November 25 and 28, 1901
MISS [MOBERLY'S] [FIRST] ACCOUNT OF THE VISIT TO THE PETIT TRIANON
On Saturday, Aug. l0th, 1901, Miss [Jourdain] and I went to Versailles from Paris. It was nearly four o'clock in the afternoon when we left the Palace to find the Petit Trianon,
By going straight down the central avenue at the back of the Palace, we probably went the longest way. When we turned off to the right hand, we walked through a wide woodland glade, very pretty, and very much deserted. The weather had been very hot for some time and we congratulated ourselves on having a grey day for our expedition ; it was still very warm, but the sky was a little overcast and the sun uncertain and mostly shaded. There was a lively air blowing, full of summer scents, and the woods were looking their best. The walk was most enjoyable, and we were both feeling particularly vigorous. When we started our minds were full of the German occupation, but we soon began talking about our mutual acquaintances in England, and paid but little attention to our surroundings.
We reached a broad drive which crossed our glade, and saw in front of us, a little to the left, a building which we believed to be
the Grand Trianon. We did not go to it, but looked about for the Petit Trianon. Instead of asking the way, as I expected her to do, from a woman who was shaking a cloth into the drive from the doorway of a building on the right hand. Miss [Jourdain] crossed the drive and
went down a country lane in front of us. This was done so decidedly that I thought she knew the way.
We followed the lane some way, but fancying we were going too far,
we made a sharp turn to the right past some deserted buildings which we thought at first might be the house we were looking for. We looked in at some doors, but did not do more, as no one seemed to be there.
Then we walked on again by a slightly ascending path with rough ground on one side.
Seeing two men further on, we went up to them and asked the way. They appeared to be gardeners (as one had a spade), dressed in greyish-
They directed us straight on.
We walked on briskly, talking as before, but from the moment we left the lane an extraordinary depression had come over me, which, in spite of every effort to shake off, steadily deepened. There seemed to be absolutely no cause for it, and I was anxious that my companion should not discover the sudden gloom that became quite overpowering
On reaching the point where the path we were following joined another path crossing it from left to right.
In front of us was a slope leading down to a stream, which on our right hand fell over stones and was crossed by a rustic bridge. To our left beyond the slope
stood the erection which later we found to be the Temple de l'Amour (we thought this because the Temple de L'Amour was mentioned in the guide-
I said, "I wonder which is our way," and thought instantly after, "Nothing will induce me to go to the left." Everything looked unnatural, and therefore unpleasant ; even the woods behind the Temple seemed to have become flat and lifeless, like a wood worked on tapestry.
There was a man sitting on the balustrade of the Temple, who turned his head and looked at us. That was the culmination of my vague distress; it gave way to a moment of genuine alarm. His face was most repulsive, and he seemed to scowl.
It was with real relief that we heard at that moment some one running up to us in breathless haste, and connecting the sound with the gardeners, I turned and ascertained that there was no one coming behind us, but suddenly perceived a man close to us,
apparently coming over the rock (or whatever it was) that filled the corner at the divergence of the path to the left.
He was a tall, handsome man, with dark eyes and crisp, curling black hair under a large sombrero hat. His face was very red, — and I thought to myself "How sunburnt you are," adding immediately the thought, "It is not the colour of sunburning." He smiled and looked secretly amused.
He had a black cloak wrapped across him like a scarf, one end flying out in his prodigious hurry.
Though I could not follow the words he said, there was no doubt about his intense eagerness that we should not go to the left, but should go to the right. As this fell in with my wish, I went instantly towards the bridge, turning my head to join in with
Miss [Jourdain's] expression of gratitude. By doing so, I was able to see that he was on neither path nor on the slope, but I did not think about it at the time.
Very soon after crossing the little bridge,
we came in sight of the back and side of the house, — a square, well-
a lady was sitting on a seat on the lawn, apparently sketching or reading. I thought, "After all, we were not so much alone as [we] had fancied." She seemed busy, and was leaning forward; but
when we passed on her left hand, she turned her head and looked at us. It was not a young face, and though rather pretty, it was not attractive. She had a shady white straw hat somewhat perched on a good deal of fair hair.
Her light summer dress was arranged in handkerchief fashion on her shoulders, and there was a little line of either green or gold near the edge of the handkerchief. Her dress seemed to be short in front, but as she was sitting carelessly I cannot be sure of this. For the same reason, I perceived no distinction about her figure. She had a sheet of paper in her hand, and I had an impression that there was nothing on it.
