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« GOOD wine needs no bush !” exclaimed the authoress, when asked for a Preface--" and bad wine is made worse by apologies !”—The Publishers, however, cannot permit this little work to go 'forth to the world, even on its own merits, which they trust are'not scanty, 'without a line of explanatory introduction.
It has been much the practice to dramatize Tales, yet there must be, at least, novelty in the attempt to restore, or to change, the acted Drama to the more popular form of narrative, for the purpose of rendering the real beauties of the British stage more familiar, and better known to the younger class of readers, and even of extending that knowledge to family circles where the drama itself is forbidden.
The publishers do not, indeed, venture to touch on the objections which well meaning Christian sects - make to the Slage; but truth and good morals are not the less amiable when put in an attractive point of view, and they therefore the more rendily'adopted the plan hero executed by one, who;efoni'her lite
rary as well as histrionic pursuits, could not fail to be qualified for the task.
In the progress of the work it has been an object with the authoress to preserve all the interest arising from dramatic concealment of the plot, even whilst rendering the story, in many instances, more intelligible-another object has been to preserve all the colloquial wit and scenic effect—but the most important one has been to render the whole strictly obedient to the most refined ideas of delicacy, subservient to the best purposes of morality, and conducive to the highest sense of religious awe, and love for a beneficent Providence.
In the execution of this, care also has been taken, whilst arranging the Tales for youthful minds, to render them worthy the perusal of the many, who can neither afford leisure, nor spare attention, for more elaborate or more voluminous works; and even of the more refined in those moments when a desire for amusement may predominate over the wish for more serious instruction.
One word, and one word only, the authoress calls on us to offer as a safeguard against any charge of presumption in respect to her own portion of the poetical illustrations---part of these are (as marked hy asterisks) from our immortal Avonian Bard, the others from the plays where they are introducedif she has dared in some instances, with unfledged wing, to soar towards the cagle's path, it has not been in the expectation of approaching the sublimity of his aërial flight, but solely to mark a moral, or inculcate a virtue; on subjects where no appropriate quotation presented itself to research.
On the whole, the publishers hesitate not to submit the work to the public, in a confident hope that it will yield both amusement and instruction : but they will not intrude longer upon the reader's attention-the Tales will speak for themselves.