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PREFACE.


and it is related of him that in his later days he never left home without a pocketful of five-franc pieces, one of which coins he would bestow on each poor person he met. "As I want for nothing myself," he said, "let me do all I can for poor people who do want." Indeed had it not been for his charitable disposition he would never in all likelihood have written his book. His cousin, Mme. de Lavau, who was interested in many charitable works, said to him one day, "My dear cousin, you have had such an adventurous career that an account of the principal events of your life would make a most interesting book. I would give away the copies as prizes in a lottery, and I warrant we should get a large sum for one of my charities." The proposal was perhaps hardly flattering to the author, but he was too kind-hearted to refuse, and the book was duly written. He even permitted a relative to pad out the volume by the addition of some singularly dull letters, which, being devoid of all interest, have been omitted from the present translation.