Dr. Clive James

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Detailed Background

Dr. Clive James

Graduated from Oxford 1888

Specialization in some drugs and medications, to accompany some therapies

Of note, an interest in cocaine and absinthe

Dr. James traveled to United States in 1890, after finishing his doctorate. He roamed around some with his cousins, and he particularly liked Cambridge/Boston, Massachusetts. There, he was particularly intrigued with how many morphine addicts there were among the population of Civil War soldiers. The drug had been given merely as a way to ease injuries, but it clearly ruined lives beyond the initial physical wounds.

He ventured further north for a while, and stayed some weeks in Mystic, Connecticut, along the Mystic River and Seaport. He stayed at the Red Brook Inn (reported by some to be haunted). There, he had several memorable conversations with various individuals. When he later tried to pick up conversations where they'd left off, he learned the guests were not registered at the inn… and one had a name similar to a local who had died 25 years prior.

While in Mystic, he purchased an antique walking stick from a store that specialized in such personal items, while claiming they had other properties about them. The proprietor kept remarking on the simple symmetry of the handle, which is in fact is a very strange piece of curving pewter… nothing symmetrical about it. Perhaps more than anything, he was drawn to the walking stick by its label, which titled it simply as Absynthian.

Later he went down into Pennsylvania and caught a river boat on the Ohio River, in Pittsburgh, where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers converge. He continued touring into more western parts of the country in this manner. When he was in Paducah, Kentucky, he met a man by the last name of Holt, who introduced him to some games of chance. Holt taught Dr. James several games, which he learned well, over the next few nights while he was stopped at the port of Paducah. On the last night of his stay in Paducah, Mr. Holt came aboard ship and knocked on Dr. James' door, asking to speak with him. He seemed very despondent and forlorn… something like guilt but deeper.

Mr. Holt complained of bad dreams and uncomfortable thoughts, especially since he'd won a particular gold serpent ring, known as Ouroboros in Victorian times, from another gambler who hailed from the Mississippi River, further west. Initially, he'd chalked up the winning to taking on the other gambler on an unfamiliar body of water (gamblers' superstitions), but more and more lately, he was feeling he'd done something dishonest to win the ring.

Dr. James listened to Mr. Holt's tale and sensed a deep feeling of guilt that might not be self-induced. He performed psychoanalysis upon Mr. Holt, who was able to overcome his feeling of despondency. So happy was he with the result that he no longer wanted to keep the ring, feeling quite detached from it. He insisted that Dr. James take it as payment for services, stating "as I live in a pious community, you understand, I can't wear it in public anyway, not around home nor neighbors… it just wouldn't do."

This particular gold Ouroboros is a cobra intertwined upon itself, resting its head upon its tail. In the enlarged cobra head rests a diamond, and there are two small rubies for eyes. Dr. James noted how it had a similar "symmetry" to his walking stick handle.

Dr. James continued his trip down the Ohio River, into the port of New Orleans, where he then took a steam ship back to England. He's been working in London ever since.