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TO THE READER.
In presenting thee, O reader! with a work of a somewhat unusual character, I am aware how greatly I need thy indulgence, and am not unconscious how little I deserve it.
I do not seek to deprecate criticism whilst I explain my reasons for having adopted this style of writing ; I wish only to account for having forsaken the common track of travellers, and thrown an air of romance over incidents which, notwithstanding, are literally true. In the course of last
I visited some of the northern countries of Europe; and finding several things to communicate respecting them which I considered would not prove unentertaining to my fellow-countrymen, I thought I might venture to lay before them the contents
of my journal; but when I perceived how much had already been written concerning the inhabitants of those regions,—when I found that the bear-slaying, indefatigable Lloyd had given a most minute detail of their laws, manners, and habits, and that other authors had amply supplied his few deficiencies,-I despaired of being able to acquaint the reader with any thing new, and almost entirely abandoned my project. Nevertheless, having one day, with infinite satisfaction, laid down the third volume of a fashionable novel, which I had reluctantly been beguiled to read, I fell into divers reflections on the taste of the public, whose sunny smiles had been lavishly bestowed
charming production,"—so styled (ironically, of course,) by several witty reviewers, -and I could not help thinking, that although I might not indite with so much feeling, nor compose with so much elegance, still this discerning public might possibly derive from my rambles in a romantic country, and among a generous people, almost as much instructive amusement as from the simpering absurdities
of two sickly creatures, who are condemned by certain malignant stars to fall in love with each other, and to drag through an unhappy existence of three mortal volumes.
Quite aware that in the well-trampled field of literature I had no chance of making an impression as a sober, plodding traveller, I imagined that by creating a more interesting wanderer (a flattering kind of tidwlov of myself,) who should follow the path I had myself pursued, I might, perhaps, win over a few readers who would have taken no pleasure in a mere matter-of-fact, laborious narrative. And I was not the less willing thus to humour (as I thought) the taste of the public, since it left me more at liberty to employ those colourings, and to indulge in those speculations, which will be found, perhaps too numerously, to pervade the ensuing pages.
We sympathize with a fictitious character in the expression of thoughts that from a real personage we should scarcely tolerate. There is nothing so offensive as egotism, unless it be attributed to an imaginary being, and then, if not too selfish, it awakens our sympathy and