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THE exhaustless interest and endless suggestiveness of Ancient and Modern London, have induced the author to collect in these volumes some of its more curious characteristics. His object has been more especially to present to the reader who enjoys the Past without underrating the Present, a collection of STRANGE STORIES, SCENES, ADVENTURES and VICISSITUDES, associated with London.
Romance, we know, has been accused of corrupting the truth of history; but the romantic character which the following Narratives possess, has not been gained by a sacrifice of truth ; since our Romance consists of marvellous incidents, verifying the saying that“ Truth is stranger than Fiction.” As in Nature, so in Art,
“'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view :"
but the “ modern instances " in these volumes are as remarkable in character as the notable things of centuries ago. Whether we regard London as a walled town, as a labyrinth of courts and alleys, or as a majestic city, with 2,600 miles of streets, and 360,000 inhabited houses, we shall find, alike in every period, a succession of scenes calculated to excite curicsity and awaken wonder.
This work ranges from the building of the first Bridge at London to the startling incident of a few days since. In the earlier narratives we have avoided the quaintness overmuch of the old chronicle, as unsuited for popular reading.
Here are HISTORIC SKETCHES of many of the leading events with which the History of London is chequered. In REMARKABLE DUELS, in the modern sense of the term ; and in the sketches of NOTORIOUS HIGHWAYMEN, we get some glimpses of the wild life of the Metropolis in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; and in the section of ROGUERIES, CRIMES, and PUNISHMENTS, are pictured many dark deeds-romances of real life. LOVE and MARRIAGE present us with lights and shadows; whilst SUPERNATURAL STORIES invest not a few London localities with mysterious import. Sights and Shows, and PUBLIC AMUSEMENTS, OCcupy a considerable space, from their amusing pictures of the manners of the people, and the picturesque customs and gaieties of Londoners which they illustrate. STRANGE ADVENTURES and CATASTROPHES, and REMARKABLE PERSONS, complete the narrative.