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Could I think that the following pages contained any merit sufficient to atone for their many faults, I should pen these introductory lines with a less unfaltering hand. As it is, I can only commend my book to the indulgence of the reader. If I have any satisfaction in sending it forth, the qualities productive of that satisfaction are merely of a negative character-consisting of an absence of the false philosophies now in vogue, and the polluting pitch of licentiousness, evils which too surely convey to the inexperienced mind a poisonous contagion, more swift and deadly than that the eastern prince imbibed, while turning over the fatal leaves bequeathed him by his seer.
And now my bubble is blown. For the evanescence
of its existence I am fully prepared, and shall be well content if any thing in the form or colouring of the momentary trifle please even the passing glance of the condescending beholder. But some will say life has more serious ends than to be frittered away in creating or in beholding mere bubbles. This is true to a certain extent; yet even in bubbles there may be found matter of important observation, and touches of beauty suggestives of ideas refining to the taste and softening to the disposition. The Bard of Avon found “ good in every thing;" and so will most rightly tempered minds. If, then, my book wholly fails to yield improvement as well as gratification, let the reader share the blame.
To those who think that the orders of fiction should be preserved as distinct from each other as the orders of architecture, both the treatment and design of this work will give great offence. It is not strictly a domestic or a sentimental story, neither is it an humorous or a fashionable story; nor does it claim kindred with any decided school whatever, but partakes, perhaps, of all. Another more serious argument among adverse critics will be this—that the professed heroine does not chiefly sustain what interest there may be found here. For this license which I have taken I make no plea other than that the nature of my design required an exception to what I admit should be held as a general rule.