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BROOKFIELD, MASS. E. AND L. XIRRIAM, PRINTERS.

PREFACE.

In publishing a work like the present, wherein an actual locality is given, a few observations are necessary. I have chosen as the scene of the following stories and characters the town and neighborhood in which my own youth was spent, not only because it afforded ample material for one who desired to make a book characteristic of English country life, but also from the great delight I had in recollecting scenes associated with the pleasures of my earlier years, and from the uncommon beauty of those scenes, as fair specimens of an English arcadia ; and so far my work has indeed been a labor of love.

And now, in especial consideration of the inhabitants of the town intended by Wood Leighton, I must acknowledge, that although I have laid the scene of Denborough Park in their neighborhood, they will look in vain for its site there. The events of that story occurred in a southern county ; but in order to preserve the unity of my work I took the liberty of locating it here. The nabob was one of my own ancestors, Major Francis Wood, one of the eight sons

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