It appears as the first of a series of linked stories in his collection of the same name. However well-grounded in the “materialistic” aspects of his profession (like the novel practice of blood transfusion), Van Helsing’s embrace is wide, gathering in the spiritual aspects as well. Dr. Martin Hesselius is an eccentric physician, student of the esoteric, and occult investigator -- something of a cross between Sherlock Holmes, Dr. House, Van Helsing, and Father Brown -- who was travelling through England during the Regency Era when he encountered the strange and unsettling case of Rev. This is a weird story. Martin Hesselius, the German Physician Through carefully educated in medicine and surgery, I have never practiced either. In Jennings’s case, the causative agent—the stimulant poison—was green tea. Green and black tea are made from the same leaves: black tea, however, is dried and oxidated first, while green tea is raw and untreated. Rev. The text begins: A Word for Those Who Suffer My dear Van L--, you have suffered from an affection similar to that which 1 have just described. Deep inside he has – for years and decades – been harboring a starved, ravenous beast who aches to emerge and hates his jailer with a vehemence that overlooks that fact that to destroy him is to destroy himself. Charlotte Bronte was so frightened by the idea of becoming addicted to green tea -- and suffering sleep deprivation -- that Elizabeth Gaskell hid from her, during one visit, that her black tea was cut with green tea. They play, languish, fight, fornicate, and ogle without the slightest censor. Here he translates Hesselius’s notes on a singular case of, what, delusion? As they move about the empty bus, he realizes that they are the glowing eyes of a small, black monkey, which grins -- knowingly and malevolently -- at him from the shadows. The oxidation process strips Camellia sinensis of its occult powers, don’t you know? While I write to you I feel like a man who has but half waked from a frightful and monotonous dream. Later the doctor speaks to their hostess Lady Mary, for he’s made some conjectures about Jennings he wants to confirm: that the Reverend is unmarried; that he was writing on an abstract topic but has discontinued his work; that he used to drink a lot of green tea; and that one of his parents was wont to see ghosts. Hesselius’ vilification of green tea may seem ludicrous to us today, but in Le Fanu’s time, its lack of regulation attracted a great deal of fear: Charlotte Bronte refused to drink a single drop of it before bed out of fear that the off-market stimulants it was suspected of being cut with would prevent her from sleeping all night. Particularly if they’re getting all hyperkinetic at you, bouncing around and grimacing and flailing their little fists, as Jennings’s unwelcome companion does whenever its furlough from Hell is up. A long note in Jennings’ hand begins “Deus misereatur mei (May God compassionate me).” Respecting the clergyman’s privacy, Hesselius reads no more, but he doesn’t forget the plea. However, the framing device drains power from the narrative, and the final section in particular is an exercise in patronizing pedanticism that any sensible editor would have cut entirely. Black tea didn’t bother Jennings, so I guess it was more than caffeine that disordered his nervous fluid. Lewis’, Six Stories for Fans of Beautiful Australian Gothic, Five Thrilling SF Stories About Patrolling Space. No he hadn't, and Jennings weakly retorts, "No, of course, no..." Shortly after, the servant found the door locked, and by midnight he began to worry, so he knocked, but got no response. While these good people know a decent amount about “Carmilla” (presuming they have never read it – that it is a story about lesbian vampires, that it inspired Bram Stoker, that it is a Gothic mystery), “Green Tea” has only one common feature that those who have heard of it but who have not read it will call to mind: “that’s the one with the demonic monkey.”. He is “othered” by his appearance, which causes him to seem wrapped up in the gloom as if belonging to it: he is just another part of this melancholy landscape, like the trees, the sunset, and the shadows, and the true Jennings – the private man – is more of a citizen of the unconscious world than one of society and humankind. He calls Dr. Harley, his former physician, a fool and a “mere materialist.” But he remains shy about the details of his own spiritual illness until several weeks later, when he returns to London after another abortive attempt to minister in Warwickshire. Its scholarly hero may be partly based on the vampire expert of that novella, Baron Vordenburg, but Van Helsing more closely resembles the erudite, open-minded and well-traveled Hesselius. Our Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. In fact, there are many who might compare the story to a piece of contemporary fan fiction where Jekyll consults Holmes about the problem of Hyde. Many people might prefer the supernatural version, where the enemy is at least genuinely external. Which is a cool concept, backed here by Swedenborg’s mysticism. These enquiries are inscribed in Le Fanu’s text, and the answers can be found, once again, by linking ‘Green Tea’ to de Boismont’s medical analysis. Neither idleness nor caprice caused my secession from the honorable calling which I had just entered. The silence, too, was utter: not a distant wheel, or bark, or whistle from without; and within the depressing stillness of an invalid bachelor's house.I guessed well the nature, though not even vaguely the particulars of the revelations I was about to receive, from that fixed face of suffering that so oddly flushed stood out, like a portrait of Schalken's, before its background of darkness...". Your humble servant, Martin Hesselius. Le Fanu presents a macabre and unsettling tale, the events of which transpire solely due to the drinking of green tea. Thus we find strange bedfellows, and the mortal and immortal prematurely make acquaintance.”