Triangular Book Cypher Text
Triangle Book Cypher Text
TRANSCRIPT OF A CURIOUS MANUSCRIPT WORK IN CYPHER,
SUPPOSED TO BE ASTROLOGICAL.
By PlIny Evute Chase
(Read before the American Philosophical Socicty, October 2d, 1873.)
The work, of which I have prepared the accompanying transcript, was bought in
"Ex Doxo S.vrtESTtsstMt Comttts St Germatn Qut Orrem TerRaRL-M PEUCUCURRIT."
The cypher consists of twenty-six arbitrary characters. In preparing to transcribe it, I counted the number of times each character was used, substituting a for the one that occurred most frequently, h for the next in frequency, and so on. The words are often run together, but there are numerous breaks, which I have indicated, some of which appear to mark divisions between words, whilo others may be arbitrary, or intended as blinds.
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The most enjoyable dinner I had was with Madame de Gergi, who came with
the famous adventurer, known by the name of the Count de St. Germain.
This individual, instead of eating, talked from the beginning of the meal
to the end, and I followed his example in one respect as I did not eat,
but listened to him with the greatest attention. It may safely be said
that as a conversationalist he was unequalled.
St. Germain gave himself out for a marvel and always aimed at exciting
amazement, which he often succeeded in doing. He was scholar, linguist,
musician, and chemist, good-looking, and a perfect ladies' man. For
awhile he gave them paints and cosmetics; he flattered them, not that he
would make them young again (which he modestly confessed was beyond him)
but that their beauty would be preserved by means of a wash which, he
said, cost him a lot of money, but which he gave away freely.
He had contrived to gain the favour of Madame de Pompadour, who had
spoken about him to the king, for whom he had made a laboratory, in which
the monarch--a martyr to boredom--tried to find a little pleasure or
distraction, at all events, by making dyes. The king had given him a
suite of rooms at Chambord, and a hundred thousand francs for the
construction of a laboratory, and according to St. Germain the dyes
discovered by the king would have a materially beneficial influence on
the quality of French fabrics.
This extraordinary man, intended by nature to be the king of impostors
and quacks, would say in an easy, assured manner that he was three
hundred years old, that he knew the secret of the Universal Medicine,
that he possessed a mastery over nature, that he could melt diamonds,
professing himself capable of forming, out of ten or twelve small
diamonds, one large one of the finest water without any loss of weight.
All this, he said, was a mere trifle to him. Notwithstanding his
boastings, his bare-faced lies, and his manifold eccentricities, I cannot
say I thought him offensive. In spite of my knowledge of what he was and
in spite of my own feelings, I thought him an astonishing man as he was
always astonishing me. I shall have something more to say of this
character further on.
When Madame d'Urfe had introduced me to all her friends, I told her that
I would dine with her whenever she wished, but that with the exception of
her relations and St. Germain, whose wild talk amused me, I should prefer
her to invite no company. St. Germain often dined with the best society
in the capital, but he never ate anything, saying that he was kept alive
by mysterious food known only to himself. One soon got used to his
eccentricities, but not to his wonderful flow of words which made him the
soul of whatever company he was in.
By this time I had fathomed all the depths of Madame d'Urfe's character.
She firmly believed me to be an adept of the first order, making use of
another name for purposes of my own; and five or six weeks later she was
confirmed in this wild idea on her asking me if I had diciphered the
manuscript which pretended to explain the Magnum Opus.
"Yes," said I, "I have deciphered it, and consequently read it, and I now
beg to return it you with my word of honour that I have not made a copy;
in fact, I found nothing in it that I did not know before."
"Without the key you mean, but of course you could never find out that."
"Shall I tell you the key?"
"Pray do so."
I gave her the word, which belonged to no language that I know of, and
the marchioness was quite thunderstruck.
"This is too amazing," said she; "I thought myself the sole possessor of
that mysterious word--for I had never written it down, laying it up in my
memory--and I am sure I have never told anyone of it."
I might have informed her that the calculation which enabled me to
decipher the manuscript furnished me also with the key, but the whim took
me to tell her that a spirit had revealed it to me. This foolish tale
completed my mastery over this truly learned and sensible woman on
everything but her hobby. This false confidence gave me an immense
ascendancy over Madame d'Urfe, and I often abused my power over her. Now
that I am no longer the victim of those illusions which pursued me
throughout my life, I blush at the remembrance of my conduct, and the
penance I impose on myself is to tell the whole truth, and to extenuate
nothing in these Memoirs.
The wildest notion in the good marchioness's brain was a firm belief in
the possibility of communication between mortals and elementary spirits.
She would have given all her goods to attain to such communication, and
she had several times been deceived by impostors who made her believe
that she attained her aim.
"I did not think," said she, sadly, "that your spirit would have been
able to force mine to reveal my secrets."
"There was no need to force your spirit, madam, as mine knows all things
of his own power."
"Does he know the inmost secrets of my soul?"
"Certainly, and if I ask him he is forced to disclose all to me."
"Can you ask him when you like?"
"Oh, yes! provided I have paper and ink. I can even ask him questions
through you by telling you his name."
"And will you tell it me?"
"I can do what I say; and, to convince you, his name is Paralis. Ask him
a simple question in writing, as you would ask a common mortal. Ask him,
for instance, how I deciphered your manuscript, and you shall see I will
compel him to answer you."
Trembling with joy, Madame d'Urfe put her question, expressed it in
numbers, then following my method in pyramid shape; and I made her
extract the answer, which she wrote down in letters. At first she only
obtained consonants, but by a second process which supplied the vowels
she received a clear and sufficient answer. Her every feature expressed
astonishment, for she had drawn from the pyramid the word which was the
key to her manuscript. I left her, carrying with me her heart, her soul,
her mind, and all the common sense which she had left.