The Mystery of the Yellow Room HTML version

Chapter 4
In the Bosom of Wild Nature
The Chateau du Glandier is one of the oldest chateaux in the Ile de France, where so
many building remains of the feudal period are still standing. Built originally in the heart
of the forest, in the reign of Philip le Bel, it now could be seen a few hundred yards from
the road leading from the village of Sainte-Genevieve to Monthery. A mass of
inharmonious structures, it is dominated by a donjon. When the visitor has mounted the
crumbling steps of this ancient donjon, he reaches a little plateau where, in the
seventeenth century, Georges Philibert de Sequigny, Lord of the Glandier, Maisons-
Neuves and other places, built the existing town in an abominably rococo style of
It was in this place, seemingly belonging entirely to the past, that Professor Stangerson
and his daughter installed themselves to lay the foundations for the science of the future.
Its solitude, in the depths of woods, was what, more than all, had pleased them. They
would have none to witness their labours and intrude on their hopes, but the aged stones
and grand old oaks. The Glandier --ancient Glandierum--was so called from the quantity
of glands (acorns) which, in all times, had been gathered in that neighbourhood. This
land, of present mournful interest, had fallen back, owing to the negligence or
abandonment of its owners, into the wild character of primitive nature. The buildings
alone, which were hidden there, had preserved traces of their strange metamorphoses.
Every age had left on them its imprint; a bit of architecture with which was bound up the
remembrance of some terrible event, some bloody adventure. Such was the chateau in
which science had taken refuge--a place seemingly designed to be the theatre of
mysteries, terror, and death.
Having explained so far, I cannot refrain from making one further reflection. If I have
lingered a little over this description of the Glandier, it is not because I have reached the
right moment for creating the necessary atmosphere for the unfolding of the tragedy
before the eyes of the reader. Indeed, in all this matter, my first care will be to be as
simple as is possible. I have no ambition to be an author. An author is always something
of a romancer, and God knows, the mystery of The Yellow Room is quite full enough of
real tragic horror to require no aid from literary effects. I am, and only desire to be, a
faithful "reporter." My duty is to report the event; and I place the event in its frame --that
is all. It is only natural that you should know where the things happened.
I return to Monsieur Stangerson. When he bought the estate, fifteen years before the
tragedy with which we are engaged occurred, the Chateau du Glandier had for a long
time been unoccupied. Another old chateau in the neighbourhood, built in the fourteenth
century by Jean de Belmont, was also abandoned, so that that part of the country was
very little inhabited. Some small houses on the side of the road leading to Corbeil, an inn,
called the "Auberge du Donjon," which offered passing hospitality to waggoners; these