If you will write the words you uttered, as you drew the pentacle on my nephew's thigh, and if I find the same talisman with the same words around it, the identity will be proved."
"It will, I confess. I will write the words immediately."
I wrote out the names of the spirits. Madame d'Urfe found the pentacle and read out the names, while I pretending astonishment, gave her the paper, and much to her delight she found the names to be the same.
"You see," said she, "that Poliphilus and the Count de Treves possessed the same art."
"I shall be convinced that it is so, if your book contains the manner of pronouncing the ineffable names. Do you know the theory of the planetary hours?"
"I think so, but they are not needed in this operation."
"They are indispensable, madam, for without them one cannot work with any certainty. I drew Solomon's pentacle on the thigh of Count de la Tour d'Auvergne in the hour of Venus, and if I had not begun with Arael, the spirit of Venus, the operation would have had no effect."
"I did not know that. And after Arael?"
"Next comes Mercury, then the Moon, then Jupiter, and then the Sun. It is, you see, the magic cycle of Zoroaster, in which Saturn and Mars are omitted."
"And how would you have proceeded if you had gone to work in the hour of the Moon?"
"I should have begun with Jupiter, passed to the Sun, then to Arael or Venus, and I should have finished at Mercury."
"I see sir, that you are most apt in the calculation of the planetary hours."
"Without it one can do nothing in magic, as one would have no proper data; however, it is an easy matter to learn. Anyone could pick it up in a month's time. The practical use, however, is much more difficult than the theory; this, indeed, is a complicated affair. I never leave my house without ascertaining the exact number of minutes in the day, and take care that my watch is exact to the time, for a minute more or less would make all the difference in the world"
"Would you have the goodness to explain the theory to me."
"You will find it in Artephius and more clearly in Sandivogius."
"I have both works, but they are in Latin."
"I will make you a translation of them."
"You are very kind; I shall be extremely obliged to you."
"I have seen such things here, madam, that I could not refuse, for reasons which I may, perhaps, tell you to-morrow."
"Why not to-day?"
"Because I ought to know the name of your familiar spirit before I tell you."
"You know, then, that I have a familiar? You should have one, if it is true that you possess the powder of projection."
"I have one."
"Give me the oath of the order."
"I dare not, and you know why."
"Perhaps I shall be able to remove your fears by tomorrow."
This absurd oath was none other than that of the princes of the Rosy Cross, who never pronounce it without being certain that each party is a Rosicrucian, so Madame d'Urfe was quite right in her caution, and as for me I had to pretend to be afraid myself. The fact is I wanted to gain time, for I knew perfectly well the nature of the oath. It may be given between men without any indecency, but a woman like Madame d'Urfe would probably not relish giving it to a man whom she saw for the first time.
"When we find this oath alluded to in the Holy Scriptures," she said, "it is indicated by the words 'he swore to him by laying his hand on his thigh.'"
"But the thigh is not really what is meant; and consequently we never find any notice of a man taking this oath to a woman, as a woman has no 'verbum'."
The Count de la Tour d'Auvergne came back at nine o'clock in the evening, and he skewed no little astonishment at seeing me still with his aunt. He told us that his cousin's fever had increased, and that small-pox had declared itself; "and I am going to take leave of you, my dear aunt, at least for a month, as I intend to shut myself up with the sick man."
Madame d'Urfe praised his zeal, and gave him a little bag on his promising to return it to her after the cure of the prince.