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THE admirers of Thomas Hood's versatile genius will, it is hoped, find the present volume an acceptable addition to those already issued, containing as it does some remarkable specimens of his writings. The “Dream of Eugene Aram” is given with the original illustrations by the late William Harvey,--and the “ Epping Hunt,” with those by George Cruikshank. The “Whimsicalities" are enriched by the admirable designs of the late John Leech-as well as by some of the author's own quaint drawings.
The selection has been made in the belief that the re-issue of these in somewhat of their original form, and with the identical illustrations, would meet with a general welcome. To some they will be as the familiar faces of old friends long passed from sight,
while it is hoped they will be similarly appreciated by new acquaintances.
To the abovo are added, the only two dramatic works extant of Thomas Hood. There is some reason to believe he wrote another short piece, while he materially aided, if he did not entirely write, one or two entertainments for . Charles Mathews. But of these no trace remains, and they are doubtless as hopelessly lost as the “copy of the pantomime*" for which old Godbee wrote such a pathetic request. Fragments are they, and they bear witness to the skill with which Thomas Hood could have written for the stage, had he turned more attention to it.
FRANCES FREELING BRODERIP.
* Sce" Memorials of Tboma Ilood," Ca. 1.
It is proper to state that the majority of the papers in the present Volumes were contributed to the New Monthly Magazine during the Author's late Editorship of that Periodical. Whether they deserved reprinting or repressing, must be determined between the public and the literary Court of Review.
As usual, the Reader will vainly look in my pages for any startling theological revelations, profound political views, philological disquisitions, or scientific discoveries. As fruitlossly will he seek for any Transcendental specu- . lations, Antiquarian gossip, or Statistical Table Talk. And least of all will be find any discussion of those topics which occupy the leaders and misleaders of the daily prints :--for any enlightenment, Bude or Boccius, on the dark ways of Parliament and Downing Streets, or the dangerous crossing between the Church and the Catholic Chapel. He might as well expect to have his cigar lighted by the Sun, or his “arms found” by the “Morning Herald."
As little will the anticipations be realised of the feminine reader, who seeks for love rhapsodies, higher flown than the Aërial Carriage ; for scenes of what is called Fashionable Life; or the serious sentimentalities of that new Paradoxurus tho Religious Novel. She might as well go to St. Benet Sherehog for Berlin wool ; or hope to dance, at the Ball of St. Paul's, to Weippert's last New Quadrilles.
My humble aim has been chiefly to amuse; but the liberal Utilitarian will, perhaps, discern some small attempts to instruct at the same time. He will, maybe, detect in “ The Defaulter,” a warning against rash and ancharitable judgments; in the “Black Job,” a “take care of your pockets, from the Pseudo-Philanthropists ;" in “Mr. Withering's Care," a hint on Domestic Economy; in
Omnibus," a lesson to Prudery; and in the “News from China," a satire on maternal over-indulgence, and the neglect of moral culture in the young. He may, possibly, discover in the Earth Quakers," a hit at the astrological quackery, not only of Doctor Dee, but of more modern Zadkiels; and recognise in the “Grimsby Ghost," the correction of a Vulgar Error, that Spirits come and go on very immaterial errands. In the “Schoolmistress Abroad,"
a deliberate design is acknowledged, to show up that system of Boarding School Education which renders a Young Lady as eligible for a wife, as a strange female would be for a Housekeeper, with only a Twelfth Night character. Here this Preface might end ; but old associations, and
; the approach of a season specially devoted to hospitality, good fellowship, charity, and the Christian virtues, irresistibly impel me to the expression of a few benevolent wishes towards the World in general, and my own Country, nay, my own County in particular. We have all an open, or speaking kindness, for our peculiar province, as the sporting yeomanry well knew, and felt, when they translated Pitt's regimental motto, which they pronounced "Pro Haris et Focis,”—for our Hares and Foxes.
In this spirit, my kindest aspirations are offered to my Readers, and in particular to those nearest home. If there be any truth in the statistics of publication, my Comic Annuals, heretofore, have afforded some slight diversion to the cares of Man, Woman, and Middlesex, and it is my earnest hope and ambition that my
“Whimsicalities” may still serve the same purpose in the same “trumpery sphere.”
If a word may be added, it is a good one in favour of the Artist who has supplied the illustrations; and who promises, by his progressive improvement, that hereafter our “ Leech Gatherers" shall not only collect in bags or baskets, but in portfolios.
THOMAS HOOD. December 4th, 1843.