The Alkahest
by Honore de Balzac
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The friends of the family, invited to the dinner given to celebrate Claes's return and the signing of the marriage contracts, now began to arrive; and their servants brought in the wedding-presents. The company quickly assembled, and the scene was imposing as much from the quality of the persons present as from the elegance of the toilettes. The three families, thus united through the happiness of their children, seemed to vie with each other in contributing to the splendor of the occasion. The parlor was soon filled with the charming gifts that are made to bridal couples. Gold shimmered and glistened; silks and satins, cashmere shawls, necklaces, jewels, afforded as much delight to those who gave as to those who received; enjoyment that was almost childlike shone on every face, and the mere value of the magnificent presents was lost sight of by the spectators,—who often busy themselves in estimating it out of curiosity.

The ceremonial forms used for generations in the Claes family for solemnities of this nature now began. The parents alone were seated, all present stood before them at a little distance. To the left of the parlor on the garden side were Gabriel and Mademoiselle Conyncks, next to them stood Monsieur de Solis and Marguerite, and farther on, Felicie and Pierquin. Balthazar and Monsieur Conyncks, the only persons who were seated, occupied two armchairs beside the notary who, for this occasion, had taken Pierquin's duty. Jean stood behind his father. A score of ladies elegantly dressed, and a few men chosen from among the nearest relatives of the Pierquins, the Conyncks, and the Claes, the mayor of Douai, who was to marry the couples, the twelve witnesses chosen from among the nearest friends of the three families, all, even the curate of Saint-Pierre, remained standing and formed an imposing circle at the end of the parlor next the court-yard. This homage paid by the whole assembly to Paternity, which at such a moment shines with almost regal majesty, gave to the scene a certain antique character. It was the only moment for sixteen long years when Balthazar forgot the Alkahest.

Monsieur Raparlier went up to Marguerite and her sister and asked if all the persons invited to the ceremony and to the dinner had arrived; on receiving an affirmative reply, he returned to his station and took up the marriage contract between Marguerite and Monsieur de Solis, which was the first to be read, when suddenly the door of the parlor opened and Lemulquinier entered, his face flaming.

"Monsieur! monsieur!" he cried.

Balthazar flung a look of despair at Marguerite, then, making her a sign, he drew her into the garden. The whole assembly were conscious of a shock.

"I dared not tell you, my child," said the father, "but since you have done so much, you will save me, I know, from this last trouble. Lemulquinier lent me all his savings—the fruit of twenty years' economy—for my last experiment, which failed. He has come no doubt, finding that I am once more rich, to insist on having them back. Ah! my angel, give them to him; you owe him your father; he alone consoled me in my troubles, he alone has had faith in me,—without him I should have died."

"Monsieur! monsieur!" cried Lemulquinier.

"What is it?" said Balthazar, turning round.

"A diamond!"

Claes sprang into the parlor and saw the stone in the hands of the old valet, who whispered in his ear,—

"I have been to the laboratory."

The chemist, forgetting everything about him, cast a terrible look on the old Fleming which meant, "You went before me to the laboratory!"

"Yes," continued Lemulquinier, "I found the diamond in the china capsule which communicated with the battery which we left to work, monsieur—and see!" he added, showing a white diamond of octahedral form, whose brilliancy drew the astonished gaze of all present.

"My children, my friends," said Balthazar, "forgive my old servant, forgive me! This event will drive me mad. The chance work of seven years has produced—without me—a discovery I have sought for sixteen years. How? My God, I know not—yes, I left sulphide of carbon under the influence of a Voltaic pile, whose action ought to have been watched from day to day. During my absence the power of God has worked in my laboratory, but I was not there to note its progressive effects! Is it not awful? Oh, cursed exile! cursed chance! Alas! had I watched that slow, that sudden—what can I call it?—crystallization, transformation, in short that miracle, then, then my children would have been richer still. Though this result is not the solution of the Problem which I seek, the first rays of my glory would have shone from that diamond upon my native country, and this hour, which our satisfied affections have made so happy, would have glowed with the sunlight of Science."

Every one kept silence in the presence of such a man. The disconnected words wrung from him by his anguish were too sincere not to be sublime.

Suddenly, Balthazar drove back his despair into the depths of his own being, and cast upon the assembly a majestic look which affected the souls of all; he took the diamond and offered it to Marguerite, saying,—

"It is thine, my angel."

