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P. R. E. F. A C E


THE reader of Robinson Crusoe will doubtless remember the flutter of delight and gratitude the Ex-Solitary was thrown into, after his return to England, by receiving from his Factor such very favorable accounts of the o of his Brazilian plantations. “In a word,” says he, “I turned pale and grew sick; and had not the old man run and fetched me a cordial, I believe the sudden surprise of joy had overset nature, and I had died on the spot.” g "something of this joyful surprise it was my own pleasant lot to feel, on learning from my Publisher that in one short fortnight the whole impression of the present work had been taken off §: hands, “and left the world no copy;” a fact the more gratifying from occurring at a season affording topics of such "É.; interest as Prince Albert, the Queen's marriage, the Chartist outbreaks, and the new Penny-Post, — a measure which, by imposing one uniform rate on Peer and Peasant, has established a real Republic of Letters. So flattering a reception quite overowered me with joy and gratitude; and, like Robinson, my feelings were not properly o till I had quaffed off a flask of Hochheimer to the health of all the friends, known and unknown, who had relished my Rhenish outpourings. To be candid and confidential, the work was not offered to the public without some misgivings. A plain Manufacturer of Roman Cement, in the Greenwich road, was once turned, by a cramped showboard into a “ MANUFACTURER OF RomancEMENT ; ” and a Tour up the Rhine has generally been expected to convert an author into a dealer in ift. same commodity. There was some danger, therefore, that readers might be o or dissatisfied at not meeting with the usual allowance of real or affected raptures, sentimental lays, romantic legends, enthusimoosy and the foodle ages. In fact, one of my critics (it is the fashion now for the reviewed to retaliate on their reviewers, as Roderick Random flogged his schoolmaster) plainly snubs my book, for not being like others on the same subject, and roundly blames the author for not treading more exactly, like an Indian disguising his trail, in the footprints of his predecessors. According to this gentleman (he is not Miss Martineau), I engaged in a somewhat heretical enterprise, which no man of ordinary sensibility would have embarked in. I took my apparatus of caricature_up the Rhine, §. Cologne Cathedral and the façade of the English National

allery, and turned the storied scenery, the fine traditions, and the poetic atmosphere, of the abounding river into a succession of drolleries.

In reply to these serious. charges, I can only say that heretical enterprises — witness Luther's — are sometimes no bad things. That the animals most inclined to pursue the follow-my-leader system are geese. That a man of ordinary sensibility ought to be shy of exhibiting it where such extraordinary sensibilities had been paraded beforehand. That I have never even seen the National Gallery; and instead of quizzing the Dom Kirche, of Cologne, have admired and lauded, it in the highest terms. That I expressly declined to touch on the scenery, because it had been so often painted, not to say daubed, already ; that I left the fine legends precisely as I found them ; and that the poetic atmosphere .. as intact, for me, as the atmosphere of the moon. Since Byron and the Dampschiff, there has been quite enough of vaporing, in more senses than one, on the blue and castled river, and the echoing nymph of the Lurley must be quite weary of repeating such bouts rimés as the Rhine and land of the vine, – the Rhine and vastly fine, — the Rhine and very divine. As for the romantic, the Age of Chivalry is Burked by Time, and as difficult of revival in Germany as in Scotland. A modern steamboat associates as awkwardly with a feudal ruin, as a mob of umbrellas with an Eglintoun “plump of spears.”

With these explanations and apologies I take my leave; fortunately possessing the unquestioned privilege of printing, publishing, and selling my proceedings, without committing myself, the Sheriffs and the Judges; or setting the Speaker, the Chief Justice, and Mr. Commissioner Reynolds by the ears, I gratefully present my Second Edition, with my warmest acknowledgments, to an indulgent public, without any fear of that presently awful personage, the Sergeant at Mace.

T. H. 23d January, 1840.

P. R. E. F. A C E


To forestall such Critics as are fond of climbing up a Måt de Cocagne for a Mare's Nest at the top, the following work was constructed, partly on the ground-plan of Humphrey Clinker, but with very inferior materials, and on a much humbler scale. I admire the old mansion too much, to think that any workmanship of mine could erect a house fit to stand in the same row.

Many persons will doubtless differ with me as to the inferences I have drawn from things seen and heard abroad. But we are all liable to mistakes; and I may have been as wrong in my speculations as was another Traveller in Germany, who, seeing a basketful of purple Easter Eggs, exclaimed, “Good Heaven what color can their hens be l’” .

Should the members of the present family party be found agreeable or amusing, by the great family circle of the Public, I may be induced, next year, to publish their subsequent Tour in Belgium. In the mean time, my dear Public, to adopt the words of another Traveller, —

“Where'er I roam, whatever realms to see,
My heart, untravelled, fondly turns to thee.”

THOMAS HOOD. 1st December, 1839.

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