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IN again entering the field as an Historical
Romance writer, the author has no excuse to
offer. His last novel succeeded to an extent far
beyond what he dared to anticipate; for he was well aware that it contained many faults, and
some of them such as only a more mature judgment can hope to amend, having had no one to suggest an alteration or perfect a sentence; therefore such as the works are, the author only is responsible for them. Many of the faults which were kindly pointed out by some of the reviewers (and which it is the duty of a honest critic to comment upon) he has in the present work endeavoured to avoid, and attempted to give a greater individuality to his characters, by making them stand out more prominently in the pages, and bringing the incidents to bear more closely upon the working out of the story. With all his attention, he is well aware that there will yet be found plenty of errors for those who only hunt out for them, and pass over the best portions; and to such he only wishes, that they all, and each were compelled to write such a work, in the same given space of time: they would find the necessary labour of research for such a task no trifle.
Once again, and for the last time, in answer to those who wish to know at what school he
learned his grammar, and Latin, he begs to refer them to the Preface prefixed to his “ Day in the Woods;" there they will see at what
University he studied, and what a stern taskmaster he was under, while taking up the degrees of M. B. The author has kept nothing secret, has made no vain display, but fearlessly announced his position, and is proud that he has sprung from those ranks, which will ere long make themselves respected - those “corner stones which the builders rejected.”
The author cannot appropriate to himself all the praise that was bestowed upon his last romance, but is inclined to think that his industry in raking together and selecting much ancient, interesting, and almost forgotten matter, had much to do with its success.
To render an historical romance only merely readable, the author must work hard before he begins it; he must read whole volumes of dry, and often uninteresting matter, must dig out of the dark and dusty mines of antiquity, all that is picturesque and poetical, and be very choice in his selections in searching for the hidden gold in these dusky recesses, lest he should bring forth more dross than pure
metal. Nay more, he must have a love for his labour; for if he once pursues his task with reluctance, all is then over. Neither is this all; for when the materials are selected, they require a nicety of arrangement, they must be placed carefully together, or they will resemble the
confused threads which we
ancient embroidery rather than the upper part where the beautiful effects are represented.
True, a master-hand could toss the material to
gether in a brief space of time, when it is thus arranged, although he might begrudge the labour of preparing it, for the work is then half
done to his hands; but an inferior workman
with fair judgment need not to despair, although he cannot give an equal charm to the task when it is completed. No matter how great