Then he dismissed Lemulquinier with a gesture, and motioned to the notary, saying, "Go on."

The two words sent a shudder of emotion through the company such as Talma in certain roles produced among his auditors. Balthazar, as he reseated himself, said in a low voice,—

"To-day I must be a father only."

Marguerite hearing the words went up to him and caught his hand and kissed it respectfully.

"No man was ever greater," said Emmanuel, when his bride returned to him; "no man was ever so mighty; another would have gone mad."

After the three contracts were read and signed, the company hastened to question Balthazar as to the manner in which the diamond had been formed; but he could tell them nothing about so strange an accident. He looked through the window at his garret and pointed to it with an angry gesture.

"Yes, the awful power resulting from a movement of fiery matter which no doubt produces metals, diamonds," he said, "was manifested there for one moment, by one chance."

"That chance was of course some natural effect," whispered a guest belonging to the class of people who are ready with an explanation of everything. "At any rate, it is something saved out of all he has wasted."

"Let us forget it," said Balthazar, addressing his friends; "I beg you to say no more about it to-day."

Marguerite took her father's arm to lead the way to the reception-rooms of the front house, where a sumptuous fete had been prepared. As he entered the gallery, followed by his guests, he beheld it filled with pictures and garnished with choice flowers.

"Pictures!" he exclaimed, "pictures!—and some of the old ones!"

He stopped short; his brow clouded; for a moment grief overcame him; he felt the weight of his wrong-doing as the vista of his humiliation came before his eyes.

"It is all your own, father," said Marguerite, guessing the feelings that oppressed his soul.

"Angel, whom the spirits in heaven watch and praise," he cried, "how many times have you given life to your father?"

"Then keep no cloud upon your brow, nor the least sad thought in your heart," she said, "and you will reward me beyond my hopes. I have been thinking of Lemulquinier, my darling father; the few words you said a little while ago have made me value him; perhaps I have been unjust to him; he ought to remain your humble friend. Emmanuel has laid by nearly sixty thousand francs which he has economized, and we will give them to Lemulquinier. After serving you so well the man ought to be made comfortable for his remaining years. Do not be uneasy about us. Monsieur de Solis and I intend to lead a quiet, peaceful life,—a life without luxury; we can well afford to lend you that money until you are able to return it."

"Ah, my daughter! never forsake me; continue to be thy father's providence."

When they entered the reception-rooms Balthazar found them restored and furnished as elegantly as in former days. The guests presently descended to the dining-room on the ground-floor by the grand staircase, on every step of which were rare plants and flowering shrubs. A silver service of exquisite workmanship, the gift of Gabriel to his father, attracted all eyes to a luxury which was surprising to the inhabitants of a town where such luxury is traditional. The servants of Monsieur Conyncks and of Pierquin, as well as those of the Claes household, were assembled to serve the repast. Seeing himself once more at the head of that table, surrounded by friends and relatives and happy faces beaming with heartfelt joy, Balthazar, behind whose chair stood Lemulquinier, was overcome by emotions so deep and so imposing that all present kept silence, as men are silent before great sorrows or great joys.

"Dear children," he cried, "you have killed the fatted calf to welcome home the prodigal father."

These words, in which the father judged himself (and perhaps prevented others from judging him more severely), were spoken so nobly that all present shed tears; they were the last expression of sadness, however, and the general happiness soon took on the merry, animated character of a family fete.

Immediately after dinner the principal people of the city began to arrive for the ball, which proved worthy of the almost classic splendor of the restored House of Claes. The three marriages followed this happy day, and gave occasion to many fetes, and balls, and dinners, which involved Balthazar for some months in the vortex of social life. His eldest son and his wife removed to an estate near Cambrai belonging to Monsieur Conyncks, who was unwilling to separate from his daughter. Madame Pierquin also left her father's house to do the honors of a fine mansion which Pierquin had built, and where he desired to live in all the dignity of rank; for his practise was sold, and his uncle des Racquets had died and left him a large property scraped together by slow economy. Jean went to Paris to finish his education, and Monsieur and Madame de Solis alone remained with their father in the House de Claes. Balthazar made over to them the family home in the rear house, and took up his own abode on the second floor of the front building.


