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bowing for half an hour instead of coming to the point at once. Even though the said reader be of the softer sex, she politely requests that he will “ leave off his damnable faces and begin.”
What is it to any reader, male or female, whether the man who publishes has been “ urged by friends,” or “ impelled by a sense of duty,” or “ has yielded to an inward impulse,” or “ has overcome his unconquerable bashfulness ?" If the book be bad, --- friends, duty, impulse, and bashfulness kick the beam, and the volume sinks a dead weight on the head of the bookseller. If the book be good,— friends, duty, impulse, and bashfulness have no more to do with the circulation it obtains than the great Cham of Tartary, or the still greater Surlet de Chokier, ex-regent of Belgium.
Come, be a man! Shew a better respect for yourself. No cringing to the herd of common critics whom in your heart you despise. Say frankly
Say frankly—“ I have done what I could: if you like it, well; if you dislike it-well, also." True, if you say so, you will considerably lower yourself in the you who
good graces of several respectable gentlemen whom I have in my eye. Nay, the few sentences I have now written have made them already say to themselves,-“ This style is too flippant, somewhat smart, but puppyish; it must be put down.” Now, do you think either you or I ought to be scared by this? I shall tell those respectable gentlemen are. They are either editors of weekly newspapers, which have changed sides three times within the last year; or they are conductors, co-conductors, and sub-conductors of certain magazines, the circulation of which is not quite so extensive as that of the Waverley Novels. As for my single self, I had as lief cast MY OLD PORTFOLIO into the fire, as bend my back to sue for mercy at sucb hands. I have as good thoughts and quick fancies about me as they have. They cannot either make or mar me.
To the thousands whose minds are of a higher calibre than my own, I look, of course, with the respect that is their due. If my lucubrations succeed in interesting them, however slightly, I shall have done
something I need not be ashamed of. The approbation of those who are themselves distinguished is valuable, because it is the only means by which you can ascertain the comparative powers of your own intellect. Its reach is not enlarged by such approbation, but its confidence in itself is strengthened.
I believe some amusement may be extracted from this volume, else I would not have published it. The contents are of a light and fanciful nature, and have no higher aim than to lend their aid in whiling away a tranquil hour.
A good number of the pieces were written several years ago, and I am willing to believe I could do better now. The truth is, I have had of late but little time to bestow on the more flowery paths of imaginative literature ; and as I see every prospect of being occupied for years to come with studies of an abstract and severer nature, I was willing to throw my loose papers—my early loves and early follies, into a shape so compact and elegant as that in which, with the assistance of my publishers, they may here be found. Let them take their chance as their betters have done before them. It is not improbable that they will be advertised in the newspapers for a month, and then forgotten for ever.