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TO THE READER.
THE Publishers' have done the Author the honour to collect the “ODDS AND ENDS FROM AN OLD DRAWER,” for which he is very much obliged to them, as he never dreamt that any literary dishes of his preparation would ever be thought worthy of being warmed up afresh.
At the same time he must not forget to thank the Editors of the “Quarterly Review," "Fraser's,” “Hood's," the “New Monthly,” and “ Ainsworth’s” Magazines, for kindly permitting him to re-publish the papers, which have appeared in their respective journals.
May Fair, November, 1854.
A SKETCH FOR THE GREAT FAMILY OF THE SMITHS.
Was it spring—or summer? The question would have been difficult to answer, but that here and there, in the green lane, as you looked up in the great chestnut trees, the tender fanlike leaves seemed crumpled and languid, like the wings of insects just unfurled from their winter sheaths. That it was not full summer you were again reminded by the blooms of the wild apple-trees standing in the hedges on either side, and scattering a semicircle of fresh white blossoms upon the ground below. Neither, in summer, does the note of the mavis seem so clear, as it bursts out without any warning from the hedgerow, reminding one of Chaucer, and the song he heard that fresh morning, in the medlar-tree, near five centuries ago. How wonderfully Nature reproduces herself! Those notes are the same that that thorough English bird piped to Gurth, the swineherd, as he drove his unsavoury flock to the mast forests in the days of the Normans. And the cuckoo, do you not hear him? Where is he-up in the elm tree? or in that alder-bush? You turn east, and west, and wonder where the soft mechanical note comes from. Never mind; there it is, and that is enough.
We think of “ merry England” we suppase, when we hear the