Library Book Collection

December 23, 1803: The loss of the Grappler and the sufferings of its captain and crew

Chaussey, or Choye, is a group of islets lying off the coast of Normandy, about twenty miles from Jersey, and nine from Granville. They stretch north, east, and west, and cover a space of nearly twelve miles. The principal of them is called the MaÎtre Isle, and is the resort of a few French fishermen during the summer, but being only a rock, and totally devoid of vegetation, its inhabitants are entirely dependent on the neighbouring shores for all the necessaries of life, excepting what their nets may produce. At the time of which we are writing, the winter of 1803, this group of islets was in the hands of the English, and was the scene of the wreck of the Grappler in that year.

A Link with the Past: Ah! Mon beau laurier!

Guernsey's favourite dance, the rather flirtatious 'Ah! mon beau laurier!.' The illustration is of a modern hurdy-gurdy, or 'chifournie,' used in the old days to accompany the dancing: with thanks to Guernsey Post Office, who also produced a superb video of the chifournie being played in Le Hurel barn in Guernsey. The chifournie has been replaced in Guernsey by the fiddle or accordion in modern times.

7 February 1854: Thomas Falla writes from Guernsey to Victor Hugo in Jersey

Hugo's daughter Adèle kept a diary while the family were in Jersey. The original is in the Morgan Library in New York and the Maison Victor Hugo in Paris. In it she records conversations with Hugo during the Tapner affair. Here is a translation of the entry for the 9 February, 1854, a letter from Thomas Falla, John Charles Tapner's advocate during his trial for murder: 

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