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none the less kindly; nay, the observer will perhaps regard the disguise as an oblique compliment to his powers of insight, and his attention may thus be better secured than had the subject worn its every-day dress. Seriously, the most matter-of-fact life has moods when the light of romance seems to gild its earthern chimney-pots into fairy minarets; and were the story-teller but sure of laying his hands on the true gold, perhaps the more the story had of it, the better!

Here, however, comes in the grand difficulty; fact nor fancy is often reproduced in true colours; and while attempting justly to combine life's elements, the writer has to beware that they be not mere cheap imitations thereof. Not seldom does it happen that what he proffers as genuine arcana of imagination and philosophy, affects the reader as a dose of Hieroglyphics and Balderdash.—Nevertheless, the first duty of the fiction-monger--no less than of

the photographic artist doomed to produce successful portraits of children-in-arms-is, to be amusing ; to shrink at no shift which shall beguile the patient into procrastinating escape until the critical moment be gone by. The gentle reader will not too sternly set his face against such artifices; but, so they go not the length of fantastically presenting phenomena inexplicable upon any common-sense hypothesis,

- he will, rather, lend himself to his own beguilement. The performance once over, let him, if so inclined, strip the feathers from the flights of imagination, and wash the colour from the incidents; if aught, save the driest and most ordinary matters-of-fact reward his researches, then let him be offended !

De te Fabula does not apply here, my dear friend; for

you

will show me more indulgence than I have skill to demand. And, should you find matter of interest in this book, yours, rather than the author's, will be the merit. As the beauty of nature is from the eye that looks upon her, so would the story be dull and barren, save for the life and colour of the reader's sympathy.—Yours most sincerely,

Julian HAWTHORNE.

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