The story starts in the city of St. Louis, towards the end of the summer of some year in the nineteenth century. Reid collects together a group of six men who would pay to take part in an expedition, camping and hunting, into the prairies. They take with them a couple of paid men, professionals who would give them very necessary guidance. They all make a pact that they would each tell a round of tales around the camp fire, such stories to be amusing and instructive.
reole of Louisiana--a student of one of the Jesuit Colleges of that State--and although very unlike what would be expected from such a dashing personage, he was an ardent, even passionate, lover of nature. Though still young, he was the most accomplished botanist in his State, and had already published several discoveries in the Flora of the South.
Of course the expedition was to him a delightful anticipation. It would afford the finest opportunity for prosecuting his favourite study in a new field; one as yet almost unvisited by the scientific traveller. The young Creole was known as Jules Besancon.
He was not the only naturalist of the party. Another was with us; one who had already acquired a world-wide fame; whose name was as familiar to the savans of Europe as to his own countrymen. He was already an old man, almost venerable in his aspect, but his tread was firm, and his arm still strong enough to steady his long, heavy, double-barrelled rifle. An ample coat of dark blue
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