please step inside! I really am most grateful that you would come at this late hour, despite the blizzard that is raging outside. Hand me your wet coat! I will hang it in the hallway to dry, meanwhile take a seat in the parlour. Make yourself comfortable on the chaise longue beside the smouldering fireplace. Can I offer you an hors d‘oeuvre? Please, help yourself! Take care, the Crème brûlée is still hot. Do you have a pen and paper at your disposal? I mean, are you ready? I would like to begin to recount this disaster, that regrettably I must call my life.
It all transpired yesterday during my daily horse ride. It was high noon and with head held high I rode on my noble steed along one of the paths within my grounds. A mild breeze caressed my freshly combed hair. Whereupon, unexpectedly I caught sight of the solitary figure of a man on the wayside who appeared to me, somehow familiar. As I approached, my mind worked frantically to identify this lone figure. Whereupon suddenly the realisation struck me as a lightning bolt. Before me was an old romantic acquaintance of mine, belonging to a chapter of my life long suppressed from my mind, our relationship had soured and he had revealed himself to be a miserable crook. Within this moment, I had a second epiphany, that struck my heart! The very same man who stood before me was entirely in indebted to me! We are not talking of a trifling sum but of a considerable amount. This knowledge, pushed so far back into my memory now crept from the pit of my stomach, catching in my throat. The memories of our doomed union which, driven by boredom and sadness I had carelessly pursued back then opened the wounds of my injured soul. Looking down from my high horse in his frail, shabby face, I burned up from hate. My perceptive horse, sensing my frenzied emotional state, reared violently. I lost balance and fell to the floor. This otherwise devoted stallion turned and galloped away. I was left lying on the hard ground, with elbows scraped and knees smeared in blood.
Though neither the loss of my Lipizanner nor the pain in my limbs could distract from the overwhelming hate that I had for this embezzler. I sat up, resting my hands firmly on my hips and looked deep into his Eyes. Unfortunately, it did not seem like he was carrying anything of material value with him – nothing I could quickly cash in. In all his primitive wretchedness he stood before me and smiled at me expectantly, betraying a secret joy in seeing me. My rage burned and only my good upbringing prevented me from striking him down. Choking down my anger, I handed him my hand as a friendly Gesture to officially welcome, making it clear that it was indeed my own land that he should find himself on, and these winding forrest paths on which we had met, lead directly to my newly acquired mansion. He seemed genuinely impressed with my economic situation and congratulated me on my status. I was flattered, and on impulse, longing for more, I invited him to dine with me in my residence.
Inspector, I hope you have kept note. Now I will report on the truly tragic part of this meeting. Before I continue, I‘ll take a swig of water, because what I‘m about to tell you, lies heavily on my soul. You will hardly believe the misery I am currently in.
Now we sat together at the dinner table. I assumed that he was not used to dining in such an elaborate manner, which is commonplace in my house, his appearance spoke of rather poor living conditions. After we had partaken of the first course, he revealed to me that it was not by pure chance, but an anonymous note by a common acquaintance that had driven him to my grounds. I was shocked. Simultaneous to this revelation, it occurred to me that this lowlife that sat before me not only bored me, but had also spied on me. Apparently I had repressed this event so successfully that this creature had again succeeded to gain admission to my house. I felt close to retching into my plate of Bouillon and egg. He informed me feverishly that, since he learned of my new estate, he had felt the deep desire to visit. He began to tell me in detail of his life over these past years. I cursed the day I admitted him to my dining room, each of his words bringing forth a deep agonising disinterest in me, that stabbed me slowly from behind, through the back into my tender breast.
I felt an enormous relief when finally the second course was served and the exquisite food held him from speech. Why was my cook preparing an expensive roast on this, of all days? For this guest a few salted potatoes and a piece of bread would have been preferable. There he sat, happily, and stuffed the artfully shot pheasant in his repulsive jaws. This sight was deeply repugnant. I could feel a few tears flowing down my hot cheek. Smiling affectionately and leaning forward, he wiped these few tears with his dirty fingers from my glowing cheek. I suppose, he interpreted my behaviour as an expression of joy brought on by our unexpected reunion and his good company. As the main course was cleared off the table, I hoped fervently that for dessert only a bowl of Apples from the garden would be served. Disappointed my gaze fell to the ground when my fat cook came trotting in with a freshly baked apple pie.