. In 1869 he published ‘Green Tea’ in Dickens’s All the Year Round and in 1871–2 he issued ‘Carmilla’ in The Dark Blue. Jennings, for his part, plays our Jekyll: a respectable society man (and a confirmed bachelor) hounded by his self-loathing, simian Doppelganger – a manifestation of his repressed Id which is summoned by the ritual drinking of a beverage. It is speaking. See his theories about a spiritual fluid that circulates through the nerves. When Hesselius enters Jennings' gloomy study, his ghostly surroundings are striking: "The faint glow of the west, the pomp of the then lonely woods of Richmond, were before us, behind and about us the darkening room, and on the stony face of the sufferer for the character of his face, though still gentle and sweet, was changed rested that dim, odd glow which seems to descend and produce, where it touches, lights, sudden though faint, which are lost, almost with out gradation, in darkness. It’s compelling regardless of whether the demonic monkey is real or hallucinatory, an achievement in ambiguity that’s difficult to manage. For example, when he was preaching, it would spring on his book so he couldn’t read his text. Poor Jennings’s story was one of “the process of a poison, a poison that excites the reciprocal action of spirit and nerve, and paralyses the tissue that separates those cognate functions of the senses, the external and the interior. Because it’s so splendidly creepy, that’s why. It disappeared one night, after a fit of furious agitation, and Jennings prayed he’d never see it again. You twice complained of a re turn of it. At its heart, “Green Tea” is one of Le Fanu’s most psychological tales: like “The Jolly Corner” and “The Turn of the Screw,” it features proto-Freudian symbolism – the libidinal Monkey whose rage against regulation suggests the Id; Jennings’ book-clothed library – a party room converted from its original purpose – with its two soul-suggesting windows and its two self-critical, Super-Ego-suggesting mirrors, which stands as a model of his conscious mind; his first attempt at suicide (throwing himself into a mine shaft – a symbol of the unconscious: an attempt to give himself over to his Id); his successful suicide, rich with Freudian sexual subtext (his throat is slit into a “gash” – a Victorian euphemism for a vulva – which can be read as self-humiliation: “I am a pussy – I surrender, become submissive, to my repressed, violent, masculine energies: I fuck myself up”); and the much discussed symbolism of the phallic Monkey whose course hair and intrusive nature have been called symbolic of everything from masturbation and pornography, to sodomy and homosexual lust. Martin Hesselius, medical metaphysician, is the forerunner of a distinguished line of occult detectives and doctors to the supernaturally harassed. Jennings uses green tea – a drink associated with the Far East, once wildly popular (adored by the Shelleys and Byron) until the mid-Victorian period when the unfermented tea leaves (typically sold by Chinese rather than British merchants) were suspected (sometimes rightfully) of being diluted with chemicals and rubbish in order to sell more of it at a lower price (rather like how cigarettes are loaded with floor sweepings, arsenic, and glue). He arrives at dusk as the scarlet sunset clashes with the deepening shadows, underscoring the story's themes of intersecting dimensions and the shadowy liminal spaces between the material, mortal world and the spiritual, psychic realm. Oh well. Before long, I trust, we’ll make the acquaintance of Algernon Blackwood’s John Silence, the Physician Extraordinaire, and Seabury Quinn’s Dr. Jules de Grandin. The first year it seemed dazed and languid. We find nearly identical characters in “The Jolly Corner,” “Owen Wingrave,” and “The Real Right Thing.” He is also a prototypically (M. R.) Jamesian character who effortlessly reminds us of the antiquarian’s hapless protagonists: the stuffy Parkins (whose hubris is checked and traumatized when he pockets a haunted whistle and summons its guardian), the antisocial Wraxhall (who is fascinated by a long-dead, sadistic alchemist until his face is sucked away by his Lovecraftian henchman), the scholarly Mr Abney (whose studies into ancient religion lead him to human sacrifices of children), the ambitious Rev. He moved closer and made out a small black monkey grinning at him. Not long ago we met William Hope Hodgson’s Thomas Carnacki. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg. Like “Green Tea,” these stories might be straightforward hauntings, or they might be hallucinations, or psychological parables, or symbol-laden allegories, or lies, or some combination of all three. Next week, Matt Ruff’s “Lovecraft Country” provides a travel guide to horrors both mystical and all-too-mundane. Red auras are even worse. Lady Mary is stunned since she had made no mention of these particulars, and each is true. Indeed, there are several moments when Jennings is revealed to have a rather violent and unquestionably bitter inner life: when Hesselius sees him watching him watching Jennings in the mirror (a symbol of self-reflection and genuine identity – the sight in the mirror trumping whatever we might hope to exude or wish to feel), his face is beastly and “wild” – almost unrecognizable. The doctor goes to Jennings’s townhouse and waits in his lofty, narrow library. Oldstyle Tales Press publishes annotated and illustrated editions of classic horror, classic weird fiction, classic ghost stories, and gothic novels. Jennings comes in and tells Hesselius he’s in complete agreement with the doctor’s book. Joseph Thomas Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873) was an Irish writer of Gothic tales and mystery novels. At this moment, Hesselius looks up into the mirror over the desk and sees Jennings face. Voices that don’t seem like oneself, that harass with suggestions of self-harm… difficulty concentrating… hallucinations and unusual religious ideas… the modern psychologist armed with a copy of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual would come to somewhat different conclusions than Hesselius, but would have no difficulty recognizing the details of his report. From Dracula and Frankenstein to Henry James and Edgar Allan Poe, we illuminate your journeys through literature's darkest domains. The Project Gutenberg EBook of Green Tea; Mr. Justice Harbottle by Joseph Sheridan LeFanu This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. "Green Tea" An English clergyman named Jennings confides to Hesselius that he is being followed by a demon in the form of an ethereal monkey, invisible to everyone else, which is trying to invade his mind and destroy his life. Hesselius frequently commands him to stop worrying about his demonic visitor because he is in God’s hands (even going so far as to imply that his situation is like that of the biblical Job whom God allowed Satan to test with horrible losses, before rewarding him for his fidelity), but Hesselius seems to miss what contemporary critics are missing when he soothes his friend’s anxieties: the Monkey is not an Oriental djinn or a Chinese god sent from the Far East to torment this pious Christian, a punishment for his only sin – not drinking good ol’ British black tea; no, as the text clearly suggests multiple times, the Monkey has always been there. The study of each continues, nevertheless, to interest me profoundly. All very well to retreat while you formulate a treatment, Dr. Hesselius, but how about leaving a forwarding address to that quiet inn, in case Jennings should flip out in the interim? Though carefully educated in medicine and surgery, I have never practised either. During Le Fanu’s last years, his mind become almost completely occupied by the supernatural and all the short stories he wrote at this time were of that nature e.g. De Boismont insists that strange visions are primarily created by a disorder of the ‘visual organs’ (39), and this is precisely the diagnosis offered by Hesselius and Harley ( Glass ,28; 38-9). In one of the most sober moments in “Green Tea,” Le Fanu describes Jennings sitting down to tell his tale, face lit up by twilight, seemingly disembodied in the swarming gloom, described as resembling one of Schalken’s eerie paintings. The central narrative is compelling, even with the dubious theology. Nonetheless, Jennings' friends are concerned about him: he seems to be depressed and -- although they downplay it -- he is growing paranoid, and even appears to be seeing things. It’s treated as notably more exotic than “ordinary black tea.” Does Hesselius believe everyone in China and Japan wanders around seeing demonic monkeys all the time? Nobody wants to yawn and stretch and glance idly around the midnight study only to see red glowing eyes staring at them. It’s been a long week, and I take my amusement where I can get it. In more recent times, journalists (Carl Kolchak) and FBI agents (Mulder and Scully) and cute brothers (Dean and Sam Winchester) have led the fight against the uncanny, but surely its most famous warrior can trace his distinguished ancestry back to Hesselius, and that is Dr. Abraham Van Helsing. Eventually he switched to green tea, which he found better stimulated his thought processes. I mean, you don’t have to be a Divell-pestered Puritan to object to sacrilegious earworms. From this point on, he started to become addicted to the drink, and began keeping later and later hours, poring over metaphysical texts on the occult. Spiritual insight? (Gates, 1988) writes that “Green Tea” might be “Le Fanu’s most deeply troubling story and the spectre of the monkey … his most deeply disturbing spectre” because even Jennings, who is a moral man, cannot be saved from the intrusion of malign spirits once the inner vision is opened (p. 117). Jekyll used a blood-red form of phosphorous and a salt-like powder, which – when combined – create a pale green fluid. The Degenerate Dutch: It’s difficult to interpret Dr. Hesselius’s conviction that green tea in particular is dangerously stimulating to the inner eye. Convinced that honesty is his only hope, Jennings begins his tale. Jennings had been concerning his servants earlier that night with his distracted, depressed attitude, and his increasing sense of desperation. 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