THE FEAST DAY of the chateau's patron saint was at hand. It was the occasion for a major celebration, which was to be preceded by the confession of all members of the household.
Both my aunt and mother had decided to go to confession, and the others intended to follow their example.
I had succeeded in feigning illness, and had kept to my room since the previous evening in order to avoid arousing anyone's suspicions. The Capuchin friar had arrived and had dinner with us. Coffee had been served in the garden, and after Kate had finished clearing the table, I found myself alone. Since time was weighing heavy on my hands, I wandered into the library, where I chanced upon a hidden door that I had never noticed before. It gave on to a dark and narrow concealed staircase which was lighted only by a small circular window at the end of the upstairs corridor.
The staircase led to the chapel, and from behind the locked door, which was rusted from long years of disuse, drifted the voice of the friar. He was telling my mother that he would hear her confession on the following day in the same place.
The confessional was set against a wooden partition, through which every word could be distinctly heard. So it seemed to me that here would be an ideal vantage point from which to eavesdrop.
I was of the opinion that this stairway must have been installed in years past by some jealous lord desirous of listening to his wife's confessions.
The next day, after my morning coffee, the bailiff's wife came in to clean up my room.
I've already mentioned that she was pregnant, and I carefully studied the enormous contour of her belly, and the unusual size of her nipples which bounced to and fro beneath her light blouse.
She was a pleasant looking woman with pretty features. Until the bailiff had put her in the family way she had been one of the chateau's maids.
I had already seen women's breasts in pictures and on statues, but never in the flesh.
The bailiff's wife was in a great hurry. She had buttoned only one of her blouse buttons. When she leaned over to straighten my bed, this solitary button came undone, and I saw her entire bosom, for the V-necked jacket she was wearing was very low-cut.
I sprang to my feet: "Madam, you're going to be cold!"
And pretending to help her rebutton her dress, I untied the ribbon holding it on her shoulders. As I did, the two nipples seemed actually to leap out of their hiding place, and I sensed their bulk and firmness.
The buttons on each breast stood out: they were red and surrounded by a large brownish halo.
Her titties were as firm as a pair of buttocks' cheeks, and as I fondled them I could have sworn they were a pretty girl's behind.
The woman was so taken aback that I had time, before she recovered her wits, to kiss her nipples at leisure.
She smelled of sweat, but in a way that excited me. It was that odor di femina which, as I was later to learn, emanates from a woman's body and, according to the individual, provokes either desire or disgust.
"Oh, ooh! What are you thinking of? ...No....That's not right...! I'm a married woman... Not for anything in the world."