There was something unattractive about her expression, and after looking
full at her, I suddenly turned away.
We went on to the terrace, and as we stood there
I saw her again from behind and noticed that her muslin fichu behind was pale green. I believed her to be a tourist, and wondered that anyone could sit in such a dreary place that still seemed to be full of unnatural darkness, and was relieved that Miss [Jourdain] did not suggest enquiring the way from her.
A young man came out of a garden doorway and told us that we could only enter the house from the front courtyard, and directed us down another path parallel with the one on which we had met the gardeners.
He looked amused as he walked with us.
Finding that we had to get back to the Avenue, I wondered why the gardeners had made us come such an unnecessarily long way round. We soon came to the opening leading into the drive that went past the front entrance.
We went over the house in company with a large merry French wedding party, and the interest of the rooms made me put aside the thought of the garden experiences.
We drove back to Versailles for tea, both of us rather silent, but not mentioning the Trianon at all. We looked about for the Tennis Court, and then went back to Paris by train.
For several days we never mentioned these things, nor did I think of them until I was writing home a descriptive letter of all our expeditions, amongst others that to the Petit Trianon. As the scenes came back one by one, the same extraordinary sensation of being closed in and of deathly stillness came back so strongly that
I stopped writing and said to Miss [Jourdain]: "Do you think the Petit Trianon is haunted?" Her answer was prompt: "Yes, I do". I begged her to say how and where, and on hearing almost an exact replica of my experience we discussed it together, and then I realised
for the first time the theatrical appearance of the man who came behind us — the inappropriateness of the wrapped cloak on a hot August afternoon, the unaccountableness of his coming and going, and the excited running.
That was all then; but in the following November Miss [Jourdain] and I met again, and, recalling the incidents, I mentioned the lady as a person we might have referred to for direction, and learned to my amazement that my companion had
seen no lady. This was quite unaccountable,
for we were walking side by side, she was visible some way off, we passed her close by, and I had seen her again from the terrace. Only my belief that she was an ordinary person had caused me not to mention her before.
MISS [MOBERLY'S] [SECOND] ACCOUNT OF HER VISIT TO THE PETIT TRIANON
After some days of sight-
in August, 1901, Miss [Jourdain] and I went to Versailles, We sat down in the Salle des Glaces, and I suggested our going to the Petit Trianon.
Looking in the map we saw the sort of direction, and that there were two Trianons, and set off.
By not asking the way we went an unnecessarily long way round — by the great flights of steps from the fountains and down the central avenue as far as the head of the long pond. The weather had been very hot all the week, but on this day the sky was a little overcast and the sun shaded.
There was a lively wind blowing, the woods were looking their best, and we both felt particularly vigorous. It was a most enjoyable walk.
After reaching the beginning of the long water we struck away to the right down a woodland glade until we came obliquely to the other water close to the building which we rightly concluded to be
the Grand Trianon. We left it on our left hand, and came up to a broad green drive perfectly deserted. If we had followed it we should have come immediately to the Petit Trianon, but not knowing that, we crossed the drive and
went up a lane in front of us. I was surprised that Miss [Jourdain] did not ask the way from a woman who was shaking a white cloth out of the window of a building at the corner of the lane, but followed, supposing that she knew where she was going.
Talking about England and mutual acquaintances there,
we went up the lane, and then
made a sharp turn to the right past some buildings. We looked in at an open doorway and saw the end of a carved staircase, but as no one was about we did not like to go in.
There were three paths in front of us (the path on the right was a curved drive through the cottage enclosure, afterwards found to be deserted and grown over with grass, though the ancient stones marking the drive were visible in the long grass in 1908), and as
we saw two men a little ahead on the centre one, we followed it and asked them the way. Afterwards we spoke of them as gardeners, because we remembered a wheelbarrow of some kind close by, and the look of a pointed spade, but they were really very dignified officials, dressed in long greyish-
They directed us straight on.
We walked briskly forward, talking as before, but from the moment we left the lane an extraordinary depression had come over me, which, in spite of every
effort to shake off, steadily deepened. There seemed to be absolutely no cause for it ; I was not at all tired, and was becoming more interested in my
surroundings. I was anxious that my companion should not discover the sudden gloom upon my spirits, which became quite overpowering
on reaching the point where the path ended, being crossed by another right and left.
