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A pioneer in travel literature, Travels with a donkey in the Cevennes is Robert Louis Stevenson's account of his 12 day journey through Cevennes, France. He suffered from ill health for much of his life, and this was his opportunity for a long desired adventure. Accompanied by a stubborn donkey, Modestine, Stevenson takes a serious note at times and at others, regales with tales of his encounters. Very entertaining indeed.
The story follows the development of Molly Gibson and her new stepsister Cynthia into womanhood within the gossiping and watchful society of Hollingford. It offers an ironic critique of mid-Victorian society disguised as a nostalgic evocation of village life.
The novel opens with Guy Mannering casting the horoscope for the newborn heir to the Laird of Ellengowan. Unfortunately Guy's predictions were correct, and Henry Bertram is kidnapped at age five and eventually adopted by a Dutch merchant. Amidst the chaos of the time Harry must find his rightful place or lose his inheritance forever. The novel is also notable for its vividly portrayed minor characters, including Meg Merrilies who was based on the real life 'queen of the gypsies'.
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