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I AM told that I must write a Preface
and never was mortal in a more pitiable predicament than I am, in consequence of this necessity! I neither know what to say or who to address!-But, as " l'appetit vient en mangeant" I trust that ideas may flow as I write. If I plead youth and inexperience as an excuse for my numerous errors, I shall be told that I had no business to turn Authoress. If I crave the kind indulgence of reviewers, they
will marvel at my audacity;-then, if I address
the public-of what may my Public consist? Perhaps of some half dozen readers, who may manage to wade on to the last page! But I will hope that they may be as many as serve to make up a jury; and knowing the leaning towards mercy which my countrymen have ever evinced, I throw myself on their leniency, and trust they will pronounce an indulgent verdict. I can only say, that I felt every word
I wrote, and, therefore, I may hope to awaken some kindred feelings in kindred bosoms; for although it is the fashion to talk much of the heartlessness and coldness of the world, I do believe I know that there is far more thoughtlessness than absence of heart in this same world, and that deep feeling, genuine kind
ness, and noble generosity are much. more
common than misanthropists will allow.
And now my fair and gentle countrywomen
my brave, gallant and gallant countrymen, I throw myself on your mercy; and who ever trusted you and was deceived?
With honest pride swelling my heart at
being able to claim the proud title of your
compatriot, I take my leave of you.
THIS, MY FIRST WORK,
IS INSCRIBED AND DEDICATED,
WITH THE SINCEREST ESTEEM AND AFFECTION,
MISS JANE PORTER;
WHO HAS KNOWN ME FROM MY INFANCY;
WHO HAS OFFERED A Bright model for IMITATION,
AS A DAUGHTER, A SISTER, AND A FRIEND;
WHOSE GENIUS IS EQUALLED BY HER ENDEARING VIRTUES,
WHO IS THE KIND PATRONess of merit,
THE ADVOCATe of mild, genUINE PIETY, AND WHOSE OWN GREATNESS, has ever rendered hER
INACCESSIBLE to the petty feelinGS OF RIVALRY