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Orveo Vitrine
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 11:49 am:   

DR. MICHAEL CISCO IS A LIAR - and a quack. This is true in his case generally, something I regret to say, but I criticize him here in particular for the thoroughly erroneous and fantastic pseudo-biography he provided for the latest edition of the Lambshead Guide. I would have attended to this more recently than now, but for the intervention of some legal difficulties not relevent to this question.

The truth about Dr. Lambshead is far more difficult to discover. I am afraid that the glib lies of Dr. Cisco are an element of a larger campaign to disguise certain informations about Dr. Lambshead.

In the interests of truth, and to demonstrate Dr. Cisco's deceitfulness, I post here an alternate account of Dr. Lambshead's life, written by my late colleague Dr. Glorious. I post it without comment, other than to say that it was submitted to the editors of the Guide, and yet did not appear in the Guide. I must conclude that Dr. Cisco did, in some way, interfere with it, and most likely the editors did not even have the opportunity to see it.

Again I repeat: Dr. Cisco is liar!

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Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 11:53 am:   

From: Yoga For Pipe-Smokers, Number 32 Vol XI, March 15, 1977.

Dr. Thackery B. Lambshead: The Gleaner in Hippocrates’ Tread
Dr. Sqanssiver John Glorious, P.P.
Satrap of the Fuschian Order

At the close of S’ilabetrie Lambret’s third novel, Le Droguiste Honteux, when the fifteenth chaplet is discovered at last behind the caduceus of ice in the winter garden, we are left with these beautiful words: “Je n’ai jamais aimé la oie, qui reste dans le cercle du laiton blanc; le coucou avec les yeux miroirs embrasse l’horizon dans ses ailes, et maintenant je, aussi, deviens libre, à contempler l’orbe pierreux de notre humanité.” (“I have never loved the goose, who remains within the circle of white brass; the mirror-eyed cuckoo embraces the horizon with its wings, and now I, too, become free to gaze on the stony orb of our humanity.”) While voiced in a moment of self-epiphany by the Princesse d’Épars - who is dying of arsenic poisoning, and quite conscious of the fact that her epoch, too, is about to pass into history – Lambret also regarded this passage as an anticipatory epitaph for the peripatetic Dr. Lambshead, with whom his life was intertwined to the deepest possible extent.

Character is fate, and how much of character is there bound up in as simple a thing as one’s own name? Dr. Horticule Bleadshamsson was little known in his own time, let alone thereafter, but perhaps no other anthropologist’s work has had such far-reaching and unsettling repercussions. Those few who had the patience to read his dense and elaborately-written, though brief, papers (he himself referred to his style as “burrowing”, and admitted his incapacity to write entirely without mental confusion) in anthropological journals (most notably Anti-Apexismus) were forever-after changed by them. He rarely lectured. When he did manage to find a venue, students from all over Europe, intensely addicted to his idiosyncrasies of thought, would gather to hear him. Dr. Bleadshamsson lectured in Paris only once, in a hall rented for that purpose, in the unseasonably chilly July of 1907; “Syphilis among the Etruscans” was the topic of the series. S’ilabetrie Lambret, whose somewhat more than dilletantish interest in Etruscan civilization is well known, and Thackery Lambshead, a medical student then vacationing in France, attended. Dr. Bleadshamsson was a man for whom organizational principles, in all aspects of life, were of paramount importance: despite the inconvenience, he vehemently insisted upon lecturing to an alphabetized audience.

Lambret and Lambshead found themselves side by side in the darkness.

Thackery Lambshead was no diarist; his personal papers are few and his letters terse. There is little to be said for his early childhood and the golden years of his adolescence; some precious few in each generation are born roving spirits, and it is plain that stripling Thackery was no plodder. No, the fine things of this world drifted past his eyes, but their glamour did not long hold him. An active mind seeks the challenge, and Lambshead crossed his personal Rubicon the day his mother was diagnosed with amnesia. Lambret’s mother had likewise suffered the sudden theft of her memory, and perhaps this was the common clinamen which caused the first commingling of their spacious minds. Unlike Lambshead, Lambret maintained his journals with religious devotion – his florid letters are no less impressive for their volume and exacting attention to even picayune detail. Yet, our sole indication of this truly life-altering encounter we must winnow from a passage in his fiction, a story he wrote near the end of his life. In “That Sweet Thief” (collected in La Plume Degarnée) young Vincent, obviously a rendering of Lambret in the salad days of his rapturous halcyon, visits the post office in Montparnasse, and remarks on the “sloe-eyed gaze” of a sizeable person at the far window. Later that evening, he takes refuge from the thick fog in a small Egyptian establishment:

“He stalked to my table, his path weaving between volutes of fragrant smoke from narghiles lambent as particolored embers. When he stood nearly above me, he spoke these words, his soft, even caressing, voice choked with a strange fatality.
“‘Across too many chambers you have reflected back upon me the look of my parched and aching eyes, not truly to be perhaps my occult companion, my secret brother, with whom I am destined to share my adoration of impossibility.’”

Vincent and “Captain Angus” are flung together by circumstances on several significant occasions, until each is convinced that the other is his nemesis, his evil fate. “Again I saw and was seen, again transfixed in an electric swoon, by that flagitious cockatrice for whom the sight of me was no less, but comparably, terrible.” The story ends inconclusively; Captain Angus is either drowned in a boating accident or commits suicide by precipitating himself into a jam press, and young Vincent is shocked to discover he is the chief beneficiary of the Captain’s sizeable estate.

Lambshead completed his medical training with surprising speed, and to unanimous acclaim. He exhibited, during the course of his two internships, “vibrantly considerable promise” and “a piquant vim and vision” in the words of his early associate, Dr. Pinocchio Indiphrente. Lambret, on the other hand, was rapidly exhausting himself in struggles with publishers, and had been repeatedly passed over for the Prix Goncourt (this was before the modest success of his only English-language novel, The Power of Harben). As for their established friendship - Lambret, whose very consciousness of the world was refracted (his critics would say, distorted) by his remarkably intense sense of style, was always unusually tergiversational, even for himself, in conversation and in his diaries, when discoursing on Lambshead. An intensely personal and exclusive sympathy existed between them upon which it was the privilege of very few to overlook (it should be pointed out that Lambshead’s associates and Lambret’s friends and mistresses all stridently denied the existence of any resemblance between the two men).

In 1953, their correspondence was destroyed in an archive fire (which, coincidentally, also consumed the only known copies of Horticule Bleadshamsson’s solitary published book, The Collected Articles) at Lindsay-Woolsie. Given Lambshead’s insatiable wanderlust, and consequently constant absence, theirs was an intercourse nearly entirely confined to writing; the loss of these letters represents therefore the creation of an inameliorable breach in any reconstitution of their history. However, sub-librarian Felicien-Michel Wandelweide, who had charge of the Lambret-Lambshead correspondence, recollected that the actual number of letters was not particularly great, and that Lambshead appears to have stopped writing to Lambret altogether sometime between 1946 and 1950.

Lambret’s diaries make plain the disconsolation he experienced at this abrupt end to his long exchange with Lambshead, but not the reason for it. It is entirely possible the lapse was a purely circumstantial matter; Lambshead was, during this period, constantly shuttling back and forth among the more remote Polynesian islands, and apparently unwilling or unable to write to anyone.

Communication to and from the islands was generally irregular, and 1949 was one of the stormiest years on record in the South Pacific; so many seacraft, from cargo carriers and ferries to light sailboats and catamarans, junks and sampans, were lost in one season that the authorities couldn’t manage entirely to catalog them or their associated casualties. So perhaps it is not surprising there are no extant letters from Lambshead to anyone at this time.

Lambshead’s many colleagues were accustomed to his extended silences, and he had no family to miss him; Lambret was perhaps the only person in the world to be sharply wounded by Lambshead’s virtual disappearance into his work. Admittedly, the blow was extraordinarily ill-timed, as Lambret’s long-simmering legal struggle with his landlord took its final turn and he found himself homeless and destitute. This, and the failure of his desperate verse drama Portia, plunged him into virtual penury. “My defeat is total,” he wrote on February 29, 1948. He abandoned Paris for the south of France, where he lived as a recluse, receiving no one and very seldom seen away from his desmesne. It is curious to note, however, that his boyhood friend, entomologist Dr. Abel Parniform insists he recognized Lambret (admittedly, from a distance) in Brazilia, in April of 1951. This is significant, because Lambshead’s letters, among the first to appear after the silent period of 1946-1950, place him in Brazilia at that time. Could Lambret have gone to visit his friend? And yet, his diary makes no mention of any such journey, and every entry for 1951 opens with a stubborn reiteration of his place of eloignment: Castellane, Provençe.

