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The Belovéd Vagabond

William John Locke

Book Overview: 

The vagabond, Paragot, a truly eccentric bohemian and a wandering scholar with a mysterious past, adopts a London street urchin (whom he calls Asticot) by purchasing him from his mother for half a crown. Paragot leads Asticot on various adventures through 19th century Europe, eventually arriving in Paris. Here Paragot’s dark romantic past begins to catch up with him.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .If he chose he could rip out the hearts[65] of a dead Municipal Council with a violin, and could set a hospital for paralytics a-dancing. He would have fiddled the children of Hamelin away from the Pied Piper. Didn't Blanquette believe him?

"But yes, Monsieur," she said fervently.

"Ask Asticot."

My faith in him was absolute. To my mind he had even understated his abilities. The experience of the disillusioning years has since caused me to modify my opinions; but Paragot's boastfulness has not lessened him in my eyes. And this leads to a curious reflection. When a Gascon boasts, you love him for it; when a Prussian does it, your toes tingle to kick him to Berlin. His very whimsical braggadocio made Paragot adorable, and I am at a loss to think what he would have been without it.

"Of course," said he, "if you are proud, if you don't want to be seen in the company of a scarecrow like me, there is nothing more to be said."

Bla. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Not as swashbuckling as Three Musketeers. Not as long-winded as Don Quixote. Not as idealistic as Ivanhoe. But it evokes something of all three. Paragot has lived his life in dreams, and never quite managed to realize any of them... which somehow makes him lovable, and a touch heroic.

This is a wonderfully old-fashioned story, very well – and rather wordily – told.

‘To Paragot I owe everything. He is at once my benefactor, my venerated master, my beloved friend, my creator. Clay in his hands, he moulded me according to his caprice, and inspired me with the breath of life. My ex...more

I would not say that this is ‘amazing’. But I’d give it 5 stars because I found it most deeply satisfying.

What was satisfying about it?

I found it sentimental but without sentimentality: sentimental in the sense of that which stirs the gentler feelings, but without the mawkishness of the Sentiment...more

I must admit I wasn't expecting much from this book and was only reading it out of devotion to all things Betsy-Tacy. Silly me! I should have known that I wouldn't be disappointed. I found Locke's writing style engaging and I especially enjoy being able to understand the references in Betsy and t...more

Not big on plot, really, but some novels are more about character or a way of *being*. This is one of those. Paragot is so appealing, nothing much has to happen. He's a bohemian in the sense that word used to mean (something more like the opera La Boheme describes). He doesn't care about much. Hi...more

Charming and amiable little Edwardian forerunner to Withnail and I.

Paragot is the original Withnail, a lazy, drink-sodden Bohemian prone to grandiloquent verbiage and occasional bursts of manic resolution. As narrator and unashamed admirer Asticot notes of him on their initial meeting, 'He appear...more

« Il faut cultiver notre jardin » Voltaire asserts in the last line of Candide. But what if you have been turned out of your garden—doomed never to enter again? Why then, you must take to the road, wander, and hope always to catch a glimpse of Paradise Lost.

Such is the fate of The Belovéd Vagabo...more

I learned about this book through two sources. In another book I was reading, October Vagabonds, the author kept mentioning Paragot. This was one of the books he and a friend took with him on a walk through New York state. Then a GR friend happened to be reading this at the same time and posted u...more

4.5 Stars

What happens when a gentleman of learning, passion, and artistic temperament gets his heart broken? Why, he smashes every remnant of his past life into little tiny fragments, sweeps them under the rug of oblivion and reimerges with a new identity. His name will vary with whim and circums...more

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