The idea for this little Almanac was conceived of by the Author and by the Bookseller at the same time over a splendid lunch, at which the two of them found themselves on Sunday, 23 Brumaire last.* Seized upon with avidity by the guests, its execution became a sort of challenge to which they had to completely abandon themselves. Only the public can decide whether the cockfight was won or lost; but this explains the rapidity with which this Almanac was composed and printed so that it could appear during the course of January.
These circumstances are undoubtedly not an excuse. Molière long ago said:
… Time doesn’t do anything for the matter.**
Also, we only wanted to sound out the public taste with an attempt. If it welcomes this trifle with indulgence, we promise a much more complete and careful edition for next year. The subject is quite vast, without doubt, for a simple Almanac. But this convenient and portable format being to the taste of a great number readers, more than one serious author would not disdain to use it in order to disseminate useful information; and, because we had the time to tighten up these ideas and to be brief we can in this way include many things in a small volume.
We therefore limit ourselves this year merely to stimulating the appetite of amateurs, if to satisfy them in 1804, for with little they can get a taste of the thing.***
N.B. We gratefully receive all the opinions, advice and even examples that persons who are interested in the success of this Work would kindly like to pass along to the Author by addressing them, in a postage-paid letter, to the Bookseller.
*14 Nov. 1802, the feast day of Saint Martin, considered the patron saint of gourmands. See notes on the Republican Calendar for further background.
**…Le temps ne fait rien à l’affaire (Le Misanthrope, I, 2, v. 314).
***This sentence was deleted in the 2nd edition and replaced with: “The rapidity with which the first edition of this work disappeared only permits us in this second to work on corrections that seemed the most essential.”
(c) Carolin C. Young, 2013.