Privately, however, De Quincey often gave accounts of his addiction that were no doubt designed in part to elicit the sympathy of friends or buy more time from anxious publishers, but that also presented the terrors of the drug in more unvarnished and unnerving terms than the stylized descriptions of the Confessions. “If I take no laudanum, I am in a state of semi-distraction — and cannot arrange my old thoughts, still less pursue fresh trains of thought,” he explained to his publisher J. A. Hessey: “ — on the other hand, if I take even 12 or 15 drops of laudanum — a violent indigestion comes on in 2 or 3 hours, and after that a return of bilious symptoms.” To his close friend John Wilson he observed that “one consequence of my Opium has been that the sensibility of my stomach is so much diminished, that even now…nothing ever stimulates my animal system into any pleasure. Suffer I do not any longer: but my condition is pretty uniformly = 0.” In a letter to Alfred Tennyson’s brother-in-law Edward Lushington, De Quincey describes the ways in which his addiction has undone him. “The nexus is wanting, and life and the central principle which should bind together all the parts at the centre…are wanting,” he asserts. “Infinite incoherence, ropes of sand, gloomy incapacity of vital pervasion by some one plastic principle, that is the hideous incubus upon my mind always.”