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Le Morvan, [A District of France,] Its Wild Sports, Vineyards and Forests; with Legends, Antiquities, Rural and Local Sketches   By:

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Transcriber's Note

The punctuation and spelling from the original text have been faithfully preserved. Only obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

[Illustration]

LE MORVAN,

[A DISTRICT OF FRANCE,]

ITS

WILD SPORTS, VINEYARDS AND FORESTS;

WITH

Legends, Antiquities, Rural and Local Sketches.

BY

HENRI DE CRIGNELLE,

ANCIEN OFFICIER DE DRAGONS.

TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT IN FRENCH,

BY

CAPTAIN JESSE,

AUTHOR OF "NOTES OF A HALFPAY;" "LIFE OF BRUMMELL;" "MURRAY'S HAND BOOK FOR RUSSIA," ETC., ETC.

SAUNDERS AND OTLEY, CONDUIT STREET.

1851.

LONDON: PRINTED BY WILLIAM TYLER, BOLT COURT.

PREFACE.

Born in one of the most beautiful provinces of France, in a country of noble forests and extensive vineyards; brought up in the open air amidst the blue hills, and ever wandering over the fields and mountains with a gun on my arm all the hours of my youth, if I may so say, were spent in search of partridges and hares in the dewy stubbles, and in the pursuit of the wild cat and the boar in the shady depths of the woods.

When relating the adventures of these different shooting rambles to a friend, talking over with him our mode of sporting so different from that of England, and when in imagination I carried him along with me into the dells and dark ravines, and described to him the chase and death struggle of the ferocious wolf, or the odd characters and antediluvian customs of the primitive people amongst whom I passed the days of my happy boyhood, astonished, he could hardly believe that such sports and such singular personages existed within so short a distance of his own country.

"Why not scribble all this?" he would say, "your sketches would make capital light reading."

"But to write is not easy; and, besides, what a poor figure I and my dogs and wolves, woodcocks and vineyards, would cut after the terrible Mr. Gordon Cumming. How could any description of mine interest the public in comparison with those of that famous shot and his three coffee coloured Hottentots, with his bands of panthers and giraffes, his troops of yellow lions dancing sarabands round the fountains, and his jungles and swamps swarming with elephants and hippopotami?"

"But we might be able to go to Le Morvan," said my friend, "whereas few indeed, if they wished it, can go to the South of Africa to shoot elephants through the small ribs; neither is it probable that many of us would like to pass several years of their valuable lives shut up in a loose, rolling, sea bathing machine like wagon, with their own beloved shadow alone for all Christian company. Let us have a narrative of your exploits?"

"You do not consider what you ask," I replied; "my gossip may have amused you, but the effusions of my pen would to a certainty make you yawn like graves."

"Nonsense," whispered the flatterer, "you will open to us a new country, you will confer a real service upon hundreds of restless Englishmen, who when summer comes know not for the life of them where to go, or where not to go; write your work, and advise them to turn their steps to Le Morvan at the time of the vintage."

But now another, a huge difficulty, sprung up. Printers do not lend their types for nothing any more than they give gratis their time and paper. To publish a book is always an expensive affair; misfortune, which had touched me with its wing, which has been the sad guest of my house, deprived me of the power of undertaking it myself: and where to find a person so generous as to take upon himself the responsibility of the undertaking? Happily I was in England, in the land of kind hearts and warm sympathies. A noble lady, the mother of a distinguished English nobleman, who passes her life in doing good, took an interest in my forlorn history, and was pleased to honour me with her patronage. With this mantle of protection thrown around me, and my generous friend having undertaken to bear the responsibilities of publishing, the difficulties were soon swept away, and Le Morvan was written... Continue reading book >>




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