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The age has passed away, when Novels delighted themselves with the picture of manners that never existed, and the narration of adventures that never could have been performed; with unnatural sentiment, and ponderous impossibility.
Time—which has been charged with such ravage of external things, is not always a conspirator against human improvement; that which has covered the surface of the Pyramids with decay, has polished the fabric of the Novel, and we now see the gravest forms of history and of life reflected in
it with the elegance of poetic fancy, and the sharpness of individual satire.
In our Work we have been not insensible to this great improvement; and if we have suppressed well-known names, or thrown a veil over well-known countenances, we have yet drawn from the life. The two great sources of wisdom, personal knowledge, and public fame, have not been forgotten; and titled beauty, beset by family intrigue, will find her virtues and sufferings in Catherine Greville; while rival Duchesses may be reproved by the heartless ambition and profitloss artifice of Mrs. Courtney!
We now commit our volumes to the world, we shall not say, with indifference to their reception ; for what author has not felt the buoyancy of hope, and the depression of fear; what literary bosom has not been rejoiced by anticipated panegyric, and appalled by prospective criticism?
But we must take the common chance of our species, and be content to purchase the