Doctor Faustus Chapter III: The Age of Innocence Revisited

“Take me back there, years ago in Germany, so recent in my mind,” the good doctor asked of the demonic being.

“Very well. I shall let you stake your claim on the past one again.”

“Where there is smoke there is fire, so I shall take you back to where your passion was first ignited,” Mephistopheles said.

Suddenly, the study they were speaking faded into a much more inclusive room with a variety of plant specimens on the racks. There were tables of decayed plant pieces, some more gray and old than others. People appeared, walking and interacting with the plants.

In the distance, the doctor could see himself. His former self was observing a thorny rose and taking notes on its features. He was only just beginning his path in botany. The doctor watched himself attentively.

Shortly after, he saw a woman approach his young self, holding a fresh rose in her hand.

“Care to compare?” she asked. “I mean, to see the precise differences between the alive and decayed rose?”

The young doctor seemed like he had just been woken from a peaceful slumber. He reluctantly agreed to work with her.

“Ah, the innocence,” Mephistopheles remarked. “Such susceptible beings, humans.”

The woman worked on dissecting her rose while curiously looking at the young doctor’s hands. “So, what makes you want to understand plant growth?”

The doctor let out a light scoff. “I seek to understand how the wonders of plant life came to be,” he answered, seemingly annoyed she would even ask such a question. “The way we’re able to create poison, stimulants and pastimes by controlling the dosage, it enthralls me.”

“I keep an entire collection of plant life known to stimulate the mind,” the mysterious woman said directly. “I am working on expanding it.”

The young doctor was surprised by her and looked at her intently now. “Strange for a woman such as yourself to be so dedicated to science.”

“I have been told I have a man’s voice and passions,” she replied.

“Though I hope to retain some grace in my manner,” she said in an ironic tone.

“And what brings you here?” the young doctor asked.

“I hope to become the foremost expert on plant-based stimulants.”

“And I hope you shall”

“That is how I met Mathilde,” the doctor said with his eyes still locked on himself. “I never thought a thing about her until then.”

“After that day, the thought of her felt like opium, looked like meadows,” he said wistfully.

“And then there was no meadow,” Mephistopheles said.

“Indeed, and therefore, I sense my revenge is nigh,” Faustus said. “But there is no rush. My vengeance will come, first, I should seek to find out more.”

“You humans are hateful sometimes,” Mephistopheles said. “It pleases me so to be in good company.”

The two saw the lab session end, and they start following the young doctor out of his room.






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