Friday, April 10


My advertisement in the newspaper was printed today and will run until I've hired someone. I decided not to lock my kitchen. Having someone cook for me will give me even more time to spend in the lab. Any special components will be kept in the lab. I'll begin interviews but anyone I hire won't start until the lab is secure.

I spoke with a locksmith today and decided on an iron padlock for the lab stairwell door. It will replace the doorknob and continue onto the frame. The part on the frame will be etched with the Egyptian symbol for lock/contained and the Sumerian symbol for protected. I am taking no chances and protecting my lab with iron and magick. It will be locked and protected. The paper mentioned several warehouse robberies that happened at the same time. It must be a gang. I guess that's a problem for cities. Either way, my equipment is expensive and I don't want it stolen or tampered with.

Now to take a sledgehammer to the attic wall and see what that missing space is all about.

Thursday, April 9

Magick Pills and Wine

Received an electronic post from Khem Caigan a scholar of the occult arts.

928. The following of the plough
hath been approved for refreshing
the spirits and procuring appetite;
but to do it in the ploughing for
wheat or rye, is not so good;
because the earth hath spent her
sweet breath in vegetables put
forth in summer. It is better
therefore to do it when you sow

But because ploughing is tied to
seasons, it is best to take the air
of the earth new turned up, by
digging with the spade, or standing
by him that diggeth.

Gentlewomen may do themselves
much good by kneeling upon a
cushion and weeding. And these
things you may practise in the best
seasons; which is ever the early
spring, before the earth putteth
forth the vegetables; and in the
sweetest earth you can choose.
It would be done also when the
dew is a little off the ground,
lest the vapour be too moist.

I knew a great man that lived
long, who had a clean clod of earth
brought to him every morning as
he sat in his bed : and he would
hold his head over it a good pretty

I commend also, sometimes, in
digging of new earth, to pour in
some Malmsey or Greek wine;
that the vapour of the earth and
wine together may comfort thea
spirits the more ; provided always
it be not taken for a heathen
sacrifice, or libation to the earth.

~ from The Works of Sir Francis Bacon

Kneeling on a pillow while I garden may be more comfortable then my padded knee guards. Maybe I'll make a nice red one ... or brown, that would be easier to clean. Though I do love to run my hands across red velvet.

I hadn't thought about putting wine into my garden. My mother and I fertilized with composted manure and sometimes bits of fish. It makes sense that plants would flourish after a drink of nitrate rich wine. I shall experiment with this. A bit of wine in one pot of rosemary and none in the other.

I've been known to enjoy a libation or two of blackberry cordial. I do have a sweet tooth and enjoy one too many chocolates and cakes. I don't blame my appetites though for my curves. I blame my mother's side of the family.

That reminds me. I saw such bunk in the newspaper advertisements.

It's a load of hogwash. Generations of alchemical and herbal knowledge were passed down to me from my mother. I've spoken with proprietors of pharmaceuticals and there is no such thing as a magick slimming pill. Oh, that just overheats my flask!

What is this sidesaddle nonsense? I rode horses the reasonable way. Both legs across the horse so I wouldn't fall off. Any lady getting exercise from a sidesaddle mechanical horse is going to have one side of her body stronger then the other! Uneven women walking about the streets. If they're rich it will be the new fashion! Ha!

There's nothing wrong with having a bit of a belly. Mikaeus has a bit of round to him and he looks quite distinguished with his hat and cane. Well, despite the crab legs and blue hair. I can't help chuckling thinking about the way he looks. His eyes are like two dusty sapphires. A deep blue with a shadow that only serious experiences can create.

I'll send him an e-post and let him know I'll attend the fair. Anything to get me out of the house for a bit.

Wednesday, April 8

What do hats eat?

I've been practicing with the opti transcripticon and scanned some of my pictures. It turned out fairly well. My room is marked with the star.

This is the largest home I've ever lived in. There were so many nooks and crannies. I spent most of yesterday cleaning and preparing for dinner. I've cleaned the parlor, dining room, water closet, and kitchen. The home came with older but well kept furnishings so it isn't empty just not decorated. Certainly the place isn't ready for a grand tour. Really, my guests have no need to visit the library or the upstairs.

