Memoirs of a young Rakehell
Summer was back again; my mother had returned to the country, to the estate which we had acquired only recently.
My father, engrossed in his business, had remained in the city. He regretted having purchased this estate which he had acquired at my mother's insistence.
"You're the one who wanted this country house," he said. "Go out there if you wish but don't force me to go. Besides, my dear Anna, you can rest assured that I'm going to resell it at the first opportunity."
"But, dear," said my mother, "you have no idea how much good the country air will do the children…"
"Yes, yes, I know," replied my father, consulting his notebook and taking his hat, "I gave way to your whim but I was wrong."
So my mother left for her campagne, as she put it, intending to make the most of what might prove to be a short stay.
She was accompanied by a younger, still unmarried sister, a maid, by myself, her only son, and by one of my sisters who was a year older than I.
We arrived in the best of spirits at the country house, which the people of that district had nicknamed Le Chateau.
Le Chateau, which was an old dwelling no doubt dating from the 17th century, had once belonged to wealthy farmers.
The interior was spacious but the arrangement of the rooms was so extraordinary that the house was really rather inconvenient to live in, with numerous wasted steps occasioned by the architectural disorder. The rooms were not disposed as in ordinary houses, but were separated by a mass of dark passages, winding corridors, spiral staircases. In short, the place was a veritable labyrinth and it took several days of exploring the house before one had any real notion of the layout of the apartments.