Owl is mean with the honey and makes off with Eeyore’s tail    

Freudian Slips

Cocaine 1886

Sigmund Freud

Excerpts from Freud’s letters from Paris to his fiancée Martha Barnays in which Freud casually discusses taking cocaine, obviously quite frequently, sometimes to alleviate nervousness before his meetings with Charcot and others. There are some telling remarks concerning Freud’s attitude to truthfulness.

To Martha Barnays, from Paris, 18 January 1886

He [Charcot] invited me (as well as Ricchetti) to come to his house tomorrow evening after dinner: “II y aura du monde.” You can probably imagine my apprehension mixed with curiosity and satisfaction. White tie and white gloves, even a fresh shirt, a careful brushing of my last remaining hair, and so on. A little cocaine, to untie my tongue. It is quite all right of course for this news to be widely distributed in Hamburg and Vienna, even with exaggerations such as that he kissed me on the forehead (à la Liszt).

To Martha Barnays, from Paris, 20 January 1886

On Saturday Charcot came up to Ricchetti and invited him to dine at his house on Tuesday before leaving. Startled, R. declined, and finally accepted to go after dinner. Then Charcot turned to me and repeated the latter form of invitation, which I accepted with a bow, feeling delighted.


We drove there in a carriage the expenses of which we shared. R. was terribly nervous, I quite calm with the help of a small dose of cocaine, although his success was assured and I had reasons to fear making a blunder.


These were my achievements (or rather the achievements of cocaine), which left me very satisfied.

To Martha Barnays, from Paris, 2 February 1886

The bit of cocaine I have just taken is making me talkative, my little woman. I will go on writing and comment on your criticism of my wretched self.


Here I am, making silly confessions to you, my sweet darling, and really without any reason whatever unless it is the cocaine that makes me talk so much. But now I must go out to supper and then dress myself up and do some more writing. Tomorrow I will report to you quite truthfully on how the evening at Charcot’s turned out. You of course must tell everyone that I had a wonderful time, and I shall write the same to Vienna. The truth is for us alone.


Thank God it’s over and I can tell you at once how right I was. It was so boring I nearly burst; only the bit of cocaine prevented me from doing so.


Only toward the end I embarked on a political conversation with Giles de la Tourette, during which he of course predicted the most ferocious war with Germany. I promptly explained that I am a Jew, adhering neither to Germany nor Austria.


But please don’t tell anyone how boring it was.

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