The Alkahest (La recherche de l’Absolu), also translated as The Quest for the Absolute is set in Douai, Departement du Nord, Flanders.
Emmanuel and Marguerite first met when the youth accompanied his uncle, the Abbe de Solis, to evaluate the pictures in the gallery.
She turned with a swan-like movement of her throat to glance once more at Emanuel.
When Balthazar does not come, Marguerite goes to the laboratory. She sees him standing in a patch of sunlight with his sleeves rolled up like a workman.
“Madness!” There was something so majestic in his manner as he repeated the word that his daughter trembled.
Lemulquinier, grown old and wasted like his master with incessant toil, had not, like him, been subjected to the ravages of thought.
His master, Balthasar Claës-Molina, Comte de Nourho