The Burggravina having returned to the castle after feeling rather faint, the Burggrave strolls to one of his favourite spots in the garden – the pantheon he had constructed of great Nabstrian thinkers, poets and orators (he had to appropriate a fair number of famous personages from other parts of Germany, including two from Fenwick and at least one from Bachscuttel, to get the numbers up). Here he meets with Monsieur Faltaire, the noted French thinker, who is now in the Burggrave’s pay and who engages the Buggrave in discourse concerning the latest philosophies. He also provides the Burggrave with useful intelligence concerning the French court.
'Ah, my dear Burggrave, how pleasant to meet you here on such a temperate day!'
'In short, my dear Burggrave, no. I have turned my attention to some of the mysteries of natural philosophy. I am, at present, particularly fascinated by the theories concerning the element known as phlogiston. Since all substances which burn in air are known to be rich in phlogiston, and become de-phlogisticated when burned, much might be achieved if we could de-phlogisticate a substance before it burned…imagine, if one could de-phlogisticate gunpowder, then we might be able to produce a yet more powerful weapon for you to prevail against your most vexing and terrible enemies…'
'De-phlogisticated gunpowder? Is that even possible?'
'I have no idea, my dear Burggrave, but I intend to conduct some experiments to find out…'
'Well, do carry on, Faltaire, do carry on…'