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    #1

    Plaster of Paris affair

    Hello,


    In reading I story I came across something I have problem to understand; can anybody help me?

    Aha, my friend, how mad of me to fill my diary with this cheap introspective stuff! I feel somehow that the affair will end badly. I am writing my defence. Certainly that excuses the form. A jury can never understand plain facts--the cold light of science chills them; they need eloquence, sentiment. . . . Well, I must pay a lawyer for that, if trouble should really arise. How should it? I have made all safe--trust me! I gave him the drug yesterday. The atropine was a touch of almost superhuman cleverness; the fixed, glassy stare deader than death itself. I complied with the foolish formulŠ of the law; in three hours I had the body in my laboratory. In the present absurd state of the law there is really nobody trustworthy in a business of this sort. Tant pis! I must cook my own food for a month or so. For no doubt there will be a good deal of noise. No doubt a good deal of noise. I must risk that. I dare not touch anything but the brain; it might vitiate the whole experiment. Bad enough this plaster of Paris affair. You see a healthy man of thirteen stone odd in his prime will dislike any deep interference with his brain--resent it. Chains are useless; nothing keeps a man still.


    Aleister Crowley, The Soul Hunter, 1910


    Thank you very much.
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    #2

    Re: Plaster of Paris affair

    I'm no expert on slang from the days of 1909, and I haven't read Aleister Crowley. But at a guess; could "Plaster of Paris affair" refer to the experiment the character is about to do? Plaster of Paris is the stuff used to immobilise a broken arm. It's fragile and not very durable. Or could it refer to the skull that the "surgeon" is going to operate on?


    (Other thread-) "All out" could it be a metaphor from cricket?
    Other phrases spring to mind- old-fashioned slang. eg: "All up" meaning there's no hope for him. "Done for" means no hope too. In the context "all out" perhaps is the same?

    Other suggestions needed, I think!

    Or does Plaster of Paris refer to the idea that the surgeon is trying to immobilise the whole body of the victim??
    Last edited by Peedeebee; 30-Dec-2015 at 19:47. Reason: extra idea!!

  1. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Plaster of Paris affair

    You can look up "atropine" on drugs.com. See: www.drugs.com. I don't know about the plaster of Paris.

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Plaster of Paris affair

    Quote Originally Posted by Peedeebee View Post
    I'm no expert on slang from the days of 1909, and I haven't read Aleister Crowley. But at a guess; could "Plaster of Paris affair" refer to the experiment the character is about to do? Plaster of Paris is the stuff used to immobilise a broken arm. It's fragile and not very durable. Or could it refer to the skull that the "surgeon" is going to operate on?


    (Other thread-) "All out" could it be a metaphor from cricket?
    Other phrases spring to mind- old-fashioned slang. eg: "All up" meaning there's no hope for him. "Done for" means no hope too. In the context "all out" perhaps is the same?

    Other suggestions needed, I think!

    Or does Plaster of Paris refer to the idea that the surgeon is trying to immobilise the whole body of the victim??
    That last comment is the kind of thing that occurred to me, but there is no clue as to what was done with the plaster of Paris, although we can assume that the doctor was up to no good.

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    #5

    Re: Plaster of Paris affair

    Quote Originally Posted by Peedeebee View Post
    I'm no expert on slang from the days of 1909, and I haven't read Aleister Crowley. But at a guess; could "Plaster of Paris affair" refer to the experiment the character is about to do? Plaster of Paris is the stuff used to immobilise a broken arm.

    Thanks. It never occured to me Plaster of Paris could be a set phrase so I was not looking for it in that context. But you are undoubtedly right because the surgeon put the upper part of his victim┤s body in plaster to immobilise him.
    Not a Teacher

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    #6

    Re: Plaster of Paris affair

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    You can look up "atropine" on drugs.com. See: www.drugs.com. I don't know about the plaster of Paris.

    I looked it up before I asked but although I know what the drug is still I do not understand what the sentence means as a whole.
    Last edited by Johnyxxx; 30-Dec-2015 at 20:52.
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    #7

    Re: Plaster of Paris affair

    The doctor used the atropine to fake the patient's death, and the plaster to immobilize the still-living patient while he cuts open his head and experiments on his brain.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

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    #8

    Re: Plaster of Paris affair

    Yes, atropine is an involuntary nervous system blocker, and if given to someone in sufficient doses it can, well--use your imagination.

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    #9

    Re: Plaster of Paris affair

    I thought perhaps "plaster of Paris was a metaphor for the immobilisation using the drug......

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