The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 307
JESUS F. DE LA TEJA, Editor
Pavze zn the Borderlands. By Betje Black Klier. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Uni-
versity Press, 2ooo. Pp. xv+280. Preface, notes, appendix, bibliography, index.
ISBN o -8071-2414-1. $49.95, cloth.)
Rarely does a new source appear that significantly increases the quantity and
quality of knowledge concerning the early nineteenth-century settlements of
Louisiana and Texas. Pavie zn the Borderlands is just such a work. Betje Black Klier
uncovered, translated, and edited letters and a portion of the journal of
Theodore Pavie (1811-1896), a young French adventurer who journeyed to
Louisiana and Mexican Texas from 1829 to 1830o. His travel account Souvenzrs
atlantzques, first published in 1832 relates his observations during a trip that be-
gan in Le Havre, France, followed by an Atlantic voyage, an overland crossing to
the Ohio River, a descent down the Mississippi to New Orleans, a retracing back
up the Red River to Natchitoches, where his relatives lived, and a side trip across
the Arroyo Hondo and Sabine River to the Mexican settlement of Nacogdoches.
Klier goes to some trouble in supplying a context of both French and North
American history to provide the cultural and intellectual environments which
shaped Pavie's sensibilities. She also devotes' considerable space to sorting out
the genealogical framework of the Pavie family (detailed in two of the appen-
dices), connecting the French Pavies to their country cousins in the wilds of
Louisiana. She consistently and effectively argues that the Sabine Borderlands
peaked as a cultural crossroads of French, Spanish, Mexican, U.S., and Native
American experiences at this historic moment of Pavie's visit.
It is difficult to imagine an individual more ideally suited, either temperamen-
tally or intellectually, to capture this world. In his letters home and later in his
travelogue Pavie demonstrates an instinct for the intrinsically interesting as well
as an ear for a lyrical turn of phrase. For example, anticipating modern tourism
slogans, Pavie upon crossing the Sabine River proclaims Texas to be "a whole
other country" (p. 190). Many a visitor would agree with him when describing
the forests during a Louisiana summer as "a refuge of filthy and deadly snakes,
swamp mosquitoes that gnaw, and a thousand noxious insects" (p. 143). Al-
though the bulk of his writings concentrate on his journey to and sojourn in
Louisiana, Pavie made a short but significant excursion westward from Natchi-
toches into Mexican Texas. He describes the inhabitants, dwellings, and customs
of the Texas settlements including those of the Ayish Bayou and of Nacog-
doches. His status as an outsider with neither political nor religious designs
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/359/ocr/: accessed October 20, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.