(Friends (D)/Alexander Dumas)
One of the most famous French writers of the 19th century, and prominent member of the Club des Hachichins whose writings deal with hashish was Alexandre Dumas.
Dumas is best known for the historical novels, The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, both written within the space of two years, 1844-45, and which belong to the foundation works of popular culture. He was among the first, along with Honoré de Balzac and Eugène Sue, who fully used the possibilities of roman feuilleton, the serial novel.
Dumas is credited with revitalizing the historical novel in France, although his abilities as a writer were under dispute from the beginning. Dumas' works are fast-paced adventure tales. They are not faithful to the historical facts, but blend skillfully history and fiction.
Although well acquainted with the effects of hashish through attending the gatherings of the Hashish Club at the Hotel Lauzun, there is no indication that Dumas ever used hashish or any other drug to excess.
We do know however that, just like literary colleague and Hashish Club member, Théophile Gautier, Dumas was astute enough to realize that hashish had a mystique about it that fascinated the French reading public, and he heightened the interest of one of his best known stories, The Count of Monte Cristo, by making hashish a part of the plot.
In a chapter from Monte Cristo entitled "Sinbad the Sailor", Dumas tells of the meeting of Franz with a mysterious stranger who lives on a deserted island and refers to himself only as Sinbad.
Franz has come to the island, which is sometimes used as a base for smuggling, to do some hunting. He encounters some smugglers and is invited to dine with their leader Sinbad, whose quarters are located somewhere beneath the island. To prevent any outsiders from finding the entrance to these quarters, Sinbad blindfolds Franz and then leads him into an underground palace. magnificently furnished with articles from around the world.
"Then," cried Franz, "it is hashish! I know that -- by name at least."
"That is it precisely, Signor Aladdin; it is hashish -- the purest and most unadulterated hashish of Alexandria, -- the hashish of Abou-Gor, the celebrated maker, the only man, the man to whom there should be built a palace, inscribed with these words, `A grateful world to the dealer in happiness.'"