Marguerite continued to keep watch over her father's material comfort, aided in the sweet task by Emmanuel. The noble girl received from the hands of love that most envied of all garlands, the wreath that happiness entwines and constancy keeps ever fresh. No couple ever afforded a better illustration of the complete, acknowledged, spotless felicity which all women cherish in their dreams. The union of two beings so courageous in the trials of life, who had loved each other through years with so sacred an affection, drew forth the respectful admiration of the whole community. Monsieur de Solis, who had long held an appointment as inspector-general of the University, resigned those functions to enjoy his happiness more freely, and remained at Douai where every one did such homage to his character and attainments that his name was proposed as candidate for the Electoral college whenever he should reach the required age. Marguerite, who had shown herself so strong in adversity, became in prosperity a sweet and tender woman.

Throughout the following year Claes was grave and preoccupied; and yet, though he made a few inexpensive experiments for which his ordinary income sufficed, he seemed to neglect his laboratory. Marguerite restored all the old customs of the House of Claes, and gave a family fete every month in honor of her father, at which the Pierquins and the Conyncks were present; and she also received the upper ranks of society one day in the week at a "cafe" which became celebrated. Though frequently absent-minded, Claes took part in all these assemblages and became, to please his daughter, so willingly a man of the world that the family were able to believe he had renounced his search for the solution of the great problem.

Three years went by. In 1828 family affairs called Emmanuel de Solis to Spain. Although there were three numerous branches between himself and the inheritance of the house of Solis, yellow fever, old age, barrenness, and other caprices of fortune, combined to make him the last lineal descendant of the family and heir to the titles and estates of his ancient house. Moreover, by one of those curious chances which seem impossible except in a book, the house of Solis had acquired the territory and titles of the Comtes de Nourho. Marguerite did not wish to separate from her husband, who was to stay in Spain long enough to settle his affairs, and she was, moreover, curious to see the castle of Casa-Real where her mother had passed her childhood, and the city of Granada, the cradle of the de Solis family. She left Douai, consigning the care of the house to Martha, Josette, and Lemulquinier. Balthazar, to whom Marguerite had proposed a journey into Spain, declined to accompany her on the ground of his advanced age; but certain experiments which he had long meditated, and to which he now trusted for the realization of his hopes were the real reason of his refusal.

The Comte and Comtesse de Solis y Nourho were detained in Spain longer than they intended. Marguerite gave birth to a son. It was not until the middle of 1830 that they reached Cadiz, intending to embark for Italy on their way back to France. There, however, they received a letter from Felicie conveying disastrous news. Within a few months, their father had completely ruined himself. Gabriel and Pierquin were obliged to pay Lemulquinier a monthly stipend for the bare necessaries of the household. The old valet had again sacrificed his little property to his master. Balthazar was no longer willing to see any one, and would not even admit his children to the house. Martha and Josette were dead. The coachman, the cook, and the other servants had long been dismissed; the horses and carriages were sold. Though Lemulquinier maintained the utmost secrecy as to his master's proceedings, it was believed that the thousand francs supplied by Gabriel and Pierquin were spent chiefly on experiments. The small amount of provisions which the old valet purchased in the town seemed to show that the two old men contented themselves with the barest necessaries. To prevent the sale of the House of Claes, Gabriel and Pierquin were paying the interest of the sums which their father had again borrowed on it. None of his children had the slightest influence upon the old man, who at seventy years of age displayed extraordinary energy in bending everything to his will, even in matters that were trivial. Gabriel, Conyncks, and Pierquin had decided not to pay off his debts.

This letter changed all Marguerite's travelling plans, and she immediately took the shortest road to Douai. Her new fortune and her past savings enabled her to pay off Balthazar's debts; but she wished to do more, she wished to obey her mother's last injunction and save him from sinking dishonored to the grave. She alone could exercise enough ascendancy over the old man to keep him from completing the work of ruin, at an age when no fruitful toil could be expected from his enfeebled faculties. But she was also anxious to control him without wounding his susceptibilities,—not wishing to imitate the children of Sophocles, in case her father neared the scientific result for which he had sacrificed so much.

Monsieur and Madame de Solis reached Flanders in the last days of September, 1831, and arrived at Douai during the morning. Marguerite ordered the coachman to drive to the house in the rue de Paris, which they found closed. The bell was loudly rung, but no one answered. A shopkeeper left his door-step, to which he had been attracted by the noise of the carriages; others were at their windows to enjoy a sight of the return of the de Solis family to whom all were attached, enticed also by a vague curiosity as to what would happen in that house on Marguerite's return to it. The shopkeeper told Monsieur de Solis's valet that old Claes had gone out an hour before, and that Monsieur Lemulquinier was no doubt taking him to walk on the ramparts.

