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merriest man can hardly contrive to laugn at his broadest humor; the tenderest woman, one would suppose, will hardly shed warm tears at his deepest pathos. The book, if you would see any thing in it, ! requires to be read in the clear, brown, twilight atmosphere in which it was written; if opened in the sunshine, it is apt to look exceedingly like a volume
of blank pages.
With the foregoing characteristics, proper to the productions of a person in retirement, (which hap. pened to be the Author's category at the time, the book is devoid of others that we should quite as naturally look for. The sketches are not, it is hardly necessary to say, profound ; but it is rather more remarkable that they so seldom, if ever, show any design on the writer's part to make them so. They : have none of the abstruseness of idea, or obscurity of expression, which mark the written communications of a solitary mind with itself. They never need transla. tion. It is, in fact, the style of a man of society. Every sentence, so far as it embodies thought or sensibility, máy be understood and felt by any body, who will give himself the trouble to read it, and will take up the book in a proper mood.
This statement of apparently opposite peculiarities leads us to a perception of what the sketches truly are. They are not the talk of a secluded man with nis own mind and heart, (had it been so, they could hardly have failed to be more deeply and permanently valuable,) but his attempts, and very imper fectly successful ones, to open an intercourse with the world.
The Author would regret to be understood as speak ing sourly or querulously of the slight mark, made by his earlier literary efforts, on the Public at large. It is so far the contrary, that he has been moved to write this Preface, chiefly as affording him an opportunity to express how much enjoyment he has owed to these volumes, both before and since their publication. They are the memorials of very tranquil and not unhappy years. They failed, it is true - nor could it have been otherwise - in winning an extensive popularity. Occasionally, however, when he deemed them entirely forgotten, a paragraph or an article, from a native or foreign critic, would gratify his instincts of authorship with unexpected praise, – too generous praise, indeed, and too little alloyed with censure, which, therefore, he learned the better to inflict upon himself. And, by the by, it is a very suspicious symptom of a deficiency of the popular element in a book, when it calls forth no harsh criticism. This has been particularly the fortune of the TWICE-TOLD TALES. They made no enemies, and were so little known and talked about, that those
who read, and chanced to like them, were apt to conceive the sort of kindness for the book, which a person naturally feels for a discovery of his
This kindly feeling, (in some cases, at least)
, extended to the Author who, on the internal evidence of his sketches, came to be regarded as a mild, shy, gentle, melancholic, exceedingly sensitive, and not very forcible man, hiding his blushes under an assumed name, the quaintness of which was supposed, somehow or other, to symbolize his personal and literary traits. He is by no means certain, that some of his subsequent productions have not been influenced and modified by a natural desire to fill up so amiable an outline, and to act in consonance with the character assigned to him ; nor, even now, could be forfeit it without a few tears of tender sensibility. To conclude, however, these volumes have opened the way to most agreeable associations, and to the formation of imperishable friendships ; and there are many golden threads, interwoven with his · present happiness, which he can follow up more or less directly, until he finds their commencement here; so that his pleasant pathway among realities seems to proceed out of the Dreamland of his youth, and to be bordered with just enough of its shadewy foliage to shelter him from the heat of the day. He is therefore satisfied with what the Twice-TOLD TALES have done for him, and feels it to be far better than fame.
THE GRAY CHAMPION.
once a time when New England groaned under the actual pressure of heavier wrongs than those threatened ones which brought on the Revolution. James II., the bigoted successor of Charles the Voluptuous, had annulled the charters of all the colonies, and sent a harsh and unprincipled soldier to take away our liberties and endanger our religion. The administration of Sir Edmund Andros lacked scarcely a single characteristic of tyranny : a Governor and Council, holding office from the King, and wholly independent of the country; laws made and taxes levied without concurrence of the people, immediate or by their representatives ; the rights of private citizens violated, and the titles of all lauded property declared void ; the voice of complaint stifled
li by restrictions on the press; and, finally, disaffection overawed by the first band of mercenary troops that ever marched on our free soil. For two years our ancestors were kept in sullen submission, by that filio