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Old castles harbor many curious things, sometimes hidden away in the priceless antique furniture. And often, one is almost forced to ask himself how many secrets have slumbered quietly throughout the centuries, before they were discovered by sheer coincidence...
Till one day while browsing through an attic, or opening an old chest of drawers, one stumbles upon some yellowed documents, a bundle of letters, or a carefully written diary, left there, Lord knows how long ago, by some respectable ancestor.
This is what happened to me when I visited the old family castle. I don't know why I decided to make the trip, nor can I precisely remember what made me rummage through the old chest of drawers. But I found an old, yellowed diary, carefully bound in moroccan leather, bordered with red silk, written by the gallant, beautiful Marquise whose portrait I have always admired since I was a little child. She seemed so far away, this long-dead ancestor of mine; her slight, knowing smile, hiding secrets of which she knew the answers while I could not yet formulate the questions.
Was my finding your diary perhaps the reward for my secret devotion to you, oh Jacqueline, or was it a mere coincidence? I want to prefer the first, and believe that the hand of fate made me discover your innermost secrets.
You have always been my favorite, hanging in the heavy gold frame between my other ancestors, the whole gallery of which I would happily trade if I could only have a word with you.
They are all there... your father and his, his great-uncle, the Archbishop who looks so stern in his purple mantle, but who, I know from history was a devoted pupil of Pavilion and almost shared prison with the Jansenist Abbot of Saint-Cyran.
And now, through a miracle, you have suddenly come to life for me. Complete with all your charm your daring exploits and your almost incredible passions. They are all there, jumping at me from the yellowing pages of this little red book.
I hope, by publishing your memoirs, that I may be able to immortalize you with all the other great lovers of your time. Oh, darling Jacqueline, shameless and charming, barely blushing while dropping your beautiful clothing and rustling silken finery. A girl of a century past and gone, but immortalized by gallantry and freedom of customs!