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A Gentle Ordeal - Part 2 by liberosist

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· @liberosist · (edited)
$11.91
A Gentle Ordeal - Part 2
<center>https://steemitimages.com/DQmcuXpDRbnaosnQjzEneA37vVoFzkWo2uMWd13dNGi3NSv/Capture.JPG</center>

*This is the story of Monsieur Guillaume Joseph Hyacinthe Jean-Baptiste Le Gentil de la Galaisière. A man so bereft of luck, I couldn’t fathom a way to end this sentence.*

### <center>[Part 1 here](https://steemit.com/fiction/@liberosist/a-gentle-ordeal-part-1)</center>

Le Gentil got off the ship in Mauritius, and decided to wait there for the transit in eight years' time. 

Five years later, the Seven Years’ War ended, peace broke out. Le Gentil chose his target for the 1769 transit – Manila. Endorsed by French and Spanish Academies, Le Gentil set sail in May 1766 aboard a Spanish ship. 

August 1766, Le Gentil set foot on Manila. All was going well, finally. Alas, the Spanish Governor of Philippines was convinced Le Gentil was a French spy and a heretic. Abandoned, Le Gentil fled Manila alone, on whatever ship he could find. He found a ship headed to – of course, Pondicherry – willing to take him for a price. Following the peace treaty of the Seven Years’ War, Pondicherry was back under French rule. 

Little did he realise, that in his desperation, he had chosen to set sail on a pirate ship. Pirates may be ruthless bandits, but they have moral code. The problem was the journey – in one word, violent. For the longest time, Le Gentil was convinced he would never make Pondicherry alive. 

But he did. And unlike the hostile Spanish governor, the French governor at Pondicherry admired Le Gentil and quickly took a great liking towards him. He quickly settled down in Mahe, offered a lavish lifestyle as a national hero. 

One fine day, the governor took Le Gentil to a barren hillock. This would be Le Gentil’s own observatory. 

In May 1768, finally, at long, long last, things were looking up. Le Gentil has his own state-of-the-art observatory, anything he required was provided unconditionally by the state, and the June 4, 1769 date for the second target was well in sight. The clear blue skies of Mahe would be the ideal location to observe the transit. 

At last, the day arrived. Every single morning in the month leading up to the day was perfect. But alas, moments before the transit, the clouds floated in. The transit came and went. All La Gentil saw were dark clouds. 

Le Gentil was a beaten man. He lost the will to work, and gave up his position in Pondicherry. He had only one thing left to do – return to Paris and call it a day. 

He set sail early in 1770. He fell ill with a major bout of dysentery. Soon after, a wild storm swept across the Indian Ocean, halting progress. With nowhere to go, the ship dropped a sickly Le Gentil off at Ile Bourbon (near Madagascar). He waited six months, till finally, a Spanish ship took him to Paris. 

Twelve years after he left, Guillaume Le Gentil finally returned to Paris. He casually strolled into the French Academy of Sciences, to be greeted by a shriek – as if the person had seen a ghost. 

Indeed, he was a ghost, as Le Gentil was declared legally dead, being unaccounted for over six years. He had been replaced at the Academy. 

He headed home next, to see his wife married to a younger man. His relatives had taken the liberty to enthusiastically plunder his estate and fortune. 

Le Gentil was homeless, penniless, jobless and alone. He was prepared to give up and retire to the countryside, but this injustice was too much to bear. 

He wouldn’t give in. He would fight to get it all back. So where does he barge in next? The court of King Louis XV! 

<center>**-xxx-**</center>
***
<center>https://cdn.theconversation.com/files/11204/width237/6b8zfhnf-1338352931.jpg

*This is a brief fictionalised account of [Guillaume Le Gentil's extraordinary tribulations](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillaume_Le_Gentil). My story is done, but read on to find out what happened next.*</center> 
<sub>Images source: Wikimedia/public domain</sub>
👍  , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and 43 others
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vote details (107)
@vcelier ·
$0.31
I like this kind of fictionalized story.

The pirate ship is a nice touch.

Ile Bourbon was renamed during the French revolution and is now called "Ile de la Réunion".

These "extraordinary tribulations" were those of Guillaume Le Gentil (not Guillame la Gentil).

Thank you for this story.
👍  
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@liberosist ·
$0.31
Indeed, Ile Bourbon is La Reunion today. Thanks for pointing out the typo at the end - fixed it!
👍  
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@vcelier ·
$0.31
> Thanks for pointing out the typo at the end - fixed it!

Are you sure?  ;-)
👍  
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@bleujay ·
Thank you for posting @liberosist.

Enjoyed the story....the time period... the character......the topic, Life.
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