The following text in from the 5th book of "Story of my Life" of Casanova, where he is in Paris.
The calcination of mercury was mere child’s play to this wonderful woman. She shewed me the calcined matter, and said that whenever I liked she would instruct me as to the process. I next saw the Tree of Diana of the famous Taliamed, whose pupil she was. His real name was Maillot, and according to Madame d’Urfe he had not, as was supposed, died at Marseilles, but was still alive; “and,” added she, with a slight smile, “I often get letters from him. If the Regent of France,” said she, “had listened to me he would be alive now. He was my first friend; he gave me the name of Egeria, and he married me to M. d’Urfe”She possessed a commentary on Raymond Lully, which cleared up all difficult points in the comments of Arnold de Villanova on the works of Roger Bacon and Geber, who, according to her, were still alive. This precious manuscript was in an ivory casket, the key of which she kept religiously; indeed her laboratory was a closed room to all but myself. I saw a small cask full of ‘platina del Pinto’, which she told me she could transmute into gold when she pleased. It had been given her by M. Vood himself in 1743. She shewed me the same metal in four phials. In the first three the platinum remained intact in sulphuric, nitric, and muriatic acid, but in the fourth, which contained ‘aqua regia’, the metal had not been able to resist the action of the acid. She melted it with the burning-glass, and said it could be melted in no other way, which proved, in her opinion, its superiority to gold. She shewed me some precipitated by sal ammoniac, which would not precipitate gold.
Her athanor had been alight for fifteen years. The top was full of black coal, which made me conclude that she had been in the laboratory two or three days before. Stopping before the Tree of Diana, I asked her, in a respectful voice, if she agreed with those who said it was only fit to amuse children. She replied, in a dignified manner, that she had made it to divert herself with the crystallization of the silver, spirit of nitre, and mercury, and that she looked upon it as a piece of metallic vegetation, representing in little what nature performed on a larger scale; but she added, very seriously, that she could make a Tree of Diana which should be a very Tree of the Sun, which would produce golden fruit, which might be gathered, and which would continue to be produced till no more remained of a certain ingredient. I said modestly that I could not believe the thing possible without the powder of projection, but her only answer was a pleased smile.She then pointed out a china basin containing nitre, mercury, and sulphur, and a fixed salt on a plate. (etc etc) the folowing part here.
Fortunately, Giacomo Casanova, had the good fortune to enter her Laboratory, and he also had the marvellous idea to put on the paper his stories and adventures, otherwise, nothing would have remain of this historical encounter between these two people.
Where is now this ciphered book that described in full the Great Work ? Where is this marvellous athanor burning at equal temperature ? Lost maybe, or in a private collection for the book ?
Taliamed was in fact Benoît de Maillet, (1656 and dead or not dead, in 1738 in Marseille; consul of France in Egypt, and inspector of the French Establishments au Levant, author of a theory about Earth evolution).