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Chapter 4: A Star is Born

🎵Twinkle, twinkle, little Henri 🎵

And now, we arrive at the moment of real significance. On the 13th May 1844, I was born. (A Taurus if you must know; ‘untamed’ and ‘a wild child’, if you believe the higher forces over at horoscope.com)

I entered the world via St Petersburg, and spent the first years of my life as a Russian. I have often wondered if it was this happy accident that later resulted in my fondness for bearskin capes and extravagant hats… or, indeed, Borscht. I simply cannot muster up the same affection for Raclette.

In 1848 however, our rapidly expanding family–there were seven of us by this time– moved back to Switzerland. There’s no other way to say it, our “crib” was splendid – a fine castle-esque beauty by the name of Charlottenfels, in father’s hometown of Schaffhausen. The Prodigal Son had returned – and this one hadn’t spent all the money. No, indeed, it was one of those heartwarming tales of ‘Boy went away. Boy done good.’ But Papa was not one to rest on his laurels. Far from it. I didn’t even see him put his feet up at the castle even once.

In fact, Papa was about to embark on a new venture that would make a real mark on history–a legacy that would change Schaffhausen forever.

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