CHAPTER I. CASTLE MISERY
Upon the southern slope of one of those barren hills that rise
abruptly here and there in the desolate expanse of the Landes, in
South-western France, stood, in the reign of Louis XIII, a
gentleman's residence, such as abound in Gascony, and which the
country people dignify by the name of chateau.
Two tall towers, with extinguisher tops, mounted guard at the
angles of the mansion, and gave it rather a feudal air. The deep
grooves upon its facade betrayed the former existence of a
draw-bridge, rendered unnecessary now by the filling up of the
moat, while the towers were draped for more than half their
height with a most luxuriant growth of ivy, whose deep, rich
green contrasted happily with the ancient gray walls.
A traveller, seeing from afar the steep pointed roof and lofty