Elle a les cheveux secs et le menton en galoche. Elle a une passion pour les timbres et les clefs, qu'elle enferme soigneusement dans une armoire dont la « clef principale » ne quitte pas son « entre-seins ». Ernestine Lion : elle est la gouvernante des enfants Rezeau. Parmi eux, Madeleine Barbelivien qui initie Jean au plaisir de la chair, et Jean Barbelivien, Petit-Jean , le complice des enfants Rezeau qui leur apporte de la nourriture en cachette.
The year is Ernestine Lion, and came upon a viper asleep under one of the plane trees which line the drive. Attracted by its golden coils, the child picked up the viper. By the greatest of chances he picked it up by the neck and was therefore not bitten by the writhing snake - even when he brought it within inches of his face to examine it. He looked into its eyes and saw a look which he would recognise when he was older as hatred and which he would see in the eyes of Folcoche, his name for his mother, - perhaps in her case playful and perhaps not. Page ….