"As a child she could quietly sit and watch out of the widow of a riding train, but when the train would slide into the darkness of a tunnel she would be gone when it came out again at the other side. Turn out the light for a second at a birthday party, just to enter with the cake and let her blow out the candles. Gone.
No schooltrips, no walks in the woods or hide and seek."
She pauses and then says dreamily.
"Our family has always been able to arrange things. We had money and were successful in keeping it.
We have also been able to remain beyond suspicion of police and detectives, although more than half of the family members of the last 2 centuries have at a point in their lives suddenly been involved in tragic accidents or simply moved away to desolate regions never to be seen again. It sure needs a clear intellect and lots of creativity to make up a respectful -and possibly happy- destiny for each of them.
Luckily there were the wars. It's easy to lose trace of a soldier on the battlegrounds of Verdun or Normandie, in Indochine or Algeria or in the steel factories of Dresden or Berlin.
You know, when I was young I had a steady hand. I excelled in the forgery of official documents.
My father used to call me l'ambassadrice
, because I could be preoccupied for weeks working out a suitable disappearance act. I turned the attic into any location possible, took pictures, collected evidence, document, personal posessions, anything. I staged a battle in the desert once, and got in a live tiger to film the unfortunate end of my aunt Eulalie. Nobody noticed that aunt Eulalie was actually half of a pig with a necklace and one of my mother's wigs."