Marguerite sent for a locksmith to force the door,—glad to escape a scene in case her father, as Felicie had written, should refuse to admit her into the house. Meantime Emmanuel went to meet the old man and prepare him for the arrival of his daughter, despatching a servant to notify Monsieur and Madame Pierquin.

When the door was opened, Marguerite went directly to the parlor. Horror overcame her and she trembled when she saw the walls as bare as if a fire had swept over them. The glorious carved panellings of Van Huysum and the portrait of the great Claes had been sold. The dining-room was empty: there was nothing in it but two straw chairs and a common deal table, on which Marguerite, terrified, saw two plates, two bowls, two forks and spoons, and the remains of a salt herring which Claes and his servant had evidently just eaten. In a moment she had flown through her father's portion of the house, every room of which exhibited the same desolation as the parlor and dining-room. The idea of the Alkahest had swept like a conflagration through the building. Her father's bedroom had a bed, one chair, and one table, on which stood a miserable pewter candlestick with a tallow candle burned almost to the socket. The house was so completely stripped that not so much as a curtain remained at the windows. Every object of the smallest value,—everything, even the kitchen utensils, had been sold.

Moved by that feeling of curiosity which never entirely leaves us even in moments of misfortune, Marguerite entered Lemulquinier's chamber and found it as bare as that of his master. In a half-opened table-drawer she found a pawnbroker's ticket for the old servant's watch which he had pledged some days before. She ran to the laboratory and found it filled with scientific instruments, the same as ever. Then she returned to her own appartement and ordered the door to be broken open—her father had respected it!

Marguerite burst into tears and forgave her father all. In the midst of his devastating fury he had stopped short, restrained by paternal feeling and the gratitude he owed to his daughter! This proof of tenderness, coming to her at a moment when despair had reached its climax, brought about in Marguerite's soul one of those moral reactions against which the coldest hearts are powerless. She returned to the parlor to wait her father's arrival, in a state of anxiety that was cruelly aggravated by doubt and uncertainty. In what condition was she about to see him? Ruined, decrepit, suffering, enfeebled by the fasts his pride compelled him to undergo? Would he have his reason? Tears flowed unconsciously from her eyes as she looked about the desecrated sanctuary. The images of her whole life, her past efforts, her useless precautions, her childhood, her mother happy and unhappy,—all, even her little Joseph smiling on that scene of desolation, all were parts of a poem of unutterable melancholy.

Marguerite foresaw an approaching misfortune, yet she little expected the catastrophe that was to close her father's life,—that life at once so grand and yet so miserable.

The condition of Monsieur Claes was no secret in the community. To the lasting shame of men, there were not in all Douai two hearts generous enough to do honor to the perseverance of this man of genius. In the eyes of the world Balthazar was a man to be condemned, a bad father who had squandered six fortunes, millions, who was actually seeking the philosopher's stone in the nineteenth century, this enlightened century, this sceptical century, this century!—etc. They calumniated his purposes and branded him with the name of "alchemist," casting up to him in mockery that he was trying to make gold. Ah! what eulogies are uttered on this great century of ours, in which, as in all others, genius is smothered under an indifference as brutal a that of the gate in which Dante died, and Tasso and Cervantes and "tutti quanti." The people are as backward as kings in understanding the creations of genius.

These opinions on the subject of Balthazar Claes filtered, little by little, from the upper society of Douai to the bourgeoisie, and from the bourgeoisie to the lower classes. The old chemist excited pity among persons of his own rank, satirical curiosity among the others,—two sentiments big with contempt and with the "vae victis" with which the masses assail a man of genius when they see him in misfortune. Persons often stopped before the House of Claes to show each other the rose window of the garret where so much gold and so much coal had been consumed in smoke. When Balthazar passed along the streets they pointed to him with their fingers; often, on catching sight of him, a mocking jest or a word of pity would escape the lips of a working-man or some mere child. But Lemulquinier was careful to tell his master it was homage; he could deceive him with impunity, for though the old man's eyes retained the sublime clearness which results from the habit of living among great thoughts, his sense of hearing was enfeebled.

