During an interim in Gerry's education, Mother engages the Belgian consul to teach Gerry French. The Belgian consul is always dressed as though he's preparing for an important meeting with someone, and his living room where he conducts Gerry's lessons is decorated in red brocade and photos of himself in Napoleonic poses. He's a great cat lover and keeps three cats of his own. He also takes it upon himself to attempt to control the stray cat population in Corfu, which is overwhelmingly sickly and undernourished. He and Gerry observe moments of silence after the consul shoots stray cats out the window, an event that happens multiple times each day.