The face of the country, the climate as it was found by the whites, and the manners of the settlers, are described with a minuteness for which the author
has no other apology than the force of his own recollections.
They are at least not part of the polemic which their author
sustained in the essays following them in this volume, and which might have been called, in conformity with 'My Literary Passions', by the title of 'My Literary Opinions' better than by the vague name which they actually wear.
No one can be more sensible than the author
of his deficiencies in this and many other respects; but when the very peculiar circumstances in which he was placed are understood, he feels assured that all these omissions will be excused.
Whether this reasoning be correct or otherwise, the present author
felt, that, in confining himself to subjects purely Scottish, he was not only likely to weary out the indulgence of his readers, but also greatly to limit his own power of affording them pleasure.
Once on a time I really imagined myself "an author
of fairy tales," but now I am merely an editor or private secretary for a host of youngsters whose ideas I am requestsed to weave into the thread of my stories.
only hopes that if they do no good, her tales will, at least, do no harm.
The tortoise--as the alderman of Bristol, well learned in eating, knows by much experience--besides the delicious calipash and calipee, contains many different kinds of food; nor can the learned reader be ignorant, that in human nature, though here collected under one general name, is such prodigious variety, that a cook will have sooner gone through all the several species of animal and vegetable food in the world, than an author
will be able to exhaust so extensive a subject.
"Well, cheer up," the Author
resumed; "fame comes at the most unexpected times.
But pictures are not enough although most authors
draw so badly that if one of them happens to have the genius for line that Mr.
They were written at the same time as the rest of the work; they date from the same epoch, and sprang from the same thought, they have always formed a part of the manuscript of "Notre-Dame-de-Paris." Moreover, the author
cannot comprehend how fresh developments could be added to a work of this character after its completion.
As I wanted to see a schoolmaster or two, and was forewarned that those gentlemen might, in their modesty, be shy of receiving a visit from the author
of the "Pickwick Papers," I consulted with a professional friend who had a Yorkshire connexion, and with whom I concerted a pious fraud.
The first purposes of every such book must be to outline the development of the literature with due regard to national life, and to give appreciative interpretation of the work of the most important authors
. I have written the present volume because I have found no other that, to my mind, combines satisfactory accomplishment of these ends with a selection of authors
sufficiently limited for clearness and with adequate accuracy and fulness of details, biographical and other.