It proved that this was indeed a part of the sigil's wonder-working: Kennaston learned by experience that whenever, even by accident, he was about to touch Ettarre his dream would end like a burst bubble. He would find himself alone and staring at the gl eaming fragment of metal.

Before long he also learned something concerning the sigil of Scoteia, of which his piece of metal once formed a part; for it was permitted him to see the sigil in its entirety, many centuries before it was shattered: it was then one of he treasures of t he Didascalion, a peculiar sort of girls' school in King Ptolemy Physcon's city of Alexandria, where women were tutored to honor fittingly the power which this sigil served. But it is not expedient to speak clearly concerning this; and the real name of the sigil was, of course, quite different from that which Kennaston had given it in his romance.

So began an odd divided life for Felix Kennaston. At first he put his half of the sigil in an envelope, which he hid in a desk in the library, under a pile of his dead uncle's unused bookplates; whence, when occasion served, it was taken out in order that when held so as to reflect the lamplight--for this was always necessary--it might induce the desired dream of Ettarre.

Later Kennaston thought of an expedient by which to prolong his dreams. Nightly he lighted and set by his bedside a stump of candle. The tiny flame, after he had utilized its reflection, would harmlessly burn out while his body slept with a bit of metal in one hand; and he would be freed of Felix Kennaston for eight hours uninterruptedly. To have left an electric-light turned on until he awakened, would in the end have exposed him to detection and the not-impossible appointment of a commission in luna cy; and he recognized the potentialities of such mischance with frank distaste. As affairs sped, however, he could without great difficulty buy his candles in secret. He was glad now he was well-to-do, if only because, as an incidental result of materia lly bettered fortunes, he and his wife had separate bedrooms.

Chapter 18