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IN PROSE AND VERSE
EDITOR OF "THISTLEDOWN," "HUMOROUS SCOTCH READINGS,"
Publisher to Her Majesty the Queen
PAISLEY; AND 26 PATERNOSTER SQUARE, LONDON
THE present is meant to form a suitable companion volume to POPULAR SCOTCH READINGS, recently issued by me, and I desire no more, and expect no less, than that it shall receive the same hearty welcome from the public. Here, as in the Scotch collection, care has been taken to bring together only such pieces as are eminently suited for public recital-although they will also form enjoyable fireside reading--and whilst standard favourites have not been ignored, the contents, mainly, will be found to consist of pieces of recent composition which are not readily obtainable elsewhere in collection form.
One of the readings-"The Conversion of Colonel Quagg"-might perhaps more appropriately appear in a book of American selections; but, in consideration of the fact that it is from the pen of the most famous of living English journalists, I have been constrained to introduce it here. The author, Mr. George Augustus Sala, some time ago, when replying to my request for permission to print the piece, expressed himself as "surprised that, after thirty years, anybody should take the trouble of disentombing it especially in Scotland, where its public recitation might provoke some slight ebullition of the odium theologicum. I think," he continued, " that it was Lord Houghton who told me that he had once read 'Quagg' before the members of some Institute in the North of England, and that the hymn. sung by the Colonel (which is an innocent parody of an American camp-meeting hymn) was received with violent demonstrations of dissent.'
"Quagg," it need scarcely be told, has been frequently presented to "douce" Scotch audiences, and within the very precincts of the Kirk too, and always with satisfying results, as it deserves.
I acknowledge with gratitude the kindness of the various authors and publishers, to whose courtesy it is due that so many copyright poems and sketches appear in the book. If, by inadvertence, I have infringed a single copyright, I hope the error will be generously overlooked.