That evening, resting my head on my right hand for quite some time, I covered my right eye with my hand, keeping the other eye open. The room I was in was rather dark, and someone brought in a candle. As soon as I opened both eyes, I perceived two coronas around the candle, with more perfect colours than I thought ever possible…
- René Descartes, letter to Golius, 19th May 1635.
‘I have made a discovery this evening,’ he said. He lit a candle from the stub of the old one, twisting the end in the molten wax until the two joined together. ‘The effect can only be seen in the dark. Do you want to see?’
A discovery? – the word seemed made of sparks. He set the candle down on the table, and went around to the other side. It would seem he would show me anyway.
‘See, there…?’ He pointed at the flame, his finger so close I thought he would burn it. ‘Look. Can you see?’
- The Words in my Hand, Wax