I have always had it in mind to write a lyric play on the following specific subject:

At that time I was taken up with alchemy. One day I was having a rest, alone in my laboratory. Outside the sky was leaden, livid and sinister - really ghastly.

I was feeling sad without knowing why; almost afraid without knowing the cause. Into my head came the idea of amusing myself by counting on my fingers slowly from 1 to 260,000.

This I did: and very boring it was.

I stood up, took hold of a magic nut and gently placed it in a casket of alpaca bone studded with seven diamonds. Straightaway a stuffed bird took flight; a monkey's skeleton ran off; a sow's skin climbed along the wall. Then night descended, covering up objects, destroying shapes.

But someone is knocking on the far door, the one near the Median talismans, the talismans a Polynesian madman sold me.

What is it? Oh, God! Do not forsake thy servant. He is indeed a sinner, but is repentant. Have mercy on him, I beseech Thee.

Now the door opens, opens, opens like an eye; a silent and shapeless being comes nearer, nearer, nearer. Not a drop of perspiration remains on my quaking skin; moreover I am very thirsty, very thirsty.

In the shadows a voice is heard:

"Sir, I think I have second sight."

I do not recognize this voice. It says:

"Sir, it is I, it is only I."

Who? comes my terrified reply.

"I, your servant. I think I have a second sight. Did you not just place a magic nut gently in a casket of alpaca bone studded with seven diamonds?"

Suffocated, I can only reply:

Yes, my friend. How do you know?

He draws near me, a gliding shadow in the darkness of the night. I feel him trembling. He is probably afraid that I may take a shot at him.

With a sob, like a little child, he murmurs:

"I saw you through the keyhole."


- Erik Satie, Compositeur de Musique, 1866-1925.

Further Reading:

A Mammal's Notebook: The Collected Writings of Erik Satie, edited by Ornella Volta, Atlas Press, 1996; 208 pages.
Erik Satie, by Pierre-Daniel Templier, MIT Press, 1932/1969; 127 pages. The first book written about Erik Satie.

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