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Travels and Adventures of Monsieur Violet   By: (1792-1848)

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Monsieur Violet, by Captain Marryat.

Captain Frederick Marryat was born July 10 1792, and died August 8 1848. He retired from the British navy in 1828 in order to devote himself to writing. In the following 20 years he wrote 26 books, many of which are among the very best of English literature, and some of which are still in print.

Marryat had an extraordinary gift for the invention of episodes in his stories. He says somewhere that when he sat down for the day's work, he never knew what he was going to write. He certainly was a literary genius.

"Monsieur Violet" was published in 1843, the twentieth book to flow from Marryat's pen. It was written after Marryat's visit to America, the Diary of which had been published in 1839. Much of the material for this book must have been gathered during that visit. The setting is North America.

This e text was transcribed in 1998 by Nick Hodson, and was reformatted several times during recent years.



The Revolution of 1830, which deprived Charles the Tenth of the throne of France, like all other great and sudden changes, proved the ruin of many individuals, more especially of many ancient families who were attached to the Court, and who would not desert the exiled monarch in his adversity. Among the few who were permitted to share his fortunes was my father, a noble gentleman of Burgundy, who at a former period and during a former exile, had proved his unchangeable faith and attachment to the legitimate owners of the crown of France.

The ancient royal residence of Holyrood having been offered, as a retreat, to his unhappy master, my father bade an eternal adieu to his country and with me, his only son, then but nine years of age, followed in the suite of the monarch, and established himself in Edinburgh.

Our residence in Scotland was not long. Charles the Tenth decided upon taking up his abode at Prague. My father went before him to make the necessary arrangements; and as soon as his master was established there, he sought by travel to forget his griefs. Young as I was, I was his companion. Italy, Sicily, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, and the Holy Land were all visited in the course of three years, after which time we returned to Italy; and being then twelve years old, I was placed for my education in the Propaganda at Rome.

For an exile who is ardently attached to his country there is no repose. Forbidden to return to his beloved France, there was no retreat which could make my father forget his griefs, and he continued as restless and as unhappy as ever.

Shortly after that I had been placed in the Propaganda, my father fell in with an old friend, a friend of his youth, whom he had not met with for years, once as gay and as happy as he had been, now equally suffering and equally restless. This friend was the Italian Prince Seravalle, who also had drank deep of the cup of bitterness. In his youth, feeling deeply the decadence, both moral and physical, of his country, he had attempted to strike a blow to restore it to its former splendour; he headed a conspiracy, expended a large portion of his wealth in pursuit of his object, was betrayed by his associates, and for many years was imprisoned by the authorities in the Castle of San Angelo.

How long his confinement lasted I know not, but it must have been a long while, as in after times, when he would occasionally revert to his former life, all the incidents he related were for years "when he was in his dungeon, or in the court yard prison of the Capitol," where many of his ancestors had dictated laws to nations.

At last the Prince was restored to freedom, but captivity had made no alteration in his feelings or sentiments. His love for his country, and his desire for its regeneration, were as strong as ever, and he very soon placed himself at the head of the Carbonari, a sect which, years afterwards, was rendered illustrious by the constancy and sufferings of a Maroncelli, a Silvio Pellico, and many others... Continue reading book >>

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