The situation seemed hopeless and, despondent, I did not object, as my guest, unabashed as he was, opened a bottle of digestive to formally toast our reunion. Resigned I slid deeper into the chair. How could I have been so careless? Why did I not learn from my mistakes? Why did I constantly invite such lowlife in my house? My otherwise strong pulsating vitality faded. I felt nothing but powerlessness. I would have rather been alone, than in such poor company. In addition, he had the audacity to bring up all the old memories and dialogues, which I had repressed with difficulty over the years, revelling in them and moreover quoting with perfidious intention. I stared at the lovely Floral bouquet which subtly adorned the massive oak table, and tried to visualise a harmonious scene in my mind. I focused on a small fruit tart which I had seen the day before in a small shop window. But not even the memory of the lavishly decorated display of the little patisserie was able to calm my mind.
I offered politely, to accompany him to the door, so that he could continue his journey, soon dusk would set in and it is not advisable to march in darkness. As soon as I had finished the sentence, I wanted to slap myself. How could I mention this impediment to his further travel so carelessly, throwing it out there without thinking of the possible consequences. He immediately used the argument for his gain. Now he appealed maliciously on my hospitality and my good Manners. He asked to be allowed to stay in my house until tomorrow morning since, as I had wisely noted, twilight would soon befall these lands. He assured me that tomorrow after breakfast he would be on his way. After all, he was a busy man, who must pursue a myriad of activities. I doubted both statements, but asked no more and agreed reluctantly. I led him to a beautiful guest room and insisted that, suffering from a severe migraine, I must retire.
Exhausted, I dragged myself up the spiral staircase up into my tower and locked the door several times behind me. Howling I pressed my tender face in one of the red velvet cushions. I didn‘t know what to do. I could not cope with the idea, that this fiend was spread in my bedsheets like a fat bedbug. I knew if this man who had made himself comfortable in my beautiful house should have the audacity to treat himself to a small midnight snack in my well-stocked pantry, then by tomorrow, with absolute certainty, I would be a broken woman. I knew it was about life and death. I had to act. I ordered all the staff, with particular emphasis to my personal doctor, to take the night off, because I would have to spend some undisturbed time together with my unexpected guest. I went to the closet and chose a dress that revealed my décolleté particularly well and laced around my delicate wrists the gold jewellery which I had inherited from my former mother in-law. I perfumed extensively with a floral note and unwound my tight braid, causing my wavy hair to tumble over my shoulder and frame my sweet rosy face. I descended the stairs and waited in the living room. I sat down on the sofa and crossed my smooth shaven legs. I took the knitting instruments in my hand and waited. I did not have to wait long, before the bug came crawling and sat down opposite me on the Chesterfield. I saw his lascivious gaze wandering up my bare leg. I engaged him in a conversation within which I remarked on the wine that was stored in the cellar. Mentioning, as though in passing, a precious bottle stored in the furthest depths of the cellar, which I could only share with a very special person because it had cost a fortune. He offered to bring the bottle. I offered to accompany him because the basement is currently in disarray and a stranger could easily get lost. Together we descended the spiral staircase. I held a small oil lamp in my hand, which pointed us the way. I noticed how he stood behind me, sometimes grazing my fragile hips. I led him to the small wine chamber located at the rear end of the vault. I asked him to go ahead. I would light the path from behind. He opened the heavy iron door and bent down to heave the bottle from the wooden crate which stood on the stone floor. With a solid kick, I shut the door behind him, turned the key in the lock several times, placed the key in my coat pocket and ran as fast as I could back to my bedchamber.
