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French and Oriental Love in a Harem   By: (1824-1893)

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This Edition is Strictly Limited to One Thousand Numbered Copies for Mature Collectors of Literary Curiosa No. 899.

French and Oriental Love in a Harem



with Decorations by Paul Avril





Château de Férouzat , ..., 18...

No indeed, my dear Louis, I am neither dead nor ruined, nor have I turned pirate, trappist, or rural guard, as you might imagine in order to explain my silence these four months since I last appeared at your illustrious studio. No, you witty giber, my fabulous heritage has not taken wings! I am dwelling neither in China on the Blue River, nor in Red Oceania, nor in White Lapland. My yacht, built of teak, still lies in harbour, and is not swaying me over the vasty deep. It is no good your spinning out laborious and far fetched hyperboles on the subject of my uncle's will: your ironical shafts all miss the mark. My uncle's will surpasses the most astonishing feat of its kind ever accomplished by notary's pen; and your poor imagination could not invent, or come anywhere near inventing, such remarkable adventures as those into which this registered document has led me.

First of all, in order that your feeble intellect may be enabled to rise to the level of the subject, I must give you some description of "the Corsair," as you called him after you met him in Paris last winter; for it is only by comprehending the peculiarities of his life and character that you can ever hope to understand my adventures.

Unfortunately, at this very point, a considerable difficulty arises, for my uncle still remains and always will remain a sort of legendary personage. Born at Marseilles, he was left an orphan at about the age of fourteen, alone in the world with one little sister still in the cradle, whom he brought up, and who subsequently became my mother: hence his tender regard for me. Nevertheless, and notwithstanding the fact that we two constituted the whole family, I only saw him during the intervals on shore of his sea faring life. Endowed with truly remarkable qualities and with an energy that recognized no obstacles, he was the best fellow in the world, as you must have observed for yourself; but certainly he was also, from what I know of him, a most original character. I don't believe that in the course of his eventful career, he ever did a single act like other men, unless, may be, in the getting of children yet even these were only his "god children." He has left fourteen in the Department of Le Gard, scattered over the different estates on which he lived by turns after he had quitted the East; and we may well believe he would not have stopped short at that number, but that four months ago, as he was returning from the South Pole, he happened to die of a sunstroke, at the age of sixty three. This last touch completes the picture of his life. As to his history, all that is known of it is confined to the following facts:

At the age of twenty two my uncle turned Turk, from political conviction. This happened under the Bourbons. The character of his services in Turkey during the contests between Mehemet Ali and the Sultan was never very clear, and I fancy he was rather muddled about them himself, for he served both these princes by turns with equal courage and equal devotion. As it happened, he was on the side of Ibrahim at the time that the latter defeated the Turks at the battle of Konieh; but being carried away in that desperate charge which he himself led, and which decided the victory, my unfortunate uncle suffered the disgrace of falling wounded into the hands of the vanquished party. Being a prisoner to Kurchid Pasha, and his wound having soon healed, he was expecting to be impaled, when, to his great joy, his punishment was commuted to that of the galleys. There he remained three years without succeeding in effecting his escape, when one fine day he found his services in request just at the right time by the Sultan, who appointed him Pasha, giving him a command in the Syrian wars... Continue reading book >>

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