For some days now Dee and I have been back at work, digging and chipping away in a fresh attempt to escape the misery of this melancholic dungeon. On the assumption that the wall at the rear of my cell must communicate with the exterior, we’ve begun our new excavation there.
It’s a tedious business, and I crave conversation to help pass the time. But my comrade, a mulish, tight-lipped fellow, resists my every attempt to draw him out. Fortunately, he is painfully aware that we share a common concern, and this works to my advantage.
“Several years ago I happened to be at an exhibit of alchemistic artifacts in St. Louis,” I said to him this morning, “when I made the discovery of a lifetime.”
He grunted. Then I said, “It was a sword.”
Dropping his tool, he looked at me slyly. “What sword?”
“I think you know,” I responded. “We’ve spoken of it before. The exhibitor didn’t realize what he had, but I recognized it immediately. It was Azoth. He sold the thing to me for a pittance.”
“Then thou hast the sword in thy possession?”
“I did. But there was one thing about it that always puzzled me.”
“Play not at cat-and-mouse, man. Speak thy mind plainly.”
“I was unaware,” I said, watching him out of the corner of my eye, “that Paracelsus had any knowledge of the Enochian script or language.”
“Faugh! Nor did he!” said Dee. “He gave that sword to me, and I made those inscriptions myself! Under angelic inspiration!”
“I thought as much,” said I, calmly going forward with my work …
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