The attic space is smaller then it should be. There is a wall covered in ornate leather paneling that runs through the middle. There aren't any windows on the back side of the house up there. The agent speculated that it was just unfinished. It's peculiar to me. Such a fancy wall for a storage room.

Anyway, I wore my only fancy dress. My closet is filled with work clothes. Nothing like the finer ladies of St. Louis. Reds, purples, greens and brown go well with my brown eyes and reddish brown hair. I do love my green dress with the purple waistcoat and bustle. My skin is still a glamorous ivory but I've gotten a bit round. I refuse to wear a corset.

Mikaeus was thirty minutes late for dinner. I thought he wasn't going to show so I was more relieved that he had arrived then perturbed that the roast was getting dry. He looked very tired.I offered to take his hat but he handed me his cane instead. He twirled his hat in his hands as he went on and on about how sorry he was for being late. Those creepy eye stalks bugged out from the bowler and the crab legs, if that's what they are, clacked and waved from out of the hat. The thing pinched him and with a yelp he finally stopped.

That's when I realized I was staring, catching flies with my mouth open. I remembered the cane and put it in the foyer corner. It was black lacquered wood engraved with symbols glowing a soft blue. I recognized some of them as essence, spirit, and magnetism.

Dinner went well. I served roast with potatoes, carrots, and cabbage. I even made apple pie for dessert. His hat crawled around the far end of the dining room table. From the corner of my eye I'd catch it creeping toward the roast. I'd look and it would stop. I didn't say anything because I was curious. I mean really. What do hat's eat?

I tried to approach the subject several times but Mikaeus would steer me in another direction. He has a round about way with everything even inquires and hints about his cane and it's symbols. The evening was pleasant but I don't trust him. Perhaps living in a small town has left me a bit secretive. I learned that alchemists aren't liked much unless we do something useful such as heal a stomach ache or create an aromatic perfume. Your average person gets disturbed at the thought of grand workings toward immortality or symbols and mixtures for communing with the dead. Besides, he thwarted most of my questions and leads.

Indeed, I kept the conversation light talking about steam autos, motorbikes, the aether net. He invited me to the World's Fair. I may go. Who knows, maybe he is a trustworthy gentlemen.

Tuesday, April 7

Package from a friend.

A large package arrived today from a friend of mine.

With luck the clippings and seeds I've sent with this letter have reached you in usable condition. I had heard that you had intended to relocate and considering my recent good fortune I feel it best to share my luck with people whom have treated me well in less fortunate times.

Warm Regards,
Kobayashi Saburo

The plants and seeds were fine. I put them in planting pots right away. Honestly, some of them were foreign to me. Maybe Asian. I'll write him to find out how to care for them. Until then it's a mystery.

Yesterday, I went shopping for new flasks for my distillation set. I stepped into the store and suddenly felt dizzy. The shop became extremely bright and seemed to expand. I took a deep breath and steadied myself. After regaining my bearings, I looked around the store.

There was an odd fellow there. I spotted him across the shop inspecting wires. He was about six inches taller then me, making him about six feet tall. He had wild blue hair poking out from a black bowler hat. His hair is what caught my attention but I swore his hat blinked at me. There were two eyes on red stalks that sort of bobbed up and looked at me. But then they were gone.

I didn't want to appear a mad woman so I kept looking at the flasks, trying not to stare. He must have caught me because he pranced across the room. He took his hat off, made a low bow, and introduced himself at Mikaeus. His hat had legs! Six red crab legs uncurled from inside the hat. He held it in his arms like some sort of pet. I asked him what it was and he said there had been some sort of mishap. In fact, he was prone to accidents. Said his hair turned blue when some experiment exploded causing the room in his rental to also turn blue. He gets kicked out of rentals a lot apparently.

He never did explain the creature in his hat ... that's part of his hat rather. He pointed to a small glowing crystal in the brim saying it kept the crab and his hat in phase. Fascinating man. Apparently he is a tinker. His pockets were bulging with tools and he carried a doctor's bag as blue as his hair. I forgot to ask if it was dyed in the accident, too.

I invited him over for supper tonight, which he accepted. It isn't often I meet intellectuals who study the sciences. I don't care if it is improper for a single lady to invite a man over. I'm in my thirties. I don't need a chaperon. I'm quite capable of watching out for myself.