Relieved, I sank into my bed. Hot tears of joy ran down my cheeks. It was as if a heavy weight had fallen from my heart, which for years had blocked my way. Triumphantly I held the big key in my Hand, who had banished the enemy off my sleeping quarters. When the first Moments of euphoria were savoured, I began to calculate. I tried to determine from a self-manufactured formula, which death would arrive first. Would he starve, freeze or die of thirst, was the question. The last option sent a sudden cold shudder down the spines. He still had the opportunity to solemnly drink the most precious of all wines and then completely drunk, fall asleep and freeze to death. This is neither painful nor poor. This ending would even have a sublime touch. Why did I not think of this? I could have replaced the full bottles for empty ones. He would not have been fast enough to recognise the difference in the dim light to thwart my plans. I tried to convince myself that everything was not so bad and I could give him a stylish death. But I could not convince myself with the best of intentions. The thoughts that I could let my enemy glide into the afterlife with my most precious bottle of wine seemed unbearable. This was below my dignity. I was born with noble dignity and as such I wanted to continue to progress through my life. He probably had already opened the bottle, and my tears of joy turned into pearls of Anger. Presumably he was even glad that he did not have to share this preciousness.
Inspector, try to imagine this inner conflict! Now you understand, why I called you today and asked for your help. I am a single woman who no one helps but for when I explicitly ask. I could hardly close an eye all night. I need a strong man by my side, who takes up my cause and settles this matter for me. I thought you were the right person. You are carrying out an intelligent profession and have enjoyed a good education. Please help me. I feel powerless and at the mercy of the fates. My strength is waning. Please go into the basement and bring me the good bottle, undamaged, without the prisoner escaping. Overwhelm him with Your virility.
You know, it‘s not his rightful property. Each Jury in the world would be on my side. It is brash, to hide in the wine chamber of a single women and to assault her precious wine. If you manage to free this bottle, I‘ll share it with you. You will be my guest. I‘ll get the good crystal ware out of the cabinet and we will touch glasses: On a successful cooperation! I will serve you small delicacies from the pantry on a silver platter. We will dance! I‘ll play you rarities from my record collection, while you guide me gently over the freshly waxed floor. We will celebrate while he rots in the basement below. We will pay no consideration to the volume as an exception because the staff has left. The nearest neighbours live a few miles away. I think the offer that I submit to you is quite fair. I hope you are smart enough to accept it. I will not ask this politely again. Don‘t be foolish! Make the right decision! You are a clever man. You only need to eliminate the one who has deceived me. This is a trivial offence. The purest Mitigation. What do you think happens if he continues, on the loose, and damages other women, we will soon live in a society full of broken women. Each would have a completely troubled relationship with her property. She would think it is normal to share ones property with a fleeting acquaintance. Just as I had once thought. Naive as I was, I shared my gold and opened the gates to my warm home.
I know what you are now thinking. It was my own fault. If one offers a lice infested stray dog a place on the white silk sheets, you have to be aware of the consequences. But that was not what happened! Just listen! I was simply duped. Before I knew it, the borders between him and myself were so blurred that I no longer knew which of us was the lice infested stray dog and who owned the silky sheets. This is a very sneaky species with which we are dealing here. Only after a long period of thought did I realise that everything of material value was mine. See, you‘re in my salon, eating my crème brulée and are dealing with my worries. Please understand, everything here I created myself. Every detail sprung from my hand. Each decor was subject of my tested aesthetic eye. I have worked hard. And now this rat sits in my basement and drinks my noble wine. I never wanted to see him again! But as soon as he heard that I created my own empire, he naturally wanted to have a piece of my cake. But I‘ll tell you this cake is my cake and I‘m not going to share. This revolves around legal titles and full ownership. I hope you understood my message clearly. It is no coincidence that I chose you to solve this problem. It is not imaginable what would happen if this species would rest among us and breed. Do you really want to be responsible that the daughters of our country grow up in these conditions? That would be disastrous! For everyone involved. Think of all the adolescent females, whose dignity was robbed in childhood! You must ensure that the girls are taught the correct values from the beginning.
Understand at last! You now have the opportunity to set an example to preserve our offspring from all this evil. Without this symbolic act there will soon be a state of emergency rule, which sooner or later inevitably leads to war. Depressed, exploited, crushed, cadaverous female creatures will wander, unable to give birth, in an absolutely suicidal state. Our nation could break down, and virtually wipe itself out. You have to eliminate the criminal and put an end to his activities. I‘m giving you the possibility to be the hero of this story. You just have to take this key in your hand, descend into the basement and wrest the good bottle of wine off the sinners hand, so that he suffers as he deserves. Fate has willed it so, not even we can change anything.