In front of us was a wood, within which, and overshadowed by trees,
was a light garden kiosk, circular, and like a small bandstand, by which a man was sitting. There was no green sward, but the ground was covered with rough grass and dead leaves as in a wood. The place was so shut in that we could not see beyond it. Everything suddenly looked unnatural, therefore unpleasant; even the trees behind the building seemed to have become flat and lifeless, like a wood worked on tapestry. There were no effects of light and shade and no wind stirred the trees. It was all intensely still.
I said to Miss [Jourdain] "Which is our way?" but thought "Nothing will induce me to go to the left".
The man sitting close to the kiosk (who had on a cloak and a large shady hat) turned his head and looked at us. That was the culmination of my peculiar sensations, and I felt a moment of genuine alarm. The man's face was most repulsive, its expression odious. His complexion was very dark and rough.
It was a great relief at that moment to hear someone running up to us in breathless haste. Connecting the sound with the garden officials I turned and ascertained there was no one on the paths, either behind or to the side, but at almost the same moment I suddenly perceived another man quite close to us, behind and rather to the left hand, who had
apparently just come either over or through the rock (or whatever it was) that shut out the view at the junction of the paths (this rock was made up of parts and was isolated in point of position). The suddenness of his appearance was something of a shock.
The second man was distinctly a gentleman; he was tall, with large dark eyes, and had crisp, curling black hair under the same large sombrero hat. He was handsome, and the effect of the hair was to make him look like an old picture. His face was glowing red as through great exertion — as though he had come a long way. At first I thought he was sunburnt, but a second look satisfied me that it was heat, not sunburning.
He had on a dark cloak, wrapped across him like a scarf, one end flying out in his prodigious hurry. He looked greatly excited as
he called out to us, "Mesdames, Mesdames", (or "Madame", pronounced more as the other) "il ne faut (pronounced fou(t)) pas passer par la". He then waved his arm, and said with great animation, "par ici . . . cherchez la maison".
I was so surprised at his eagerness that I looked up at him again, to which he responded with a little backward movement and a most peculiar smile. Though I could not follow all he said (the man said a great deal more which we could not catch), it was clear that he was determined that we should go to the right and not to the left. As this fell in with my own wish, I went instantly towards a little bridge on the right, and turning my head to join
Miss [Lament] in thanking him, found, to my surprise, that he was not there, but the running began again, and from the sound it was close beside us.
Silently we passed over the small rustic bridge which crossed a tiny ravine. So close to us when on the bridge that we could have touched it with our right hands, a thread-
Beyond the little bridge our pathway led under trees; it skirted a narrow meadow of long grass, bounded on the further side by trees, and very much overshadowed by trees growing on it. This gave the whole place a sombre look suggestive of dampness, and shut out the view of the house until we were close to it.
The house was a square, solidly built country house; quite different from what I expected. The long windows looking north into the English garden (where we were) were shuttered. There was a terrace round the north and west sides of the house, and on the rough grass which grew quite up to the terrace and with her back to it,
a lady was sitting, holding out a paper as though to look at it at arm's length. I supposed her to be sketching, and to have brought her own camp-
when we passed close by on her left hand, she turned and looked full at us. It was not a young face, and (though rather pretty) it did not attract me. She had on a shady white hat, perched on a good deal of fair hair that fluffed round her forehead. Her light summer dress was arranged on her shoulders in handkerchief fashion, and there was a little line of either green or gold near the edge of the handkerchief, which showed me that it was over, not tucked into,
her bodice, which was cut low. Her dress was long waisted, with a good deal of fullness in the skirt, which seemed to be short. I thought she was a tourist, but that her dress was old-
We went up the steps on to the terrace (my impression being that they led up direct from the English garden), but I was beginning to feel as though we were walking in a dream, the stillness and oppressiveness were so unnatural. Again
I saw the lady, this time from behind, and noticed that her fichu was pale green. It was rather a relief to me that Miss [Jourdain] did not propose to ask her whether we could enter the house from that side.
We crossed the terrace to the south-
a young man stepped out on to the terrace, banging the door behind him. He had the jaunty manner of a footman, but no livery, and called to us, saying that the way into the house was by the courtyard, and offered to show us the way round.
He looked inquisitively amused as he walked by us down the French garden till we came to an entrance into the front drive.
