Lysette was a five year old little princess when she had her first vision. A Princess in the sense of being the only daughter and youngest child of a French count whose wife had died when giving birth to this girl. She was loved and spoiled by everyone in the big house that in those days was the whole world to her.
She had two half-brothers, who were awfully old already - over thirty years old. She didn't know them very well, as they hardly ever came visiting and no-one ever talked about them - never talked about them loudly. And then she had a brother, who was fully hers. Jules. She loved him and admired him. He was quite old as well – but not nearly as old as the other two. He was eighteen. Most of the time he was very busy learning how to become a count. Father was very strict with that. Lysette did not like him to sit in his room studying all day, and she did not want him to become a count. She just wanted him to be her brother.
On the day it happened first, Lysette and her dolls were having a tea party in the children's room. She had three very beautiful porcelain dolls, which were almost the same size as she was. Marie, Lysette's nanny thought they were a lovely sight when placed around the little table on those little chairs, each of them with a tiny cup made of fine Asian porcelain. Lysette looked like a beautiful porcelain doll herself, with her curly hair and the pale-blue lace dress. She was pretending to be a grown up lady and it seemed she was playing out a conversation she imagined grown-up ladies to have, when they were having tea with their girl-friends. Though the only ones she could imitate were two old aunts, who came for a visit every now and then. There were no other ladies in this house.
"Oh ma chère, have you heard, what happened to Monsieur Lévan? A bird came and bit off his finger …" The last part of the little girls words came in a tone that made Marie feel quite uncomfortable. Slowly as if the girl was tasting and enjoying each of those words. She put down her needlework and stood up, wanting to scold her for her gruesome words. Though in that moment the small cup fell out of the girl's hand onto the carpet, her arm hanging down beside her limply.
Marie knelt down next to the tea-table. Lysette sat there stiffly, just staring straight into space - the look of her eyes as dull as those of her doll's glass-eyes. Her mouth was slightly open. Marie touched the child's arm. But there was no reaction. Frightened and not knowing what to do, she helplessly caressed the girl's cheek. Was this normal? Marie knew very well, she did not have this occupation because of her knowledge about children. But her father had been a respectable man, and after his death she had been glad to have this new situation in the Saint Rotrou-household.
Would this here be a reason to upset the count? Would it be advisable to call anyone? She had to tell someone. Suddenly the girl gave a big sigh and fell from her chair. Marie caught her and cradled her in her arms.
"Oh, dear one! What is going on with you?" Lysette slowly raised her eyes to her nanny's face. The girl's skin was very pale. She opened her mouth and could hardly manage her voice to come out:
"Jules ..." she just said, sounding weak and raspy. "See him ... please!"
"No, you cannot go to your brother now. You must rest. You have become ill." The nanny had found her composure again, as the child started to speak again. "I'll put you to bed and when you feel better, Monsieur Jules will come to see you, I promise."
At this the girl started to whine and to sob uncontrollably. She didn't stop begging for being allowed to see her brother – almost as if it was a question of life and death. Marie would have loved to just take the girl to her brother's room, so she would calm down. But she had the strict instruction not to disturb him at this time of the day. Everything had its time in this house. But how to explain this to a child.
The girl didn't stop begging and pleading and she started squirming in Marie's arms, so it became more difficult to hold her without hurting her. The helpless nanny was still struggling as with one jolt Lysette suddenly managed to free herself. Marie was quite perplexed by the strength that five-year-old had suddenly developed. A moment ago she had seemed so weak and sickly. Now the moment of surprise gave her a head-start and as the Marie had regained her composure, Lysette was already out of the room. Down the large wooden staircase to the main floor, where Monsieur Jules had his rooms. Marie ran after her, but she couldn't quite keep up. The girl had already torn open the door to the study – and the next thing Marie witnessed was a loud scream. It was only as she turned around the corner and also got a glimpse into the study, that she discovered the reason. The young man lay on the floor in his own blood – his right hand still clutched to his hunting-gun.