To most of the peasantry, and to all vulgar and superstitious minds, Balthazar Claes was a sorcerer. The noble old mansion, once named by common consent "the House of Claes," was now called in the suburbs and the country districts "the Devil's House." Every outward sign, even the face of Lemulquinier, confirmed the ridiculous beliefs that were current about Balthazar. When the old servant went to market to purchase the few provisions necessary for their subsistence, picking out the cheapest he could find, insults were flung in as make-weights,—just as butchers slip bones into their customers' meat,—and he was fortunate, poor creature, if some superstitious market-woman did not refuse to sell him his meagre pittance lest she be damned by contact with an imp of hell.

Thus the feelings of the whole town of Douai were hostile to the grand old man and to his attendant. The neglected state of their clothes added to this repulsion; they went about clothed like paupers who have seen better days, and who strive to keep a decent appearance and are ashamed to beg. It was probable that sooner or later Balthazar would be insulted in the streets. Pierquin, feeling how degrading to the family any public insult would be, had for some time past sent two or three of his own servants to follow the old man whenever he went out, and keep him in sight at a little distance, for the purpose of protecting him if necessary,—the revolution of July not having contributed to make the citizens respectful.

By one of those fatalities which can never be explained, Claes and Lemulquinier had gone out early in the morning, thus evading the secret guardianship of Monsieur and Madame Pierquin. On their way back from the ramparts they sat down to sun themselves on a bench in the place Saint-Jacques, an open space crossed by children on their way to school. Catching sight from a distance of the defenceless old men, whose faces brightened as they sat basking in the sun, a crowd of boys began to talk of them. Generally, children's chatter ends in laughter; on this occasion the laughter led to jokes of which they did not know the cruelty. Seven or eight of the first-comers stood at a little distance, and examined the strange old faces with smothered laughter and remarks which attracted Lemulquinier's attention.

"Hi! do you see that one with a head as smooth as my knee?"


"Well, he was born a Wise Man."

"My papa says he makes gold," said another.

The youngest of the troop, who had his basket full of provisions and was devouring a slice of bread and butter, advanced to the bench and said boldly to Lemulquinier,—

"Monsieur, is it true you make pearls and diamonds?"

"Yes, my little man," replied the valet, smiling and tapping him on the cheek; "we will give you some of you study well."

"Ah! monsieur, give me some, too," was the general exclamation.

The boys all rushed together like a flock of birds, and surrounded the old men. Balthazar, absorbed in meditation from which he was drawn by these sudden cries, made a gesture of amazement which caused a general shout of laughter.

"Come, come, boys; be respectful to a great man," said Lemulquinier.

"Hi, the old harlequin!" cried the lads; "the old sorcerer! you are sorcerers! sorcerers! sorcerers!"

Lemulquinier sprang to his feet and threatened the crowd with his cane; they all ran to a little distance, picking up stones and mud. A workman who was eating his breakfast near by, seeing Lemulquinier brandish his cane to drive the boys away, thought he had struck them, and took their part, crying out,—

"Down with the sorcerers!"

The boys, feeling themselves encouraged, flung their missiles at the old men, just as the Comte de Solis, accompanied by Pierquin's servants, appeared at the farther end of the square. The latter were too late, however, to save the old man and his valet from being pelted with mud. The shock was given. Balthazar, whose faculties had been preserved by a chastity of spirit natural to students absorbed in a quest of discovery that annihilates all passions, now suddenly divined, by the phenomenon of introsusception, the true meaning of the scene: his decrepit body could not sustain the frightful reaction he underwent in his feelings, and he fell, struck with paralysis, into the arms of Lemulquinier, who brought him to his home on a shutter, attended by his sons-in-law and their servants. No power could prevent the population of Douai from following the body of the old man to the door of his house, where Felicie and her children, Jean, Marguerite, and Gabriel, whom his sister had sent for, were waiting to receive him.

The arrival of the old man gave rise to a frightful scene; he struggled less against the assaults of death than against the horror of seeing that his children had entered the house and penetrated the secret of his impoverished life. A bed was at once made up in the parlor and every care bestowed upon the stricken man, whose condition, towards evening, allowed hopes that his life might be preserved. The paralysis, though skilfully treated, kept him for some time in a state of semi-childhood; and when by degrees it relaxed, the tongue was found to be especially affected, perhaps because the old man's anger had concentrated all his forces upon it at the moment when he was about to apostrophize the children.

