thirteen years old when he, his brothers Jean-Luc, Jean-Paul,
and Jean-Philippe accompanied their father to Prussia. At first
he wasn’t very interested in Prussia.
He was envious when Jean-Philippe was excused from their
father’s negotiations. He found them unbelievably tedious and
boring to sit through. It was even worse when the older boys
questioned him about it and then beat him for his answers. He
was pleased with being sent to find Jean-Philippe and find out
what he was doing. He was determined to make his brother pay for
Instead he discovered that Jean-Philippe was playing with Luise
von Goff. His original horror turned to enjoyment of her
company, so much so that he planned to play with her every
moment he could. At first he excused his behaviour to himself,
but in the end he admitted that Luise was the most interesting
girl he’d ever met.
for Jean-Philippe so that they could play and investigate
Schönwald together. He let his imagination run free there,
inventing a bridge and climbing around the bats. He imagined
himself as an adult living in a place like that with forests and
fields and secret places.
Although he turned against Luise when she showed them her house
and they saw the extent of it, it had entered his mind in a way
nothing else had. It was after they’d left that he realised
what the place had meant to him.
At thirteen the brief, stolen play had imprinted Luise in his
heart, and the stay on the land had filled him with a longing
that never left him.
The play with Luise was innocent and pure, the last innocent and
pure play of his life, so it stayed with him.