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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

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