Missing Maeterlinck?

Despite its lack of modern amenities, the Belgian writer Maurice Maeterlinck once graciously accepted an invitation to visit a French chateau whose remote location would enable him to relax and write in peace.

Having arrived while his hostess was away, Maeterlinck asked the maid to direct him to the washroom. She led him down a corridor, at the end of which stood an immense, apparently solid oak throne -- from behind which she retrieved a large cloak and face mask. "Here you are, monsieur," she said. "You wear these so no one knows who is sitting here."

Maeterlinck politely thanked the woman and was miles from the chateau by the time his hostess had returned.

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