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fixing her name to her Work, she offers,

at least, a guarantee of her desire neither

to excite the fear, nor to wound the

vanity, of individuals.

They who move in a highly artificial state of society, acquire, however, a kind of family resemblance; and every general description is susceptible of personal application : while, on the other hand, it is a common disposition among readers to reverse the destiny of Peter Schlemil, and hunt after a substance to every bodiless and visionary shadow :For, whether it be from curiosity or affection, it is certainly true that we are apt to take up a novel as we go to an exhibition, less to criticise the creations

of fancy, than to search for the portraits

of our friends.

It is not then a superfluous precau

tion seriously to declare, that the Characters of this Work are invented, not copied, as the representatives of a class, or the agents of a moral; and the greater the number of persons (whether those who sully, or those who adorn society), that each sketch may be thought to resemble, the more, perhaps, the Author will have obtained the object of her Work, and proved the assertion of her

Preface.

THE

VICTIMS OF SOCIETY.

LADY AUGUSTA VERNON TO LADY

MARY HOWARD.

Vernon Hall, June. I Am sixteen to-day, dearest Mary, and feel so happy and joyous, that I must make you a partaker of my felicity. Would that you were here! for, hélas ! it will be three long days ere this can reach you ; and who knows if, at the expiration of that period, brief as it is, I shall be still as contented ? And yet, why not? Have I not all that should insure happiness? A dear, kind, indulgent father,

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who spoils, and a mild, sweet mother, who corrects me only with a sigh, or a look of more than usual solicitude. I am, as you have often told me, a strange wayward creature giddy as a school - boy when he first escapes to his play- ground; and yet, with gleams of melancholy presentiment, as if I felt that there is that within me which may preclude

lasting peace.

The truth is, my father and mother are too partial to my good qualities (if, indeed, 1 possess any), and too blind, or too tolerating, to my faults. Should I ever meet with less lenient judges, how miserable I shall be, and how'unamiable may I become! for, I am too unused to censure to be capable of patiently enduring it. And yet, how can I hope to find the same absorbing affection, the same forbearing kindness, that I have experienced from my infancy? But, no; I will not allow any

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