We came out so near the first lane we had been in that I wondered why the garden officials had not directed us back instead of telling us to go forward.
When we were in the front entrance hall we were kept waiting for the arrival of a merry French wedding party. They walked arm-
drove back to the Hotel des Reservoirs in Versailles, where we had tea; (I remember that on account of the wind I put on my coat) but we were neither of us inclined to talk, and did not mention any of the events of the afternoon. After tea we walked back to the station, looking on the way for the Tennis Court.
For a whole week we never alluded to that afternoon, nor did I think about it until I began writing a descriptive letter of our expeditions of the week
before. As the scenes came back one by one, the same sensation of dreary unnatural oppression came over me so strangely that
I stopped writing and said to Miss [Jourdain]: "Do you think that the Petit Trianon is haunted? "Her answer was prompt, "Yes, I do". I asked her where she felt it, and she said, "In the garden where we met the two men, but not only there". She then described her feeling of depression and anxiety which began at the same point as it did with me, and how she tried not to let me know it.
Talking it over we fully realised,
for the first time, the theatrical appearance of the man who spoke to us, the inappropriateness of the wrapped cloak on a warm summer afternoon, the unaccountableness of his coming and going, the excited running which seemed to begin and end close to us, and yet always out of sight, and the extreme earnestness with which he desired us to go one way and not another. I said that the thought had come into my mind that the two men were going to fight a duel,
and that they were waiting until we were gone. Miss [Jourdain] owned to disliking the thought of passing the man of the kiosk.
We did not speak again of the incident during my stay in Paris, though we visited the Conciergerie prisons, and the tombs of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette at Saint Denis, where all was clear and fresh and natural.
Three months later Miss [Jourdain] came to stay with me, and on Sunday, November l0th, 1901, we returned to the subject; and I said, "If we had known that a lady was sitting so near us sketching it would have made all the difference, for we should have asked her the way". She replied that she had
seen no lady. I reminded her of the person sitting under the terrace; but Miss [Jourdain] declared that there was no one there. I exclaimed that it was impossible that she should not have seen the individual;
for we were walking side by side and walked straight up to her, passed her, and looked down upon her from the terrace. It was inconceivable to us both that my companion should not have seen the lady, but the fact was quite certain that Miss [Jourdain] had not done so, though we had both been rather on the lookout for someone who would reassure us as to whether we were trespassing or not.
Finding that we had a new element of mystery, and doubting how far we had seen any of the same things, we resolved to write down independent accounts of our expedition to Trianon, read up its history, and make every enquiry about the place. Miss [Jourdain] returned to her school the same evening, and two days later I received from her a very interesting letter, giving the result of her first
MISS [JOURDAIN'S] [FIRST] ACCOUNT OF THE INCIDENTS
Written before seeing Miss [Moberly's] Account
On Saturday, August l0th, 1901, Miss [Moberly] and I went to Versailles,
After spending some time in the Palace,
we went down by the terraces and struck to the right to find the Petit Trianon, tracing our way by Baedeker's plan. We walked for some distance down a wooded alley, and then came upon the buildings of the
Grand Trianon, before which we did not delay. We went on in the direction of the Petit Trianon, but just before reaching what we knew afterwards to be the main entrance
I saw a gate leading to a path cut deep below the level of the ground above, and as the way was open, and had the look of an entrance that was used, I said: "Shall we try this path? it must lead to the house," and we followed it.
To our right we soon saw some farm buildings looking empty and deserted, implements were lying about: we looked in, but saw no one. The impression was saddening, but it was not until
we reached the crest of the rising ground where there was a garden that I began to feel as if we had lost our way, and as if something were wrong.
There were two men there in official dress (greenish in colour), with something in their hands.
They told us, in answer to my enquiry, to go straight on. I remember repeating my question, because they answered in a casual way ; but we only got the same answer in the same manner. We walked on: the path pointed out to us seemed to lead away from where we imagined the Petit Trianon to be, and there was a feeling of depression and loneliness about the place.
We passed a building like a farmhouse: I saw a woman and girl come out of it, the girl had a mug in her hands.
At last we came upon a path crossing ours, and saw to our left
a building, which we afterwards recognised as the Temple de l'Amour (at the time of writing this I had seen no picture of the Temple, nor been back to the place. I meant that, seeing the name in Baedeker's Guide, we both took for granted that that was the name of our building though from the first moment Miss Moberly had called it the kiosk).
