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P R E FACE.
The commencement of a volume gives the Editor of a periodical an opportunity of standing forward and saying a few words to his readers. All the rest of the six months, like the exhibitor behind the scenes, who causes other eharaeters to fix the attention of the spectators, he is hidden from view, and has no voice. He plans and contrives, but is neither heard nor seen.
These half-yearly opportunities are generally made use of for the purpose of giving vent to common-place congratulations and conventional expressions of gratitude. It is difficult, perhaps, to get out of the region of common-place, and above the atmosphere of conventionalism, so long as one follows the example set by the multitude of prefatory addresses with which readers are favoured. We, however, wish to regard our prefaces in another light-a light which we cannot expect to shine on those who are standing still, and which would be distasteful to those who are "advancing backwards." We are progressing, and we desire to make our prefaces record that fact. We read, that when backwoodsmen wander into the primæval forest, they cut the trees in order to mark the track. When travellers pursue their own chosen path-the path to which they hope to attract others—they set up marks to fix the past and point on to the future. This preface, then, is our mark on the tree in the great world-forest—a finger-post in our literary life-road.
We have to record for Sharpe increased numbers of readers, and to render our thanks for that, and for the promises of still greater favour which are held out to us. But that is not all. We have to do something more. Speaking so seldom as we do, a little apparent egotism may possibly be excused. We have also to connect our success with the efforts we have made to win it. When last we spoke to our readers, we promised improvements in the Magazine. An endeavour has been made to carry them into effect, and the voices of friends and acquaintances tell, we are proud to say, the same tale as the steadily-increasing circulation, when they say, " Sharpe is improving.”
Sharpe will be yet further improved. What has been done is only an earnest of that which is to follow. To compare great things with little ones, if “Rome was not built in a day,” neither can a magazine be remodelled in a few months; engagements already existing, arrangements made beforehand, prevent the improvement from being as yet more than a partial one: but the process, once commenced, requires simply the continuance of effort and the lapse of time to complete it.
We do not wish to repeat the promises we have already made-promises do not grow stronger by repetition. “A promise," said the Persian, "remains till it is fulfilled, unless words smother it.” We do not wish to overlay our promise with words, but simply to point again to the end we desire to attain. We aspire to render Sharpe at once more amusing and more instructive; to show practically that knowledge is not necessarily heavy, nor sentiment inevitably frivolous. We shall give all our energies to that task, and we do so not only in the hope, but also the belief, that every approximation toward the realization of our object will add to the satisfaction of the public, and to our own cause for gratitude, and that thus Sharpe will be elevated to that position in the literary world which we are determined it shall deserve.
MY OLD LODGE R.*
| Providence, look at a few facts by themselves,
and we must not judge of what we do see WHAT TIMOTHY THINKS.
authoritatively, because we do not see the end, The narrative does not break off here ; it which is in the future. And it makes me goes on continuously, as will be seen in the much more happy to believe that what we do next chapter ; but I have thought it right to see is only a part, and a small part, and the put down a few words here, to mark what I worst and darkest part of our being, and that think of it. We-that is, Peter Jones on one all is working for good, than he can be when side, and Dorothy and I on the other-dis he tries to reason everything out, and refuses agree about this life of my Old Lodger more to believe anything; and, in consequence of than ever. I have hardly patience to write doing so, sees wrong and misery and suffering down what Peter Jones says, and Dorothy only by themselves, without the promise of right hears him at times, and very imperfectly, for and joy and happiness hereafter. Peter Jones' voice is very weak, and Dorothy But I am forgetting what Peter Jones says is not so used to it as she is to mine. Dorothy about Hubert. Dorothy and I have all along only hears the very worst parts of his argu thought that the evil we saw in the boy's chaments, and she is of opinion that Peter is racter was owing to the way he was brought growing more wicked than ever, and getting up. Peter tells us it was organisation. “He foolish into the bargain. I do not think Peter was so organised," Peter says, “that passion is getting foolish, for he certainly is very and cruelty were natural to him ;' and asks clever, and I don't think either he is more us, “ Can the leopard change his spots ?” Of wicked than he used to be. The fact seems to course we know that the leopard cannot change me to be, that he is proud of being a philo his spots, for that would be to make himself sopher, and always insists on reasoning out something else than a leopard ; and we do not things, just as if he could reason out every mean to say that Hubert could ever have bething, and will not, or perhaps cannot, believe. come anything but a human being, but he He has very little faith has Peter, and he con might still have been very different from what vinces me more and more that reason is much he was. A leopard, of course, must have his smaller than faith, and not likely to make men spots, and must have his savage nature; but so happy and contented. He always wants to for man there is a wider range, both for good know how I reconcile this with Providence, and evil, than brutes have. Though it is true and how I reconcile that. Often I do not know. Hubert has sometimes shown himself savage I do not know how to prove that the death of and cruel, yet there are parts of his nature poor little Warner was consistent with a kind which seem to us high and holy. Providence, nor why old Sternfield was per It is of no use for Peter Jones to ask us mitted to exercise his cruelty ; but, as I tell “why was that permitted ?" We cannot tellPeter, he cannot account for such things we cannot see why yet. We do not know why any more than I can; and I tell him too that plagues and famines and wars are permitted, we must not, if we want to see the workings of but this we do know—and though Peter Jones
may laugh at it, he cannot answer it—that * Continued from page 333, vol. iii. N. S. | from barbarism to civilisation, from heathenism VOL. IV. N. S.
