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PREFACE.

It is a delicate and difficult task for a father to undertake to usher into the world the posthumous works of his son. There are so many feelings and associations likely to influence his judgment, when he attempts to form a correct estimate of them, that however sincerely he may aim at impartiality, it is hardly possible that he can attain it. .

The Editor of the following Romance cannot hope to be entirely free from those errors of opinion which result from the undue bias of affection; but he hopes that, having been forewarned of the enemy, he may not, have been wholly unsuccessful in endeavouring to escape his snares. How far his judgment is correct in deeming these volumes an acceptable offering to the public, it is for them to decide; and he only regrets that the person,

whom their decision would have most concerned, will be the least affected by it. With diffidence, however, rather than distrust, he begs to commence his self-imposed labours with a few introductory remarks, relative oto the authorship and editorship of this tale of the first century.

The Author of “Stonehenge," whose work will be his best introduction to the public, at an early age displayed, what in a parent's partial eyes appeared to be, a precocious predilection and aptitude for the noble study of antiquity. This, probably, arose from the circumstance of his having been, from his cradle, familiar with the physiognomies of those black-lettered folios which are so formidable to the satin-wove sciolists of these degenerate days; but so loved and honoured by the genuine antiquary.—Yes! ye mighty ones of olden time, Nennius and Giraldus, William of Malmesbury and Geoffrey of Monmouth! how often has he seen you expand your unwieldy dimensions for my edification; and how often have your oaken integuments served to explain to his infant intellect the origin of that mystical phrase, “ bound in boards !" Truly, those were the giants in literature who were

wont to call their folios “letle bokes," and their quarto chronicles "pocket volumes!” But to return from my digression-my son's familiarity with classical and British antiquities induced me to educate him for the legal profession; as I had long before learned from my friend, the late Mr. Pleydell, that a lawyer without history or literature, is a mechanic-a mere working mason; if he possesses some knowledge of these, he may venture to call himself an architect.'* Having passed through the usual period of probation, my poor Misraim undertook the arduous enterprise of endeavouring to establish a practice : and his friends not hearing from himself any complaints of the want of success; and being informed by others that he seemed generally occupied; concluded that he was not dissatisfied with his progress. Thus time wore away, until he reached his twenty-seventh year; when the event took place which removed him from the scene of his labours, and from those anxieties and struggles, incident to the commencement of a professional life.

Shortly previous, however, to this occur

* Guy Mannering, vol. 11., p. 100.

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