The report on the expedition to kill the Gevaudan beast reads as follows:

“The year one thousand seven hundred and sixty-five, the nineteenth day of the present month of September, We, Francois Antoine (de Beauterne, Knight of the Royal and military Order of Saint Louis, King’s Arquebus Bearer, Lieutenant of His Majesty’s Hunts) having by his Orders gone to the two Generalities of Auvergne and Gevaudan in order to destroy the ferocious beast which was there devouring the Inhabitants, We being transported with Mr de la Coste, General Gamekeeper, Pelissier and Begnault and Dumoulin, Gamekeepers of the Royal Captainery of Saint-Germain, Messrs Lacour and Reinehard, Horseguards of His Serene Highness My Lord the Duke of Orleans, first Prince of the blood;  Mr Lesteur, Lamoncy and Bonnet, Gamekeepers of His Serene Highness My Lord the Duke of Penthievre, to the Royal Abbey of the Chazes in Auvergne, having been informed that the Wolves were there wreaking a lot of havoc, which made Us send on the eighteenth Messrs Pelissier and Lacour, Gamekeepers with their Bloodhounds and La Feuille, whipper-in of the Bloodhounds of the King’s Wolfhunters to scout the Woods of the Reserve of the Ladies of the Royal Abbey of the Chazes; and the next day the nineteenth of the said month, they sent to avert Us by Mr Bonnet, that they had seen a very big Wolf and that they had good information also in the said Wood of a She-wolf with fairly big Cubs, which made Us immediately leave to pass the night at the said place of the Chazes in Auvergne, distant from Besset by nearly three leagues, and the next day twentieth of the said month, the said three Bloodhound Whippers-in and the Hound Whipper-in named Berry having reported that they had turned the big Wolf, the She-wolf and the Cubs into the Pommieres Woods dependant of the said reserve, We transported ourself with all the Gamekeepers and forty shooters Inhabitants of the town of Langeac and from the nearby Parishes, where after being placed so as to surround the said Wood, the said Bloodhound Whippers-in and the Wolfhunter hounds having started to walk the said Wood, We, Francois Antoine (and above-mentioned names) being placed in a passage, there came to Us by a track at a distance of fifty paces, this big Wolf presenting its right side and turning its head to look at me and immediately I fired from behind with my Duck gun, charged with five lots of powder, thirty-five Wolf pellets and a calibre bullet of which the effort of the shot pushed me back two paces;  but the said Wolf fell immediately having received the bullet in its right eye, and all of the said pellets in the right side close to the shoulder, and as I was calling the slaughter, it got up again and came in my direction in turning and without giving me the time to recharge my said arm, I called for help to Mr Reinehard, placed near me, who found it stopped ten paces from me and fired at his rear with his carabine, which made it run away about twenty-five full paces where it fell completely dead.

“We, Francois Antoine (and the above-mentioned names) and we Jacques de la Font, with all the Gamekeepers above-mentioned declared, having examined this Wolf to have recognized that it was thirty-two inches high after death, five feet seven and a half inches long, that the thickness of its body was three feet and that the teeth, the two jaws and the paws of this animal appeared most extraordinary;  the said Wolf weighed 130 pounds.

“We declare by the present Report, signed by our hand, to have never seen any other Wolf which could compare with this animal, which is why We have judged that it could well be the cruel Beast, or devouring Wolf, which has so much wreaked havoc and so as to be able to let it be better known, We have had the said Wolf opened by Mr Boulanger, Expert Surgeon of the town of Saugues who has made his report in presence of Messrs Antoine Father and Son, Mr de la Font, all of the undersigned Gamekeepers, the two Bloodhound Whippers-in from the King’s Wolfhunters, Mr Torrent, priest of Ventuejol, Mr Jean-Joseph Vernet and his Brother of the town of Saugues, Mr Torrent, of Laveze, parish of Ventuejol, and Mr Mouton, of the parish of Greze, and on this, Mr Torrent, Priest of the parish of Ventuejol and Guillaume Gavier, Consul of the said Parish, firstly presented themselves to us, bringing Jean-Pierre Lourd, aged fifteen years, and Marie Trincard, aged eleven years, who both declared to us after having examined the said Wolf, that it was the same beast which had attacked them and wounded the said Marie Trincard, on 21 June last, as it is declared by the present Report made by Us, consequently and neither of them knowing how to write, Father Torrent and Mr Gavier, Consul, signed for them at the bottom of the present Report;  secondly, Mr Bertrand-Louis Dumont, Priest of the Parish of Paulhac and Mr Ducros, Consul of the said Parish, brought to Us Marie-Jeanne Valex and Therese Valex, her sister, who declared that they had been attacked on 11 August last by the said Beast, following this and as it is declared by the Report consequently made, these two sisters after having well examined the said Wolf have declared that it was the same Beast which had attacked them and have recognized the Bayonette cut shown to them and that the Beast had received on the right shoulder, to which interrogation she answered that she could not declare where she had wounded it;  also presented were Guillaume Bergounhoux and his Brother Jean Bergounhoux the eldest, aged seventeen and eighteen years, and his Younger brother of fifteen years who both declared to have been attacked by the said Beast, on 9 August last and aided by Pierre Mercier, Sworn Keeper of Baron du Besset, all of whom after also carefully examining the said Wolf, have declared to have well and totally recognized it as the same beast which had attacked them, as well as Marie-Jeanne Mercier, aged eleven years, also attacked at the same time and who was defended by Pierre Vidal, who has declared that the said Wolf is the same Beast which had attacked the said Marie-Jeanne Mercier, all of them not knowing how to write, the said Mr Dumont, Priest and the said Mr Ducros, have signed at the bottom of the present Report;  which examination made as well as time permitted.  We have judged that it was proper to send the said Wolf in a post vehicule by Mr Antoine de Beauterne, our son accompanied by Mr Lacoste, General Gamekeeper to Mr de Ballainvilliers, Intendant of the Province of Auvergne, to dispose of it as he will judge necessary.

“And having left Mr Lachenay, Keeper of My Lord the Duke of Penthievre, Prince of the Blood, at Besset, to inform us of what would happen in this canton, after the information given to him by Mr de la Font, who had been willing to do it, he must be included in the service of the King, as if he had been present on the hunt which took place at the Wood of the Reserve of the Ladies of the Royal Abbey of the Chazes in Auvergne;  as a supplement the Priest of Ventuejol presented to me Marie-Anne Camifolle, aged about twenty years, Jean Fontanier aged abour fifteen years and Jacques Ollier aged twelve years his Parishioners, from Combret, who said all unanimously that they recognized this Beast as the same as the one which appeared the 21 June last;  and have also declared that they do not know how to sign, and We affirm as true the present Report the days and years as above.

“Signed:

“Antoine de BEAUTERNE, LACOSTE, PELISSIER, RENAUD and MOULIN;  LAFONT, REINEHARD, LAFLEUR, LECTEUR, DUMONT, priest of Paulhac, TORRENT, priest of Ventuejol, LACOUR, BONNET, BERTONNIER, LAFEUILLE, MAUSSON, CLERNET, BIGON, LAMADE, SAUVETON, surgeon, BOULANGER, surgeon, TORRENT, BIGOT, consul, DUCROS,  consul, GAVIER.”

That Mr de Beauterne is a hunter, not a writer, seems rather obvious from this long and laborious report.

Tomorrow, we shall have a look at the autopsy reports, mercifully shorter, before continuing with the exploits of the Beast, who was still very much alive.

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