Did some unmentionable contretemps take place? Lambshead’s associates, upon his return from Polynesia, commented on the alteration in his habits – indeed, his manner was found by many to be entirely changed and distinct from what once it was - and it is clear that some manner of unexpressed strain was telling on his work. This was the time of Lambshead’s so-called “occult period,” and at no other era in his extraordinary life was his sanity so persistently questioned by others in the medical profession. Clinical psychiatrist Orveo Vitrine went so far as to call him “classically paranoid,” but by this time all fair-minded physicians and professors had learned to disregard Vitrine’s typically hyperbolic pronouncements as so much vulgar self-promotion. His mental state notwithstanding, evidence indicates that Lambshead did alter many of his personal records in the 1950s, even substituting a forged birth certificate for his actual one, which is presumed destroyed. (The counterfeit was highly convincing, such that some Lambshead scholars actually believe it to be the true certificate. But, we must ask, if he was born, as the document currently on file indicates, in the north of England, why should he, well into middle age, pretend he hailed from Elkhart, Indiana? Why, for that matter, pretend at all? It may assuredly be said, in any event, that those who made his acquaintance later in his life were surprised to hear him speaking with an unfamiliar (and inconsistently-described) accent.) Given Lambshead’s propensity for doctoring the facts of his life, in which endeavor he exhibited no less skill than in doctoring patients, and the paucity of personal information about Lambshead from other reputable sources, the biographer may cherish small hope of ever detecting the cheats and dividing them from the facts.

Regardless of what we, casual onlookers that we are, might make of his behavior, it is plain that the disease Guide had become, more than ever before, Lambshead’s very lifeline. He plunged himself, with a vigor belying his advancing age, into increasingly abstruse researches, carrying him to locations remoter, and remoter. Today, he is far more often heard from than seen, coming and going, to use Dr. Stepan Chapman’s words, “like a will-o-the-wisp.” Despite his volubility on paper, there is one subject, however, upon which Dr. Lambshead never touches. When it became generally known that a missing persons report naming Lambret had been filed with the French police, the news passed without comment from Lambshead; and when the charred, toothless remains were discovered in a locked library carel in Nice, his sole remark was “I imagine spontaneous combustion is indicated.”

In the absence of any surviving record, and without further elucidation from Lambshead himself, we will most likely never know what passed between these two one-time bosom companions, Lambshead and Lambret - what precipitated the frigidation of their relations, what mysterious occurrence or occurrences made them both so much more aberrantly eccentric. Despite their mutual alienation, some latter-day observers have speculated that perhaps some of the Guide’s articles might have been contributed secretly by Lambret himself, although no reason for this secrecy – apart from Lambret’s apparent deficiency in meaningful medical credentials – has yet been offered. Lambret would, of course, have offered no objection to writing under a false name; we have only to recall that “S’ilabetrie Lambret” was itself a nom de plume.

Lambret’s scant remains were inurned at the Columbarium Parachevé, just outside Marseilles. Dr. Lambshead, it is believed, was the sole witness to the perfunctory funeral rites. An unmarked copy of the current edition of the Guide was discovered some time later, ensconced beside the urn in its niche.
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Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 12:08 pm:   

Dr. Vitrine, I have only to point out that your source for the very article with which you hope to discredit my genius work himself expresses, in terms of more than adequate strength, his doubts of your motives and verity. As has so often transpired in the past, you have once again discredited yourself, and this far outweighs any rebuttal I might be called upon to make.
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Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 12:12 pm:   

On the contrary!
I am not like you, in that I do not fear to acknowledge, even with honor, the criticisms of others! Dr. Glorious' sentiments were not long-lived, and the presence of his strong judgement here only further enhances my credibility and empowers my argument. For, would a liar - like yourself - court jeopardy by such an inclusion? Prima Donna, go back to your pirohuettes!

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