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me curvet and frisk now as much as I choose
-no person ever reads a preface : “ Preface
and botheration !" is the word ;
turn it over,
and let's dive into the booklet's look at the
story.” I like this idea—yet it is not uncommon among readers. I feel as private and
safe here as Æneas and Dido in the cave after
the hunting party-indeed, much more so,
for I have no Dido here—no Dulcinea-to
share the retirement of my preface with me.
Tol de rol lol ! Now for a bit of fun--what
shall we do? Here we go-let's have a song
-Rum ti iddity iddity !-Stay, there's no sentiment in that. Let's have another, this is
“ There was an old woman,”-no--I forget just Never mind, we can roar,
we can't sing—'twill serve. I could go on jumping and prancing like a frisky colt in a meadow, till I dropped down exhausted with the sweet fatigue of excessive frolicking. No earthly being has the slightest notion of my undignified and unmanlike pranks :-a prefacem ah! a most secret preface! Oh, it is sweet to
relax and sometimes make oneself a little bit
of a fool! No one will know it-what shall
we do next? My heart is full--huzza ! yoicks ! -here we go again !-hoc est vivere !
I am almost out of breath--let me pause
let me rest
let me take the ebullitious kettle
of my spirits off the fire. Just look—the
bubbles soon subside when I do so.
-with cessation comes gravity- and with
gravity comes thought-and with thought comes reflection and reflection carries a man
back to the retrospection and overhauling of his own deeds. And what then?—Why, we perceive we have relaxed a trifle in our dignity and austerity—we have a little eased the tensity of our rank among “creatures of clay" as Byron calls us. Can't help it—let's be merry
whilst we are able—we can always cry -not always laugh : besides, there is nothing like being a little outré and eccentric, or “original.” Thousands of clever and wise men have lived and died in oblivion, because they
followed the herd :-let's try the opposite course. But Horace writes that Apollo sometimes loosened his bowstring, and Homer sometimes nodded this is consoling.
But now we are grave and reflecting; and although we feel positive that no flesh-andblood biped in the varsel'orld will at all venture to taste the nut whose shell looks in the slightest prefatorial-yet, it is possible—just possible—that some unprecedented and truly strange being may, by a species of million-toone fraction of a chance, skim o'er the page,
lightly as Camilla o'er a field of standing corn -id est, if the book happens to fall open at the place, as all young ladies' prayer-books do at " The Solemnization, &c.”—but, believe us, not otherwise.
What then?—why nothing partic'lar.
we have written our book. Know ye that the first we fully intended to do—but as to the second part of the affair, that we had no determination of doing (save our own private notes)—yet it is done. How it came about in the previous instance, it is hard to sayharder than iron ;—no matter-fifty thousand things happen in this world, for which there
no accounting :—but it is done.
The walk was much to undertake in ideabut verily, it was far more to accomplish in
Well do I remember the time when I
could run about as actively as the best of two-legged animals ;-but those days are no more—and I am only astonished, that although in my youth deprived of nearly “half my understanding,” I have been able to complete that which my unfibbing volumes declare I have done. There is no vanity in feeling astonished at myself in this—i’faith, - there is no cause.
Did I now possess the two good and straight legs which I once wore, and which I see appended to my corpus with the mind's eye of recollection, I should hint nothing at the feat :--but I do say, even of myself, that when I look back on my wanderings over hill and mountain, enveloped in the clouds thousands of feet high-down under ground hundreds of feet deep-over rock and precipice—through heat and cold