Seated below the balustrade on the steps was a man with a heavy black cloak round his shoulders and a slouch hat. At that moment the eerie feeling which had begun in the garden culminated in a definite impression of something uncanny and fear-
His expression was very evil and yet unseeing, and though I did not feel that he was looking particularly at us I felt a repugnance to going past him. But I did not wish to show the feeling, which I thought was meaningless, and we talked about the best way to turn, and decided to go to the right. As we walked, I found myself wondering whether anyone had ever stumbled over from the path into the water on our left.
Suddenly we heard a man running
he shouted "Mesdames, mesdames", and when I turned he said (in an accent that seemed to me unusual) that our way was to the right not the left.
Though we were surprised to be addressed, we were glad of the direction, and I thanked him. The man ran off with a curious smile on his face. The steps ceased as suddenly as they had begun not far from where we stood.
I remember that the man was young looking, with a florid complexion and rather long dark hair, I do not remember the dress, except for an impression that the material was dark and heavy.
Almost immediately we came upon the garden front of the Petit Trianon, and though
I remember drawing my skirt away as if some one were there (when we came up to the steps of the terrace), and then wondering why I did it, I do not remember seeing anyone until
a boy came out who directed us to go round to the other entrance.
On our way we passed through a garden, part of which was walled in by trees. The feeling of dreariness was very strong there, and continued till
we actually reached the front entrance to the Petit Trianon, and looked round the rooms in the wake of a French wedding party.
Afterwards we drove back to the Palace.
The impression returned to me at intervals during the week that followed, but I did not speak of it till
Miss [Moberly] asked me if I thought the Petit Trianon was haunted, and I said yes. Then, too, the inconsistency of the dress and behaviour of the men with an August afternoon at Versailles struck
Since then I notice that the impression of the time spent in the garden of the Petit Trianon does not recur to me naturally, but can only be recalled by an effort. I now recollect it clearly chiefly because I have fixed the memory of it by speaking of it and by writing down the facts, otherwise I should have lost the detail and only remembered the strange impression produced. But at the time the details were so clear that I never thought of suspecting anything unreal in the occurrences.
November 28th, 1901.
MISS [JOURDAIN'S] [SECOND] ACCOUNT OF THE SAME EXPEDITION IN 1901
After spending some time in the Palace, we went down by the terraces and struck to the right to find the Petit Trianon.
We walked for some distance down a wooded alley, and then came upon the buildings of the
Grand Trianon, before which we did not delay. We went on in the direction of the Petit Trianon, but just before reaching what we knew afterwards to be the main entrance
I saw a gate leading to a path cut deep below the level of the ground above, and as the way was open, and had the look of an entrance that was used, I said: "Shall we try this path? it must lead to the house", and we followed it.
To our right we saw some farm buildings looking empty and deserted; implements (amongst others, a plough) were lying about;
we looked in, but saw no one. The depression was saddening, but it was not until
we reached the crest of the rising ground where was a garden, that I began to feel as if we had lost our way, and as if something were wrong.
There were two men there in official dress (greenish in colour), with something in their hands; it might have been a staff. A wheelbarrow and some other gardening tools were near them.
They told us, in answer to my enquiry, to go straight on. I remember repeating my question, because they answered in a seemingly casual and mechanical way, but only got the same answer in the same manner.
As we were standing there I saw to the right of us a detached solidly-
see the end)
Following the directions of the two men we walked on, but the path pointed out to us seemed to lead away from where we imagined the Petit Trianon to be: and there was a feeling of depression and loneliness about the place. I began to feel as if I were walking in my sleep; the heavy dreaminess was oppressive.
At last we came upon a path crossing ours, and saw in front of us
a building consisting of some columns roofed in, and set back in the trees.
Seated on the steps was a man with a heavy black cloak round his shoulders, and wearing a slouch hat. At that moment the eerie feeling which had begun in the garden culminated in a definite impression of something uncanny and fear-
which was marked by smallpox; his complexion was very dark.
The expression was very evil and yet unseeing, and though I did not
feel that he was looking particularly at us, I felt a repugnance to going past him. But I did not wish to show the feeling, which I thought was meaningless, and we talked about the best way to turn, and decided to go the right.
