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THE NEW YORK

PUBLIC LIBRARY

64322B

ASTOR, LENOX AND
TILDEN FOUNDATIONS
R

1940

Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1845,

BY LEWIS GAYLORD CLARK, In the Clerk's office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York.

PREFACE.

READER, you will like this volume. There are several reasons why you will like it—why it cannot but be to you a pleasant companion. In the first place, it has abundant variety; and in the next place, the matters that form that variety are the very best of their kind, and from several of the most popular writers known in the United States. Let us glance a moment at the contents of the book.

If The First LOCOMOTIVE had not possessed a rare order of merit, Mr. WASHINGTON IRVING would never have written the admirable continuation of it, which follows it in the present volume.

The 'BLANK BOOK OF A COUNTRY SCHOOLMASTER,' by HENRY W. LONGFELLOW, has never been included in any of his published volumes. It will commend itself to every reader, and needs no comment from the Editor:

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The story of 'Ralph RINGWOOD,' by WASHINGTON IRVING, is what it purports to be, an authentic narrative. RALPH Ringwood, though a fictitious name, is a real personage. It can do no harm to mention now, since the fact has transpired in some of the public journals, that Governor Duval of Florida sat for the faithful picture. Mr. Irving informed the Editor, that meeting the narrator at the house of a mutual friend in New York, he become so interested in his personal adventures, related in a style peculiarly his own, that he could not resist the inclination to accompany him to a.Southern city, on his journey home, and every day after dinner record portions of his narrative, while yet fresh from his lips. 'I have given some anecdotes of his early and eccentric career,' says Mr. IRVING, in a note to the Editor, 'in as nearly · as I can recollect the very words in which he related

them. They certainly, afforded strong temptations to the embellishments of fiction; but I thought them so strikingly characteristic of the individual, and of the scenes and society into which his peculiar humors carried him, that I preferred giving them in their original simplicity. The reader will admit that nothing could be more attractive than the plain and truthful style of the narrative.

The 'STORY OF THE SKELETON IN ARMOR,' by LONGFELLOW, is one of the most powerful and spirited performances of that popular writer's pen. It

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forms a succession of pictures, which are so vividly presented to the mind, that "it requires but a little stretch of the imagination to transfer them, in fancy, to actual canvass.'

'Peter Cram AT TINNECUM' is from the pen of Mr. FREDERICK W. SHELTON, of Long-Island, a most humorous and felicitous writer, of whom it has been well said, that 'no daguerreotype could more accurately and vividly present nature, animate and inanimate, human and animal, than he.' The reader will have an opportunity to test the justice of this praise.

GEOFFREY CRAYON's Communipaw Legend, the GUESTS FROM GIBBET-ISLAND,' is as wild and 'thrilling' (to adopt a hackneyed word) as any kindred effort of that eminent writer's pen. The story will

. compare favorably with any one of a similar character in any of Mr. IRVING's published works.

The name of the author of 'CHILDHOOD' is unknown to the Editor. The Essay was sent to him anonymously; but he would be doing injustice to the writer, not to declare it as his belief, that no other portion of the contents of the present volume better deserves, or is more likely to secure, the favorable regard of the reader.

"THE IRON Foor-STEP' was committed to paper by its author, at the suggestion of GEOFFREY CRAY

who had heard it with admiration from the writer's lips. It is a strange and mysterious narrative,

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and yet is in all its particulars strictly true. Its manner could not be improved.

The next is the narrative of ‘ MOUNTJOY, OR SOME PASSAGES OUT OF THE LIFE OF A CASTLE-BUILDER.' It is sufficient to say of this faultless performance, that it is by the author of the 'SKETCH-Book,' and was written and prepared for publication in that work; but owing to circumstances, operative at the time, it was laid aside, and never opened to the light of day until more than twenty-years afterward. It is therefore a truthful record of young, untutored, un

a hackneyed fancies, feelings and affections.

"THE MARRIED Man's Eve' will arrest and sustain the attention of nine Wives in every ten, who have been subjected—and what wife has not ?—to the silent but potent influence, so well described by the author; herself a wife, who depicts, we doubt not, what she has seen, and part of which she was.'

For the plan of the series, of which the present volume is the first, the reader is referred to the second and fourth pages of the cover of the present volume. .

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