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NATURE OF THE PRESENT WORK,
FEW REMARKS ON ITS READERS.
THIS compilation is intended for all lovers of books, at
every time of life, from childhood to old age, particularly such as are fond of the authors it quotes, and who enjoy their perusal most in the quietest places. It is intended for the boy or girl who loves to get with a book into a corner—for the youth who on entering life finds his advantage in having become acquainted with books—for the man in the thick of life, to whose spare moments books are refreshments—and for persons in the decline of life, who reflect on what they have experienced, and to whom books and gardens afford their tranquillest pleasures.
It is a book (not to say it immodestly) intended to lie in old parlour windows, in studies, in cottages, in cabins aboard ship, in country-inns, in country-houses, in summerhouses, in any houses that have wit enough to like it, and are not the mere victims of a table covered with books for show.
When Shenstone was a child, he used to have a new book brought him from the next country-town, whenever any body went to market. If he had gone to bed and was asleep, it was put behind his pillow; and if it had been forgotten, and he was awake, his mother (more kindly than wisely) “ wrapped up a piece of wood of the same form, and pacified him for the night.” This is the sort of child we hope to be a reader of our volumes.
When Gray and Walpole were at Eton, they partitioned out the fields into territories of which they had read in books, and so ruled over them and sent ambassadors to one another. These are the sort of school-boys we look to entertain.
When Mrs. Inchbald, who was a farmer's daughter, first came to London, she was alone, and would have been subjected to no small perils but for the knowledge she had acquired from books ; for she was poor, lovely, and sensitive. She turned the knowledge to the greatest account, and lived to add precious matter to the stock. We flatter ourselves, or rather we dare to aver, considering the authors who furnish our extracts, that nobody would have more approved of our book than Mrs. Inchbald.
Some of the most stirring men in the world, persons in the thick of business of all kinds, and indeed with the business of the world itself on their hands,-Lorenzo de Medici, for instance, who was at once the great merchant and the political arbiter of his time,-have combined with their other energies the greatest love of books, and found no re