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THE GREAT GERMAN PEOPLE
A NATION OF THINKERS AND OF CRITICS ;
A FOREIGN BUT FAMILIAR AUDIENCE ;
PROFOUND IN JUDGMENT;
CANDID IN REPROOF ;
GENEROUS IN APPRECIATION;
This UV ork is Dedicated,
AN ENGLISH AUTHOR.
London, Sept. 12, 1837.
A WORD TO THE READER.
Trou must not, my old and partial friend, look into this work for that species of interest which is drawn from stirring adventures and a perpetual variety of incident. To a novel of the present day are necessarily forbidden the animation, the excitement, the bustle, the pomp, and the stage effect which history affords to romance. Whatever merits, in thy gentle eyes, “Rienzi” or “The Last Days of Pompeii” may have possessed, this tale, if it please thee at all, must owe that happy fortune to qualities widely different from those which won thy favour to pictures of the past. Thou must sober down thine imagination, and prepare thyself for a story not dedicated to the narrative of extraordinary events, nor the elucidation of the characters of great men. Though there is scarcely a page in this work episodical to the main design, there may be much that may seem to thee wearisome and prolix, if thou wilt not lend thyself, in a kindly spirit and with a generous trust, to the guidance of the author. In A WORD TO THE READER.
the hero of this tale thou wilt find neither a majestic demigod nor a fascinating demon. He is a man with the weaknesses derived from humanity, with the strength that we inherit from the soul; not often obstinate in error, more often irresolute in virtue, sometimes too aspiring, sometimes too despondent; influenced by the circumstances to which he yet struggles to be superior, and changing in character with the changes of time and fate ; but never wantonly rejecting those great principles by which alone we can work out the science of life-a desire for the good, a passion for the honest, a yearning after the true. From such principles, experience, that severe teacher, learns us, at length, the safe and practical philosophy which consist of fortitude to bear, serenity to enjoy, and faith to look beyond.
It would have led, perhaps, to more striking inci. dents, and have furnished an interest more intense, if I had cast Maltravers, the Man of Genius, amid those fierce but ennobling struggles with poverty and want to which genius is so often condemned. But wealth and lassitude have their temptations as well as penury and toil. And for the rest, I have taken much of my tale and many of my characters from real life, and would not unnecessarily seek other fountains when the well of truth was in my reach.
The author has said his say; he retreats once more