Dumas the historical romancer has been unjustly allowed to overshadow Dumas the writer of some fine novels of contemporary society and of some equally fine works of nonfiction. Outstanding in the latter genre are the three travel books En Suisse, DeMoreDumas the historical romancer has been unjustly allowed to overshadow Dumas the writer of some fine novels of contemporary society and of some equally fine works of nonfiction. Outstanding in the latter genre are the three travel books En Suisse, De Paris A Cadiz (published by Chilton Company as Adventures in Spain), and En Vloce (also published by Chilton Company, as Adventures in Algeria), that eyewitness account of the campaign of Garibaldi and his Red Shirts, Les Garibaldiens- his autobiography, memoirs, and the present Histoire de rnes Btes.
Since this is neither a history, nor a novel, nor a primer of literature, but just a friendly chat, dear reader, between you and me . . . that is Dumas own description of the book. A friendly chat. The phrase epitomizes the work perfectly. Here is Dumas in a personal vein, unbuttoned and, as it were, in carpet slippers over the fire, talking rather than writing.
In these inconsequential chapters he gossips at large about his pets, his hunting experiences, travels, books, servants, political views-anything and everything as names fall from his pen or come to mind. Adventures with My Pets gives us glimpses into Dumas private life (if he can be said ever to have had any) worth many biographies. His reckless hospitality, impulsiveness, ruinous prodigality, and sheer goodness of heart shine out with ingenuous clarity. Dumas is, in truth, the hero of these pages unless we give the title to that rapscallion pilferer of our affections: Pritchard.
With its leaps from the light to the serious, its sense of the comic, its racy humor, and the impress of a great personality, Adventures with My Pets is something unique in French literature which, while full of wit, is woefully lacking in humor. Indeed, in this vein Dumas is (unless we except Daudet) the nearest and only approach the French have ever made to Dickens, and for that reason alone, quite apart from their native love of animals, English and American readers should End Adventures with My Pets delightful entertainment, and Henleys verdict on itin its way as good as Monte-Cristo itself no mere eulogy.
The first 28 chapters appeared in Dumas own journal, Le Mousquetaire, toward the end of 1855, and others came out irregularly in the second issue of the journal in 1865. They were collected and published in 1867. Strangely, the only translation was that done by Methuen in 1909. The Introductory Note there is amusing. It runs: It has been found necessary to omit two brief passages and a few scattered lines . . . to bring the work into line with English taste. Fortunately we are not so prudish today. I say fortunately because, due to their supposed prudery, the readers of 1909 were obliged to miss that delicious piece of natural history a la Michel entitled Historical Researches into the Origins of the Peculiar Fashion of Greeting Among Dogs (Chapter 41).
In honesty, it must be confessed that I have omitted one or two of Dumas digressions and the whole of the last two chapters, the first for reasons of unity, the second because the concluding chapters are an anticlimax. The death of Pritchard makes the best final curtain. A. Craig BELL Contents Preface 1 The Dog I Own and the Fowls I Once Owned 2 Enumeration of My Pets 3 A Scottish Pointer 4 Pritchard and the Cutlet 5 A Glass of Wine 6 Pritchard Sinks Lower and Lower 7 In Which Pritchard Shows that Cunning Is Better than Brute Force 8 A Capacious Pocket 9 Mouton 10 A Coming Catastrophe Casts Its Shadow Before 11 How I Was Seduced into Buying a Green Monkey and a Blue Macaw 12 How I Became Informed of the Fact that Parrots Breed in France 13 A Cabriolet Driver Who Was a Great Geographer 14 I Buy Mademoiselle Desgarcins a Husband 15 The Sleeping Cat 16 Mysouff the First 17 Dorvals Basket of Flowers 18 The Danger of Too Good a Character!
19 A Mobile Negro 20 The Prodigal Returns 21 Alexis Military Finale ...