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Though few persons, on taking up a work, give themselves the trouble of reading the preface, yet there is generally expected to be one. If the author is altogether negligent in this point, it is often construed into a presumption, that he thinks his lucubrations, from their intrinsic merit, cannot fail of a favourable reception, and therefore he has no need either of endeavouring to obtain the indulgence of the reader, or of making any apology. While, on the contrary, if he states his motives for venturing before the public, and gives a long account of himself, under the idea, as Addison observes, that “a reader seldom peruses a book with pleasure, till he knows whether the writer be a black or a fair man, of a mild or choleric disposition, married or a bachelor, with other particulars of the like nature,” he is most probably accused both of egotism and presumption.
Wishing to avoid either extreme, the author, in offering to the public the result of a few leisure hours, will be brief in his prefatory remarks.
The following subjects are all founded on fact, and especially The Country Vicar, which is almost literally true. Most of the occurrences there related, happened under the author's observation. He was present at the marriage anniversary, when the MISTAKE occurred, which is the principal feature of the work; and the Vicar's speech, on presenting a new ring to his spouse, is given exactly as it was uttered.
There are various versions of the legendary tale on which The Bride of Thry bergh is founded; but the account is here followed which is most
The author has long been of opinion, that if a man will but observe what is every day passing around him, he will seldom be at a loss for subjects of instruction and entertainment without exploring the regions of fiction ; and should the