We would return by the Boulevard de la Gare, which contained the most attractive villas in the town. In each oftheir gardens the moonlight, copying the art of Hubert Robert, hadscattered its broken staircases of white marble, its fountains of waterand gates temptingly ajar. Its beams had swept away the telegraph office.All that was left of it was a column, half shattered, but preserving thebeauty of a ruin which endures for all time. [...]
Suddenly my father would bring us to a standstill and ask my mother--"Where are we?" Utterly worn out by the walk but still proud of her husband, she would lovingly confess that she had not the least idea. He would shrug his shoulders and laugh. And then, as though it had slipped, with his latchkey, from his waistcoat pocket, he would point out to us, when it stood before our eyes, the back-gate of our own garden, which had come hand-in-hand with the familiar corner of the Rue du Saint-Esprit, to await us, to greet us at the end of our wanderings over paths unknown.
And the echo, in vol. 6:
If our memories do indeed belong to us, they do so after the fashion of those country properties which have little hidden gates of which we ourselves are often unaware, and which someone in the neighborhood opens for us, so that from one direction at least which is new to us, we find ourselves back in our own house.