This incident roused a general indignation throughout the town. By a law, up to that time unknown, which guides the affects of the masses, this event brought back all hearts to Monsieur Claes. He became once more a great man; he excited the admiration and received the good-will that a few hours earlier were denied to him. Men praised his patience, his strength of will, his courage, his genius. The authorities wished to arrest all those who had a share in dealing him this blow. Too late,—the evil was done! The Claes family were the first to beg that the matter might be allowed to drop.

Marguerite ordered furniture to be brought into the parlor, and the denuded walls to be hung with silk; and when, a few days after his seizure, the old father recovered his faculties and found himself once more in a luxurious room surrounded by all that makes life easy, he tried to express his belief that his daughter Marguerite had returned. At that moment she entered the room. When Balthazar caught sight of her he colored, and his eyes grew moist, though the tears did not fall. He was able to press his daughter's hand with his cold fingers, putting into that pressure all the thoughts, all the feelings he no longer had the power to utter. There was something holy and solemn in that farewell of the brain which still lived, of the heart which gratitude revived. Worn out by fruitless efforts, exhausted in the long struggle with the gigantic problem, desperate perhaps at the oblivion which awaited his memory, this giant among men was about to die. His children surrounded him with respectful affection; his dying eyes were cheered with images of plenty and the touching picture of his prosperous and noble family. His every look—by which alone he could manifest his feelings—was unchangeably affectionate; his eyes acquired such variety of expression that they had, as it were, a language of light, easy to comprehend.

Marguerite paid her father's debts, and restored a modern splendor to the House of Claes which removed all outward signs of decay. She never left the old man's bedside, endeavoring to divine his every thought and accomplish his slightest wish.

Some months went by with those alternations of better and worse which attend the struggle of life and death in old people; every morning his children came to him and spent the day in the parlor, dining by his bedside and only leaving him when he went to sleep for the night. The occupation which gave him most pleasure, among the many with which his family sought to enliven him, was the reading of newspapers, to which the political events then occurring gave great interest. Monsieur Claes listened attentively as Monsieur de Solis read them aloud beside his bed.

Towards the close of the year 1832, Balthazar passed an extremely critical night, during which Monsieur Pierquin, the doctor, was summoned by the nurse, who was greatly alarmed at the sudden change which took place in the patient. For the rest of the night the doctor remained to watch him, fearing he might at any moment expire in the throes of inward convulsion, whose effects were like those of a last agony.

The old man made incredible efforts to shake off the bonds of his paralysis; he tried to speak and moved his tongue, unable to make a sound; his flaming eyes emitted thoughts; his drawn features expressed an untold agony; his fingers writhed in desperation; the sweat stood out in drops upon his brow. In the morning when his children came to his bedside and kissed him with an affection which the sense of coming death made day by day more ardent and more eager, he showed none of his usual satisfaction at these signs of their tenderness. Emmanuel, instigated by the doctor, hastened to open the newspaper to try if the usual reading might not relieve the inward crisis in which Balthazar was evidently struggling. As he unfolded the sheet he saw the words, "DISCOVERY OF THE ABSOLUTE,"—which startled him, and he read a paragraph to Marguerite concerning a sale made by a celebrated Polish mathematician of the secret of the Absolute. Though Emmanuel read in a low voice, and Marguerite signed to him to omit the passage, Balthazar heard it.

Suddenly the dying man raised himself by his wrists and cast on his frightened children a look which struck like lightning; the hairs that fringed the bald head stirred, the wrinkles quivered, the features were illumined with spiritual fires, a breath passed across that face and rendered it sublime; he raised a hand, clenched in fury, and uttered with a piercing cry the famous word of Archimedes, "EUREKA!"—I have found.

He fell back upon his bed with the dull sound of an inert body, and died, uttering an awful moan,—his convulsed eyes expressing to the last, when the doctor closed them, the regret of not bequeathing to Science the secret of an Enigma whose veil was rent away,—too late!—by the fleshless fingers of Death.


The following personages appear in other stories of the Human Comedy.

Note: The Alkahest is also known as The Quest of the Absolute and is referred to by that title when mentioned in other addendums.

Casa-Real, Duc de The Quest of the Absolute A Marriage Settlement

Chiffreville, Monsieur and Madame Cesar Birotteau The Quest of the Absolute

Claes, Josephine de Temninck, Madame The Quest of the Absolute A Marriage Settlement

Protez and Chiffreville The Quest of the Absolute Cesar Birotteau

Savaron de Savarus The Quest of the Absolute Albert Savarus

Savarus, Albert Savaron de The Quest of the Absolute Albert Savarus


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