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Tales and Novels — Volume 02   By: (1767-1849)

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TALES AND NOVELS

MARIA EDGEWORTH.

VOL. II. POPULAR TALES.

1857.

PREFACE.

Some author says, that a good book needs no apology; and, as a preface is usually an apology, a book enters into the world with a better grace without one. I, however, appeal to those readers who are not gluttons, but epicures, in literature, whether they do not wish to see the bill of fare? I appeal to monthly critics, whether a preface that gives a view of the pretensions of the writer is not a good thing? The author may overvalue his subject, and very naturally may overrate the manner in which it is treated; but still he will explain his views, and facilitate the useful and necessary art which the French call reading with the thumb . We call this hunting a book , a term certainly invented by a sportsman. I leave the reader to choose which he pleases, whilst I lay before him the contents and design of these volumes.

Burke supposes that there are eighty thousand readers in Great Britain, nearly one hundredth part of its inhabitants! Out of these we may calculate that ten thousand are nobility, clergy, or gentlemen of the learned professions. Of seventy thousand readers which remain, there are many who might be amused and instructed by books which were not professedly adapted to the classes that have been enumerated. With this view the following volumes[1] have been composed. The title of POPULAR TALES has been chosen, not as a presumptuous and premature claim to popularity, but from the wish that they may be current beyond circles which are sometimes exclusively considered as polite.

The art of printing has opened to all classes of people various new channels of entertainment and information. Amongst the ancients, wisdom required austere manners and a length of beard to command attention; but in our days, instruction, in the dress of innocent amusement, is not denied admittance amongst the wise and good of all ranks. It is therefore hoped that a succession of stories, adapted to different ages, sexes, and situations in life, will not be rejected by the public, unless they offend against morality, tire by their sameness, or disgust by their imitation of other writers.

RICHARD LOVELL EDGEWORTH.

[Footnote 1: This Work was originally published in three volumes.] CONTENTS

LAME JERVAS 1 THE WILL 55 THE LIMERICK GLOVES 101 OUT OF DEBT OUT OF DANGER 129 THE LOTTERY 161 ROSANNA 195 MURAD THE UNLUCKY 245 THE MANUFACTURERS 281 THE CONTRAST 317 THE GRATEFUL NEGRO 399 TO MORROW 421

LAME JERVAS

CHAPTER I.

Some years ago, a lad of the name of William Jervas, or, as he was called from his lameness, Lame Jervas, whose business it was to tend the horses in one of the Cornwall tin mines, was missing. He was left one night in a little hut, at one end of the mine, where he always slept; but in the morning, he could no where be found; and this his sudden disappearance gave rise to a number of strange and ridiculous stories among the miners. The most rational, however, concluded that the lad, tired of his situation, had made his escape during the night. It was certainly rather surprising that he could no where be traced; but after the neighbours had wondered and talked for some time about it, the circumstance was by degrees forgotten. The name of William Jervas was scarcely remembered by any, except two or three of the oldest miners, when, twenty years afterward, there came a party of gentlemen and ladies to see the mines! and, as the guide was showing the curiosities of the place, one among the company, a gentleman of about six and thirty years of age, pointed to some letters that were carved on the rock, and asked, "Whose name was written there?" "Only the name of one William Jervas," answered the guide; "a poor lad, who ran away from the mines a great long while ago... Continue reading book >>


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