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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 so-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 intreat : 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 sketches -I 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 I have written anything in these two volumes, either in jest or in seriousness, which I should not 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
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.