A t Riverside Manor, Claremont Mississippi, in spring 1885, Charles Goddard was putting the final touches on the portrait of Lyssette, the daughter of Renee St. Pierre. There was nothing remarkable about the painting, just a young girl seated in a wicker chair in the Gazebo.
He felt a draft, turned and saw a woman standing just inside the study door.
"I am sorry, I did not mean to intrude." Her voice was soft, musical, lilting. "I often read in here late at night."
He stood mesmerized for a moment. As she turned to go, he finally found his voice.
"You are not intruding." He smiled, hoping she would stay. "I was just finishing up, cleaning brushes, that sort of thing. I will be through shortly."
She seemed afraid.
"Oh, please, donít let me stop you."
Opening a book, she sat down by the fire, and was soon absorbed. Looking at the painting he became aware of the resemblance between the child and the woman reading.
Yet something about her disturbed him. Unlike most other faces, hers had a rare haunting, ethereal quality.
He wanted very much to catch that look. Working quietly, he began sketching her.
Sometime later Charles realized she was gone. Renee entered the room; he studied the painting, then paid Charles. "Her mother, Annette, was murdered in this room by a madman." Renee said quietly looking at the chair by the fire.
Charles packed quickly and left.