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CENTURY OF ANECDOTE
FROM 1760 TO 1860.
BY JOHN TIMBS, F.S.A.
Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty.
HORACE WALPOLE, in quoting from a volume of newlypublished Memoirs, certain anecdotes of striking interest, characterizes them as "worthy of being inserted in the history of mankind, which, if well chosen and well written, would precede common histories, which are but repetitions of no uncommon events.” This is a high standard of excellence, which few of the anecdote-books of modern times have attained : it has scarcely been reached by Walpole himself, whose inexhaustible fund of anecdote, of gossip, of lively and fanciful conceits, of scandal, and of bons-mots, has won for him the character of “the best letter-writer in the English language."
The habit of collecting anecdotes has afforded recreation to the learned as well as to the gay and sprightly, in all ages. In our time, the grave Lord Eldon left the world his Anecdote-Book, acknowledged to be one of the most entertaining works of its class.
The present work aims to be a collection of the best modern anecdote; but it has been particularly the object of the Editor to give the work a distinctive personal interest ; and while it glances at striking events, the attractiveness of the historiette has been kept in view.
The classification of the work into sections of Court and Fashionable Life, Political Life, Men of Letters, Law and Lawyers, Eccentric Persons, &c.—may be found acceptable to various classes of readers. The collection commencing with the witty sayings of George Selwyn, and the elegant persiflage of Horace Walpole, concludes with the best anecdotes of Coleridge, Sydney Smith, and Rogers.
LONDON, October, 1864.