Oh, dear I better get my kitchen set up. This place is a mess. I must put an advertisement in the paper for a maid.

Datamancer Laptop

One of the most interesting places I found is the Prestidigital Datamancery and Paraphrenalic Technofetishism Shoppe. Dr. Richard Nagg is the proprietor and inventor of such wonders as the Datamancer laptop and opti transcripticon. The farm sale didn't leave me rich but I can live comfortably until I start selling potions and other beauty supplies again.

Anyway, this invention uses a series of electric currents and tubes to connect people across the country. You can read their data, listen to talkies, even see moving picture. I hadn't heard about this in Miniwell. I'm so excited and, of course, use it for my journal, with hand written back ups of course.

I'm still learning how to use it. Oh, the possibilities! Could it be used to capture the sounds and lights of the aether?

The opti transcripticon can reproduce images of any book pages or papers you place on the glass. He said it would be easier to preserve my scattered notes. I don't think I trust it. Especially since electricity is still new. It goes out often in my neighborhood. He mentioned something about surges of electricity could blow up the mechanics.

I'm not familiar with such chemistry and tinkering. Give me a mortar and pestle and I can concoct anything.

Broken Glass

Most of this morning has been spent setting up my lab in the cellar. My kitchen isn't even properly set up nor anything else for that matter. I'm pleased that the small windows open to allow for fresh air because it was a bit dank in the corners. I put on my long leather gloves and apron, gathered few grams of mildew samples, and spent the next hour or so scrubbing. Once everything was clean I went to my crates to unpack my equipment. What did I find? My mother's distillation flasks were shattered. Luckily there was enough cloth and hay around the thermometer that it survived. Mercury spills are painstaking to clean.

I don't know if it broke on the train from Minniwell or if it was the young reckless carriage driver who took me from the station to the house. I had painted "fragile" all over the crates and carefully wrapped everything. The brick and cobblestone streets of St. Louis are so bumpy and pitted. I didn't hear any glass breaking. How could I over the clomping of horses and the noisey auto steam engines? Though, I would like one of those autos. They are fast and seem to travel smoother then the carriages.

It's too much trouble to try for compensation. Especially since I don't know when it happened. I'll have to go shopping this afternoon. Such a delay. Perhaps it's a sign to get the rest of the house in order.

All of the stands and clamps were fine since they are wood and metal.

More notes on the distillation system in the commentary.

Monday, April 6

New Home and Garden

"Follow Nature" advised Paracelsus so today I begin my garden. There is much to learn from Mother Nature. She is the mistress of cycles: life and death, seasons, weather. Ultimately she is the mistress of change.

All things are in a constant flux. As an alchemist it is my goal, my life's work, to understand celestial and natural secrets so I may nudge matters in the right direction.

I have various seeds and starter plants which I brought from my mother's farm. I do miss the place but I'd be lonely living in the country without her. I miss her and don't want to taint her memory with words of woe. To keep me busy I will explore this bustling city, St. Louis.

The backyard here is so tiny in comparison to the farm I sold. Upon first inspection I fell instantly in love. It had a smell of fresh rich damp earth. Obviously the plants were thriving, just the wrong ones. It was an overrun patch surrounded by black iron fence. The alder tree, stone benches, and fountain were overrun by gigantic thorny bare rose bushes, ivy, grasses, and dandelions several feet tall. Those behemoths took forever to dig up.

The plot is small but it took all day to hack, clear, and turn the soil. Luckily the earth, as I suspected, has several inches of black soil covering a deep layer of creamy red clay.

More frost is expected so I've planted the seeds in old pots, bowls, and assorted planting pots and placed them in the attic under the windows.

The ginger, mandrake, and potatoes I planted in the garden and covered with a thick layer of straw.

The aloe and hot peppers were already potted. I'll keep them in the kitchen.

The blackberry clippings were planted along the fence.

So many boxes to unpack and this huge place is a mess! I must hire a housekeeper. I'll collect all of the cobwebs first and get a good strong lock for the kitchen and cellar before I hire anyone.

My mother's plants were in near perfect form. Practically unblemished with each plant able to provide potent extracts and results. Such perfumes and potions! The vegetables and fruits were splendid in taste, texture, and color. How I hated to see them wither and fade during the transplant.

Maybe I need a gardener. How else will I have time for my experiments?