Page images


In hastily glancing among these papers, now that they have gone through the press, and wear that fixed, small-pica stare, which is so apt to frighten your author, who is valiant enough while he looks at his handiwork in manuscript, I can perceiveand am affected accordingly—many errors, literal, verbal, and others : for all which written, and now printed sins, and for many more, not so much upon the surface—whether they be sins of commission or of omission, I have but one apology immediately at hand, which I shall have great pleasure in But I perceive that the gracious Reader is extremely happy without an unhappiness, and most agreeably willing to waive any apology; and that he seems, quietly, to express in every line of his good-humoured countenance, “Oh, no apology, I beg, my dear Sir! I'm very sure I-no person more som -in fact, I was about to say—in short, pray take a chair, for you must be tired, after so much rambling ; and when you feel yourself perfectly refreshed—and quite competent to make the handsome apology you are so

very capable of making, no doubt of it-you will, if you please, say not one word more upon the subject : for, as the old proverb hath it, . The least said is—but you appear to know the economy there is in saying little or nothing when much might be said. Offer no further apology, then, I entreat: for, to vary the old tag-line a little,

“On their demerits modest men are dumb!'”

-As I always listen to reason, when it puts a pleasant face upon what it has to remark or advise ; and as I am, in general, anxious not to "inflict my tediousness” upon a friend—(for, if anybody is entitled to have it, it should be some indifferent person) -I shall postpone the particular apology I was about to offer, and shall content myself with a general one, which will, I hope, be taken in good part, both by the patient Reader, and the impatient Reader, who justly hates long graces to short commons.

I will, therefore, simply and sincerely say, that I think diffidently enough of these hasty sketchesI should be loth to say how diffidently, for fear I should be wrong in my estimation of myself, and set a bad example to others. The considerate Reader will, of course, properly appreciate such an amiable anxiety on my part not to mislead him in a matter of so much delicacy. I shall therefore say no more on that head. One word more, however, I must say: that if Į have written anything in these two volumes, either in jest or in seriousness, which I should no have written, I beg pardon for it, before I know that I have so committed myself. I should rejoice to think that there was no line, or thought, or word which, “dying, I should wish to blot.” If there should be one, or more, calculated to give offence, I shall regret it. In running headlong after humour, it is not always possible to avoid such errors; but it is always possible to avoid intending to commit them, and this I have earnestly desired : if I have not succeeded, my hasty judgment, and not my deliberate will, must be blamed.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »