02 November 2012

Quotable Powell #100

I [remembers Jenkins] had been prepared to find myself in an alchemist's cell, where occult processes matured in retorts and cauldrons, reptiles hung from the ceiling while their venom distilled, homunculi in bottles lined the walls. However, there were no dog-eared volumes of the Cabbala to be seen, no pentagrams or tarot cards ... The only suggestion of the Black Arts was wafted by a faint, sickly smell, not immediately identifiable: incense? hair-tonic? opium? It was hard to say whether the implications were chemical, medicinal, ritualistic; a scent vaguely disturbing, like Dr Trelawney's own personality.

Anthony Powell, The Kindly Ones
Contributed by Dr Peter Kislinger