Major Vigoureux

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Wildside Press, 2007 - Fiction - 220 pages
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For a dozen years Major Narcisse Vigoureux had been, for an unmarried man, an exceedingly happy one. If you ask me how an officer bearing such a name happened in command of a British garrison, I answer that he was not a Frenchman, but a Channel Islander of good Jersey descent; and this again helped him to understand the folk over whom he ruled. The wrong-doers feared him; but they were few. By the rest of the population, including his soldiers, he was beloved, respected, not a little envied. For a bachelor he mingled with zest in the small social amusements of Garland Town, the capital of the Islands. He shone at picnics and water-parties. He played a fair hand at whist. His manner towards ladies was deferential; towards men, dignified without a trace of patronage or self-conceit. All voted him a good fellow. At first, indeed -- for he practised small economies, and his linen, though clean, was frayed -- they suspected him of stinginess, until by accident the Vicar discovered that a great part of his pay went to support his dead brother's family -- a widow and two girls who lived at Notting Hill, London, in far from affluent circumstances.

In spite of this the Commandant's lot might fairly have been called enviable until the day which terminated the ninety-nine years' lease upon which the Duke held the Islands. Everyone took it for granted that he would apply, as his predecessors had twice applied, for a renewal. But, no; like a bolt from the blue came news that the Duke, an old man, had waived his application in favour of an unknown purchaser -- unknown, that is to say, in the Islands -- a London banker, recently created a baronet, by name Sir Caesar Hutchins."

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About the author (2007)

Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch was born on November 21, 1863 at Bodmin in the county of Cornwall, England. His sisters, Florence Mabel and Lilian, were also writers. While attending Trinity College, Oxford he wrote Dead Man's Rock under the pseudonym "Q" in 1882. He moved to London that same year. He wrote The Astonishing History of Troy Town (1888) and The Splendid Spur (1889). He married Louisa Amelia on August 22, 1889. They had two children; daughter Foy and son Bevil. Bevil died in Germany during the flu epidemic of 1919. While in London, Quiller-Couch took up journalism and was assistant editor to Cassell Publishing's Liberal weekly "The Speaker". In 1891 he and Louisa settled at their home 'The Haven' by the sea at Fowey in Cornwall, upon the advice of his doctor. His love of yachting and rowing led to his being appointed Commodore of the Royal Fowey Yacht Club in 1911 until his death in 1944. Quiller-Couch spent much of his time on the Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1900 (1900), The Oxford Book of Ballads (1910), and The Oxford Book of English Prose (1923). During his years in Cornwall he held a number of offices and participated in many committees, advocating system reform. This led to his being knighted in 1910. In 1912 until his death Quiller-Couch was appointed professor of English literature at Cambridge University. He published many of his lectures that were popular, including On the Art of Writing (1916) and On the Art of Reading (1920). On May 12, 1944 died of mouth cancer at his house in Fowey.

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