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The Chronicles Of Clovis
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The charming, beloved master of short fiction known as "Saki" was born Hector Hugo Munro in 1870 in Akyab, Myanmar, which was then known as Burma. Hector was the youngest child of the Inspector-General of the Burmese police -- H.H. Munro was a child of the British Empire at its fullest glory. The children were soon sent to live with maiden aunts and their grandmother in Devon. The eccentric aunts and favorite childhood stories, including Robinson Crusoe, Alice in Wonderland, and Johnnykin and the Goblins, proved inspirational for later stories. As an adult, Saki served in the Burmese police, and later, became a London political satirist, and then journalist posted to Warsaw, Moscow and St. Petersburg. As with most of his generation, Saki enlisted in military service at the outbreak of the First World War. Stationed with the Royal Fusiliers, his battalion was sent to France in September, 1915. The Chronicles of Clovis is Saki's third book of short fiction, published in 1911. Influenced by his travels in eastern Europe and Russia, most of the stories feature Clovis Sangrail, a rich young man with a wicked sense of humor. The Chronicles of Clovis contains the classic "Sredni Vashtar," the story of Conradin, a spoiled, sickly ten-year old boy who's not expected to survive long. Brief, sharp, and ironic, as fresh today as the day it was written, "Sredni Vashtar" is Conradin's pet ferret, the most important "god" in an isolated boy's imaginary world of power and vengeance that may, just possibly, be absolutely real. Saki's brilliant talent was cut short by a sniper's bullet on the Western Front in November, 1916.
There are good things which we want to share with the world and good things which we want to keep to ourselves. The secret of our favourite restaurant, to take a case, is guarded jealously from all but a few intimates; the secret, to take a contrary case, of our infallible remedy for seasickness is thrust upon every traveller we meet, even if he be no more than a casual acquaintance about to cross the Serpentine.
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