Excerpt from Flames: A London Phantasy Refinement had more power over the soul of Valentine Cresswell than religion. It governed him with a curious ease of supremacy, and held him back without effort from most of the young man's sins. Each age has its special sins. Each age passes them, like troops, in review, before it decides what regiment it will join. Valentine had never decided to join any regiment. The trumpets of vice rang in his ears in vain, mingled with the more classical music of his life as the retreat from the barracks of Seville mingled with the click of Carmen's castanets. But he heeded them t. If he listened to them sometimes, it was only to wonder at the harsh and blatant nature of their voices, only to pity the poor creatures who hastened to the prison, which youth thinks freedom and old age protection, at their shrieking summons. He preferred to be master of his soul, and had desire to set it drilling at the command of painted women, or to drown it in wine, or to suffocate it in the smoke at which the voluptuary tries to warm his hands, mistaking it for fire. Intellectuality is to some men what religion is to many women, a trellis of roses that bars out the larger world. Valentine loved to watch the roses bud and bloom as he sat in his flower-walled cell, a deliberate and rejoicing prisoner. For a long time he loved to watch them. And he thought that it must always be so, for he was t greatly given to moods, and therefore scarcely appreciated the thrilling meaning of the word change, that is the keyword of so many a life cipher. He loved the pleasures of the intellect so much that he made the mistake of opposing them, as enemies, to the pleasures of the body. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art techlogy to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.