Page:Audubon and His Journals.djvu/69

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39
AUDUBON

To speak more fully on some of the incidents which Audubon here relates, I turn to one of the two journals which are all that fire has spared of the many volumes which were filled with his fine, rather illegible handwriting previous to 1826. In the earlier of these journals I read: "I went to France not only to escape Da Costa, but even more to obtain my father's consent to my marriage with my Lucy, and this simply because I thought it my moral and religious duty to do so. But although my request was immediately granted, I remained in France nearly two years. As I told you, Mr. Bakewell considered my Lucy too young (she was then but seventeen), and me too unbusiness-like to marry; so my father decided that I should remain some months with him, and on returning to America it was his plan to associate me with some one whose commercial knowledge would be of value to me.

"My father's beautiful country seat, situated within sight of the Loire, about mid-distance between Nantes and the sea, I found quite delightful to my taste, notwithstanding the frightful cruelties I had witnessed in that vicinity, not many years previously. The gardens, greenhouses, and all appertaining to it appeared to me then as if of a superior cast; and my father's physician was above all a young man precisely after my own heart; his name was D'Orbigny, and with his young wife and infant son he lived not far distant. The doctor was a good fisherman, a good hunter, and fond of all objects in nature. Together we searched the woods, the fields, and the banks of the Loire, procuring every bird we could, and I made drawings of every one of them—very bad, to be sure, but still they were of assistance to me. The lessons which I had received from the great David[1] now proved all important to me, but what I wanted, and what I had the good fortune to stumble upon a few years later, was the

  1. Jacques Louis David (1748-1825), court painter to Louis XVI. and afterwards to Napoleon I.