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muscles like other men. The universalist alone can put up with him, by reason of the very sympathy of his antipathy. He understands the defect enough to pity, while he dislikes it. The universalist is the only reader who can make something out of books for which he has no predilection. He sees differences in them to sharpen his reasoning; sciences which impress on him a sense of his ignorance; nay, languages which, if they can do nothing else, amuse his
eye and set him thinking of other countries. He will detect old acquaintances in Arabic numerals, and puzzle over a sum or a problem, if only to try and taste the curiosity of it. He is the only man (except a soldier or a gardener) to whom an army list or an almanac would not be thoroughly disgusting on a rainy day in a country alehouse, when nothing else readable is at hand, and the coach has gone "just ten minutes.” The zodiacal light of "Francis Moore, Physician," would not be lost on him. He would laugh at the Doctor's verses; wonder who St. Alphage or St. Hugh could have been, as affecting the red-letter days; and see what christian or surnames prevailed in the army, or what personages had authority in those days. The words “ Royal Highness the 'Duke of York” would set him thinking on the good-natured though not astonishing prince, and imagining how hearty a dish of beef-steaks he would have dispatched in the room in which he was sitting.
Our compilation, therefore, though desirous to please all who are willing to be pleased, is ambitious to satisfy
this sort of person most of all. It is of his childhood we were mostly thinking when we extracted the Schoolmistress. He will thoroughly understand the wisdom lurking beneath the playfulness of its author. He will know how wholesome as well as amusing it is to become acquainted with books like Gil Blas and Joseph Andrews. He will derive agreeable terror from Sir Bertram and the Haunted Chamber ; will assent with delighted reason to every sentence in Mrs. Barbauld's Essay; will feel himself wandering into solitudes with Gray; shake honest hands with Sir Roger de Coverley; be ready to embrace Parson Adams, and to chuck Pounce out of window, instead of the hat; will travel with Marco Polo and Mungo Park; stay at home with Thomson ; retire with Cowley ; be industrious with Hutton ; sympathizing with Shenstone and Mrs. Inchbald ; laughing with (and at) Buncle; melancholy, and forlorn, and self-restored, with the shipwrecked mariner of De Foe. There are Robinson Crusoes in the moral as well as physical world, and even a universalist may be one of them; men, cast on desert islands of thought and speculation ; without companionship; without worldly resources; forced to arm and clothe themselves out of the remains of shipwrecked hopes, and to make a home for their solitary hearts in the nooks and corners of imagination and reading. It is not the worst lot in the world, Turned to account for others, and embraced with patient cheerfulness, it may, with few exceptions, even be one of the best. We hope our volume may light into the hands
of such men. Every extract which is made in it, has something of a like second-purpose, beyond what appears on its face. There is amusement for those who require nothing more, and instruction in the shape of amusement for those who choose to find it. We only hope that the “knowing reader will not think we have assisted inquiry too often. We hate, with our friends the little boys, nothing so much as the “Moral” that officiously treads the heels of the great Æsop, and which assumes that the sage has not done his work when he has told his story. It is bad enough to be forced to interpret wisdom of any kind; but to talk after such transparent lessons as those, is overweeningness horrible. The little boys will find nothing of the sort to frighten them in this book; and they need not look at the prefaces, if they have no mind for them. It is beautiful to think how ignorant our grown memories are of prefaces to books of amusement that were put into our hands when young, and how intensely we remember the best extracts. What grown up people in general know anything of good Dr. Enfield or didactic Dr. Knox, or even of Percy, the editor of Ancient Reliques? Yet who that has read the Speaker and Elegant Extracts ever forgot the soliloquy in Hamlet, Goldsmith's Beau Tibbs and Contented Beggar, or the story of Robin Hood ?
Those exquisite humours of Goldsmith, and the story of Robin Hood, we have omitted, with a hundred others, partly because we had not room for an abundance of things which we admired, chiefly because they did not fall within a cer
tain idea of our plan. The extremely familiar knowledge also which readers have of them might have been another objection, even in a work consisting chiefly of favourite passages ;-things, which imply a certain amount of familiar knowledge, if not in the public at large, yet among readers in general. If any persons should object that some of these also are too familiar, the answer is, that they are of a nature which rendered it impossible for us, consistently with our plan, to omit them, and that readers in general would have missed them. We allude, in particular, to the Elegy in a Country Church-Yard and the Ode on the Prospect of Eton College. It is the privilege of fine writers, when happy in their treatment of a universal subject of thought or feeling, to leave such an impression of it in the reading world as almost to identify it with everybody's own reflections, or constitute it a sort of involuntary mental quotation. Of this kind are Gray's reflections in the church-yard, and his memories of school-boy happiness. Few people who know these passages by heart, ever think of a church-yard or a school-ground without calling them to mind.
The nature and the amount of the reader's familiarity with many other extracts are the reasons why we have extracted them. They constitute part of the object and essence of the book ; for the familiarity is not a vulgar and repulsive one, but that of a noble and ever-fresh companion, whose society we can the less dispense with, the more we are accustomed to it. The book in this respect resembles
a set of pictures which it delights us to live with, or a col. lection of favourite songs and pieces of music, which we bind up in volumes in order that we may always have them at hand, or know where to find them. Who, in such a room full of pictures, would object to his Raphael or Titian ? Or in such a collection of music, to his Beethoven, Rossini, or Paisiello ? Our book may have little novelty in the least sense of the word; but it has the best in the greatest sense; that is to say, never-dying novelty ;-antiquity hung with ivy-blossoms and rose-buds; old friends with the evernew faces of wit, thought, and affection. Time has proved the genius with which it is filled. Age cannot wither it,” nor " custom stale its variety." We ourselves have read, and shall continue to read it to our dying day; and we should not say thus much, especially on such an occasion, if we did not know that hundreds and thousands would do the same, whether they read it in this collection or not.