Page:A book of the Cevennes (-1907-).djvu/297

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219
FLORIAN

ing much about his works, I went to a bookseller at Alais to ask if he had them.

"The works of Florian!" he exclaimed. "We have his statue in the place."

"Yes; but that is the work of the sculptor Gaudez, not of Florian himself."

"Les œuvres de Florian—mais—" The man looked puzzled. "He lived a very long time ago. What did he write?"

"I fancy, fables."

"Ah, monsieur! you mistake. That was La Fontaine."

"There is an 'F' in each," said I, "as there is a river in Macedon, and there is also a river in Monmouth, and there is salmon in both." Of course, the allusion was lost on him.

"I think his works have never been reprinted," said the bookseller. "I will tell my child to ask the schoolmaster about him."

Now I happen to possess at home an edition of Florian, printed in the year III. of the Republic, 1797, and on my return I read some of his works—as much as was possible. Among them is an "English novel," very complimentary to our nation at the opening, but full of the most amusing blunders. The characters are Sir Edouerd Selmours, Mistriss Hartlay, a M. Pikle, and a Mekelfort. Florian gives a translation into French verse of "Auld Robin Gray," but in an evil moment appended the original Scottish text, which is rendered thus—

"Vhen the shepare in the fauld, and the kyeat hame
And all the weary warld asleop is gane,
Thewaes o my heart fall in shovers fra my eye"—

and so on.