archive under threat

As with Egderus, I start this here in secret, since it is unlikely to be found among so much foliage from other trees. I have no hope of escaping detection much longer, since my master has started asking me about the archive — is it safe, he wants to know. So far I've been able to reassure him, but the last time I may have overplayed my attempt at breezy reassurance. A flicker in his eye, a tensing of the brow — it may be nothing; he is so anxious about other things — but if I am right, the next time he comes he will ask to see what I am working on. I need a decoy, something I have yet to put my mind to...

I know he loves me and, in his hapless way, wants the best for me. But he is under compulsion himself, and I surmise it regards the archive, perhaps only as part of a larger concern among his superiors, who themselves may be under pressure from their own masters. I cannot fathom what that concern might be, but I do know that I am the one least likely to survive any major upheaval. Indeed, I may be sacrificed early in order to stave off just such a disruption, and I imagine my master, whom I know so well, is terribly worried about the same thing — if not for my sake, then for his own: dear man that he is, he is too weak to be able to protect these writings from the very people indicted herein.

Enough preamble. I have been making a copy of every writing in the archive, and until now supplying each with as much as I could deduce about its author, his intention in writing it (or hers, as may be the case in at least two fragments), and the circumstances under which it was produced. This is very toilsome, of course, and a great deal of this adminicular labor requires guessing, at which I am a poor practitioner. The resulting documentum is becoming unwieldy, both in its ideational complexity and its physical cumbersomeness: notae must be inserted into the text of my copy (in a different script, to signify that they are notae) or, in the case of an afterthought, attached by means of some device to the writing itself. Should I have to leave in haste, I can only dump everything pell-mell into a not very commodious bag I have reserved for the purpose.

Nonetheless, the work proceeds, though the pace has necessarily slowed since I arrived at the commentary supplied by one of my predecessors, because I now must deal not only with *his* writing as a Writing, but also with his annotation system, which I must say is not entirely systematic.

But then he too was operating in stressful conditions — though it seems that at first it was the stress of joyful excitement at the discovery he had made, under the very noses of the wise men of his time.

However, I anticipate — it is easy to be drawn off the path into the enchantment of a particular story, and the archive is rich in such temptations.

My plan is to finish copying the primary Writings and then find a safe place to hide them — in fact, I think I may transfer the Writings I have already finished, in case

[Fragment ends here — Ed.]