Saturday, August 26, 2006

It was 340 Years Ago Today

...that Sgt Pepper... Sorry, couldn't resist.

Today is in fact the 340th anniversary of the creation of one of the alchemical medallions that Elias shows to Helvetius when they meet for the first time.

Here is a world premiere of a draft of the scene:

"The man handed Helvetius one of the pendants. On it were inscribed the words AMEN. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord our GOD, for all things are full of his Power. It felt heavy enough to be real gold, and when Anna came back with his purse, Helvetius compared the pendant with a gold coin. It seemed dull and lifeless against the medallion: had the man really made it himself? The inscription on the second pendant, when it was offered to him, seemed to confirm it: The wonderful wonder-working wisdom of JEHOVAH in the Catholick Book of Nature. Made the 26th day of August 1666.

Helvetius's mind began to reel. The date seemed somehow full of portent: what had he himself been doing on that day? Was he in England, concerned with the goings-on at Ragley? Was that the day of Lady Anne’s collapse and Greatorex’s attempts to revive her? Or was it a day like too many others when nothing of import had happened, when his own soul-gloom descended upon him as he tried to balance the books? Why had he not been aware that on that very day, this man had attained the mastery? People had come and gone about their business as he himself had, all of them unaware. All of them unaware. "

And happy birthday, Chris!

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