and paganism and darkness to Christianity, old Sternfield used his rod, and laughed when the world is going on growing safer and hap I recounted the closing scene of my career. pier and better. We have seen that the evil Mrs. Lewis did not take much apparent notice, an event brings with it is only temporary, except when I spoke of little Warner; but while the good is eternal; and that is quite then she raised up her eyes with more of sufficient to support our belief in that Provi womanly kindness than I had seen in thein dence which is guiding all for good.
before ; and when I came to the point of the I am almost afraid that what I have written death-bed, put her hand upon my head, as she about this is not so plain and so easily under did the night I first came, but she did not, as stood as it should be, and I am sorry for it then, turn up my face to look into my eyes. not for myself, as I said before, but for others. In persons of reserved habits, trifles serve to I know that I cannot put my thoughts toge mark those shades of feeling which are more ther so well as Peter Jones, nor express them perceptible in lighter natures. I understand so forcibly; I know that, because when he and now that Mrs. Lewis's first action was one of I are talking together, and Dorothy hears us investigation, the last, one of confidence. From although she believes as I believe-she under that time I felt that Mrs. Lewis was kinder to stands exactly what Peter Jones means, and me than she had been--not that she was more she does not always comprehend precisely careful or thoughtful for my comfort-she was what I mean. But that does not make any always thoughtful and careful--but her manner difference to her. Her faith—I think it is so had more of that undefined tenderness, so easy with most women-seems, as Peter says, more to recognise, so hard to express, which makes like an instinct than the faith of men. She the difference between the kindness of a man feels it rather than reasons about it; and that, and a woman. I think I owed that in a great I suppose, is one reason why women, though measure to the tale of little Warner. If you they are weaker, are more patient and enduring want to evoke a woman's true nature, speak in pain and trouble than we men are.
to her about children—delicate children espeI am afraid, too, that from my want of cially. If she has any love in her, it will gush ability to express myself quite clearly, it may out then. Women who have children of their not be seen what connection such remarks as own will respond the quickest and the most I have made have with bringing this life before fully; but there are few whose hearts will not the world ; and I must say a few more words speak through their eyes, if not their tongues, on that point, because I should not like to then. From that time Mrs. Lewis would have be thought wrong, and because I should be sacrificed much for me. ashamed to be suspected of the vanity of wish When I had finished my story, Lewis said, ing to write about myself without having a good "I will go back with you to-morrow.” Mrs. object in it. What I mean to say is this: people | Lewis looked up as though to say “No;" but I are taught nearly as much by warning as by anticipated her. I said, “I will not go back." example, or by precept. That is how I see good Lewis did not mean that I should go back coming out of evil; and if the life of my Old to stay, but I think I nearly tempted him to Lodger should turn out as bad a one as I am say I should. Men of his temperament and afraid it will, I want it to be looked at as a frame of mind bear opposition, or what looks warning. That is all I have to say now, and like opposition, badly; they seem born to rule. I hope I have made myself understood. Now What he might have said I don't know. His I will go back to the manuscript.
eye--that eye I have already described-glared at me for a moment; but before he spoke, Mrs.
Lewis said, “ Of course you will not go back CHAPTER XVII.
to stay there." That stayed the answer I LEWIS IN TROU BL E.
might have received. Lewis smiled as he said, I DID not expect to be scolded for running “ You are a headstrong boy, Hubert; I only away from school, and I was not. I found meant we would go together and settle with Lewis at home; and if he was surprised at that old fellow, and then come back. You are seeing me, he did not show it. He was not a not afraid, are you?” man who was given to evince surprise, and in Of course I was not afraid, and it was settled that respect his wife was like him. I told that we should start early in the morning. them my story, which the reader knows already It is curious to notice how from point to all through, and my reason, with which the point in life we may track our progress from reader is also acquainted, for not telling it one condition to another, just as we can when before. Lewis bit his lip when I told him how | travelling the end of one day's journey and