Suddenly we heard a man running behind us:
he shouted, "Mesdames, mesdames", and when I turned he said in an accent that seemed to me unusual, that our way lay in another direction. "Il ne faut (pronounced fou(t)) pas passer par la". He then made a gesture, adding "par ici . . . cherchez la maison".
Though we were surprised to be addressed, we were glad of the direction, and thanked him. The man ran off with a curious smile on his face; the running ceased as abruptly as it had begun, not far from where we stood. I remember that the man was young looking, with a florid complexion and rather long dark hair. I do not remember the dress except that the material was dark and heavy
(the man wore buckled shoes).
We walked on, crossing a small bridge that went across a green bank, high on our right hand and shelving down below us to a very small overshadowed pool of water glimmering some way off. A tiny stream descended from above us, so small as to seem to lose itself before reaching the little pool. We then followed a narrow path till
almost immediately we came upon the English garden front of the Petit
Trianon. The place was deserted; but as we approached the terrace
I remember drawing my skirt away with a feeling as though someone were near and I had to make room, and then wondering why I did it. While we were on the terrace
a boy came out of the door of a second building which opened on it, and I still have the sound in my ears of his slamming it behind him. He directed us to go round to the other entrance, and seeing us hesitate, with the peculiar smile of suppressed mockery, offered to show us the way.
We passed through the French garden, part of which was walled in by trees. The feeling of dreariness was very strong there, and continued till
we actually reached the front entrance to the Petit Trianon and looked round the rooms in the wake of a French wedding party.
Afterwards we drove back to the Rue des Reservoirs.
The impression returned to me at intervals during the week that followed, but I did not speak of it until
Miss Moberly asked me if I thought the Petit Trianon was haunted, and I said yes. Then, too the inconsistency of the dress and behaviour of the men with an August afternoon at Versailles struck me.
We had only this one conversation about the two men. Nothing else passed between us in Paris.
It was not until three months later, when I was staying at [***?], that Miss [Moberly] casually mentioned the lady, and almost refused to believe that
I had not seen her. How that happened was quite inexplicable to me, for I believed myself to be looking about on all sides, and it was not so much that I could not remember her as that I could have said no one was there. But as she said it I remembered my impression at the moment of there being more people than I could see, though I did not tell her this.
The same evening, November 18th, 1901, I returned to [Oxford?]. Curiously enough, the next morning I had to give one of a set of lessons on the French Revolution for the Higher Certificate, and it struck me for the first time with great interest that the l0th of August had a special significance in French history, and that we had been at Trianon on the anniversary of the day.
That evening when I was preparing to write down my experiences, Mademoiselle, whose home was in Paris, came into my room, and I asked her, just on the chance, if she knew any story about the haunting of the Petit Trianon. (I had not mentioned our story to her before, nor indeed to anyone). She said directly that she remembered hearing from her friends the [***?] at Versailles, that on a certain day in August Marie Antoinette is regularly seen sitting outside the garden front at the Petit Trianon, with a light flapping hat and a pink dress. More than this, that the place, especially the farm, the garden, and the path by the water, are peopled with those who used to be with her there; in fact that all the occupations and amusements reproduce themselves there for a day and a night. I then told her our story, and when I quoted the words that the man spoke to us, and imitated as well as I could his accent, she immediately said that it was the Austrian pronunciation of French. I had privately thought that he spoke old (by old I mean old or unusual forms, perhaps surviving in provincial
French) French. Immediately afterwards I wrote and told this to Miss [Moberly].
Extra information as to locations in SUMMARY OF RESULTS OF RESEARCH
The Ruined Cottage.
The Crouchs' 1914 account in
'An Adventure' 3rd edition 1924
They lived in a flat in the Rue Maurepas, Versailles, for two years 1907-
They asked if we had seen a cottage outside the Trianons, and Miss [Moberly] at once described one between the canal and the avenue which, in 1901, she had walked past but never saw again; she had taken for granted that it had been cleared away. Miss [Moberly] had seen it without a roof, with three bare walls and a raised floor, and she now considered that the whole series of experiences had begun from the time she stepped up on to the floor.
After passing the Logement des Corps de Gardes, a small hand plough was seen by Miss Jourdain lying on the ground not far from some wide open gates in an old wall opposite to us, through which we could see the stems of a grove of trees, and a drive leading through it.
Cottage, Woman, and Girl
In 1908 Miss Jourdain and a friend discovered cottages within the gates which were not far from the place where she had seen the plough. These cottages were not in the right position for our experience in 1901, but the type was the same.
