hell. At the base of the institution stood, I presumed an attendant or a footman. The carl was a portly-crookback, with a dark manner, attired in livery. He came forth to my person as I alighted off my black horse, and in a cordially style, shook my hand, and looked at me with impenetrable eyes and inscrutable countenance as if measuring my air of insanity. Once he deemed my persona as pleasing to his taste, he ushered me onwards, still with a cautious courtesy. I half-assumed he would follow suit, but he resigned to his previous stance; in mine impression, ‘twas evident his belief in lunacy was much more rigid than mine own.
Upon entering the parlour, I beheld, in the corner of mine eye, a handsome man who had a certain quality of authority. There, hanging from his cincture, a collection of keys that hung from one, thin steel circular chain. It was evident, from his manner and dress, that this man was the superintendent, or in mine eyes, the devil’s gate keeper.
“We seldom have visitors”, quoth the man. “I presume ye are here to visit one of the wenches”
“Aye, I am.”
“Follow me, sir, but be cautious as ye come hither. The right of mind are not to be excited by such an establishment as this. Unless ye are familiar with the metaphysics of mania, the very sight of a lunatic is horror to the mind.”
Keeping these impressions in view, I followed the superintendent, in afeared silence, as he led me onwards to the very depths of misery and madness.
We came across the first cell; it was scarcely tenantable, and had embedded dent marks in the wall, as if, through much violent force and time, been created. I bethought this damage could have been made from a large beast, such as a buck or bear, but to my surprise, a woman of around thirty-years, was frequently slamming her head onto the stone. She was growling and grunting, the sound wrenching out from her weasand. In response to my evident fears, the man banged the metal frame with an iron poker; the woman quietened, and retreated into the shadows, and I saw her no more.
“That one was not mad ere to her confinement”, said the superintendent, sorely unemotionally. “It was this or a bridewell I’d been told; her husband thought this establishment more appropriate, for what he described to me, a fizgig.”
Without much hindrance, he managed me forwards till we reached the penultimate lockup. To my disbelief, I perceived a maid, not much different in appearance to my relation’s daughter. Without hesitation, she reached, between her legs, and flung what appeared to my blood at my face
The man chuckled. “Have a glimpse of yonder. She is the most corrupt- a strumpet. Her parents abandoned her here, under assumptions she had been possessed by a wicked spirit. But there is nay time for fairytales, Mister.”
Lastly, it was the cell my lover resided. I scurried in with exceedingly desperate haste, for the locks were open, and received my love in an open grasp. She did not equal my affection, remaining in a manner I thought subdued and frore, and instead received me with quizzical antipathy.
“My sweeting, why do you quiz me? Do I repulse thee?”
“I am not thy sweet now, for you hath proclaimed me a pythoness! She replied, “I ought to recompense thee for damming me to this mad-house! Thy delight is unpleasingly out of place in an asylum, and most ill-fitting to my soul!”
There was a sense of alarming brilliancy in her eyes, and I afeared that the very hope to cure my angel of lunacy had doomed her a demon.