I can stand it no more! This sated creature in my own basement! I invested a lot of time and energy to create this beautiful ambience. I can only repeat myself. I don‘t want to be repeatedly disturbed in my privacy. These constant unannounced visits rob me of any joy. I feel surrounded and besieged. I would like to witness my beautiful bouquets alone. I do not want to share my arrangements with a visitors critical eye who further voices their inappropriate, primitive comments about my interior decoration. I can take it no more! Constantly oneself is subdued by fellow men into a cliché, to create some weird type. I have no interest in that. I am no longer interested in receiving guests. They ridicule me and leave dents in my beautiful sofa. And then they want to evaluate my life, while conceitedly bathing in their eloquence. I want solely the delicate atmosphere which emanates throughout my house, not critics who camouflage as a friend and then turn into an enemy by whom I am thereupon poisoned. It costs me an enormous amount of strength and energy to keep this in order. I do not want that anymore. I want to be left alone. I no longer want to justify myself for each detail of my taste. It is of an unsurpassable impertinence what so many guests have done. I am not a hotel where you leave a note while departing, grading and classifying as it was practised in school. I am deeply shocked by the misbehaviour with which I have been confronted in recent years. I do not know how to free myself, I cant find a way out. Unfortunately, I have to admit that the only measure which makes sense to me is to completely sacrifice my privacy. I feel impaired. I feel like the elaborately painted Chinese vase which, standing unprotected at the side table is carelessly knocked over by the black cat just before it cold-bloodedly breaks the neck of a small mouse that sits below on the floor delightfully gnawing at a small piece of cheese it had stolen.
I wish someone would come to protect me. Someone who safeguards me from the whole rabble. I would like an iron gate, that only opens its doors for me, guarded in front by a wild animal. Only I may pass. Then I would plant the most beautiful roses and paint my house in the brightest colours. Exotic fruits would flourish in the wild. No one else could see it. Nobody would tell me that he would have done it differently. I would not have to justify myself for any decision. Everything would correspond to my taste. I would not share my bed sheet with anyone. That would be heavenly.
a little later, I am laying in my tower, alone in the four-poster bed. Due to his hesitant nature and mute company, I was impelled to lock the inspector too in the wine vault. He was a dull man from the outset. The two prisoners are probably having a wonderful time whilst toasting and drinking my wine. Well, what can you do. It is always the same. Ah, let them get drunk at my expense and amuse themselves in my basement. Presumably they are even glad that I am not in their company. It is tragic. In my own home the best party is being celebrated without me. The two are certainly telling exciting stories of distant lands, while I bleakly stare up into the void. I yearn for some good company or at least amusement. I want to travel distant lands. This house hangs like a millstone around my leg. I should flee. I should free myself. I should fill my suitcase with only a few light summer dresses and leave the country. These walls are not made for me. I should lead a carefree life and not be the mistress of such large boulders. How much have I invested in this property? In reality, this house is a massive funeral pyre, a limbo. I should flee and leave this insanity behind me. I must go. I am here laying waste and gathering dust. I would cry if I wasn‘t feeling like a dried up river bed. I want to be alone. I cant stand other people. I should leave everything behind. I should rid myself of my possession and emotional ties.
A new beginning is waiting at the door. This country estate is the purest strain. A woman like me should not constantly struggle like this. Someone else‘s delicate fingers can be pierced at the neck of the roses. I have no strength to constantly reprimand the lousy stable-boys because they perform their work badly. I no longer want to take care of the two intruders in the basement. I cannot ask myself all day if they have opened a good bottle of wine or not and ultimately worry that they might starve. I am neither their mother nor nanny and certainly not their waitress. I‘m not interested. I no longer want a basement with good bottles of wine. It involves too many complications. I wish someone would come and make a lucrative offer and liberate me from all this junk. I can no longer enjoy this sight. I despise the present, I need a new outlook. My lucid figure will go under. I have to take to my heels. I‘m lacking in perspective. I want to move forward, or at least arrive somewhere else. But I do not know how am I going to do it alone. Nor do I know who to ask for advice. The only ones far and wide that could help me, are sitting at the back of the basement and cannot hear my cries.