On our entrance into the English garden we found our path crossed by another, beyond which, in front of us but rather to the left hand, stood a small circular building having pillars and a low surrounding wall. It was on rough uneven ground, and was overshadowed by trees.
The Running Man
A man ran up to us and with extreme earnestness directed us to go to the right rather than to the left. We noticed that he stood in front of a rock and seemed to come "either over, round, or through it". He stood with his back against rocks of considerable size piled on one another. There is now no isolated rock standing up as we saw it behind the running man; only mounds covered with shrubs and trees.
Bridge over Little Cascade
Following the man's direction, we turned to the right and walked over a small rustic bridge which crossed a tiny waterfall coming from above us, on our right hand, and flowing in front of a little rocky cliff with ferns growing in the crevices. The water seemed to have formed a steep narrow little ravine, which shelved away below us to a little glimmering pool.
It is easy to suppose that between the years 1901-
Jeu de Bague
As we approached the terrace at the north west corner of the house, we had some barrier on our right hand entirely blocking the view, so that we could see nothing but the meadow on our left hand, and the house with its terrace in front.
At present the pathway which curves towards the house, and is very likely the old one, has a large bare space on the right hand with one beautiful old tree growing on the edge of it; and from some way off one can easily see across it to the chapel beyond the French garden. A long piece of wall extends westward from the terrace, round which one has to go into the French garden in order to find the staircase; whilst the whole length of wall, including part of the north terrace, is hidden by a large old spreading bush, completely covering the place where the lady sat.
Originally, we could not see the steps whilst on the path, but after we had passed the barrier on our right hand we found them at once without going round any wall.
The map of 1783 shows us that the Jeu de Bague (put up in 1776) once stood on what is now bare space. It was a circular building surrounded by a wooden gallery, masked by trees. This would have completely shut out the view, and the path was probably curved on its account. In 1910 we also learned that the bush had been planted when the Duchesse d'Orleans occupied the house.
Nothing unusual marked the lady sitting on a low seat on the grass immediately under the north terrace.
At this moment there was nothing to see on the right, and merely a shady, damp-
The Chapel Man
Whilst we were standing at the south west end of the terrace above the French garden, the door of a building at right angles to the house suddenly opened, and a young man came out and slammed the door behind him. He came to us very quickly along a level. His manner was jaunty and imperious, and he told us that the only way to the house was by the Cour d'Honneur. It was difficult to hear what he said. We thought at once that we were trespassing and looked for some way down from the terrace, upon which he constituted himself our guide, and with an inquisitive, amused expression, went with us a little way down the French garden, and showed us out into the avenue by a broad road.
In 1905 we found that the building out of which the man came was the old chapel, which is in a ruinous condition. The door out of which he had come was one leading into the royal gallery. The gallery now stands isolated high up on the north wall of the chapel. Formerly, from inside, it was reached by a door on a landing at the top of a staircase. This staircase is completely broken down, and the floor of the landing is gone, so that there is now no access to the gallery. The terrace door of the gallery is bolted, barred, and cobwebbed over from age and disuse.
We did not lose sight of the man when he came to us. As it is now he must have gone quite out of sight, down one flight of steps outside the chapel door, and after passing under a high wall have reached the terrace where we were standing by a second set of steps. The present wall of the chapel courtyard is so high as to hide half the door, and a large chestnut tree in the courtyard hides it from the part of the terrace on which we were, even in winter.
He opened the great door of the chapel, easily banging it behind him as he came out; in 1907 the people living in the place believed that it had not been opened since the days of Louis XVI, and the keeper of the key knew that even the door of the landing had not been opened for fifteen years. The large door of the Chapel and the door of the Chapel landing are equally inaccessible. These are the only doors opening on the terrace. We not only saw the door open gradually and shut again, but also saw the light on the wall inside.
How was the wall lowered, which now largely hides the great door from the terrace, and makes it necessary to go down one flight of steps and up another, whereas we saw the man coming along a level, in full view, from the moment of his opening the door until he reached us standing on the terrace outside the window of the antechamber (we heard in 1910 that this was the window out of which Marie Antoinette used to pass when she went into the garden).
The Broad Way
The road from the garden to the avenue (through which the man ushered us) was not far from the chapel, and was broad enough to admit a coach. The present one is narrower and further to the west.