Lands of the Slave and the Free eBook

Henry Murray
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 564 pages of information about Lands of the Slave and the Free.

HUDSON RIVER STEAMER, 1200 TONS

  The dimensions are:—­

Length                325 feet
Breadth                38  "
Depth of hold          11  "
Width of cylinder.      5 ft. 10 in. 
Length of stroke.      14 feet
Diameter of wheel.     40  "

MAP OF THE UNITED STATES

A CHAPTER,

Gratis and Explanatory.

What is the use of a preface?  Who wants a preface?  Nay, more—­what is a preface?  Who can define it?  That which it is most unlike is the mathematical myth called a point, which may be said to have neither length nor breadth, and consequently no existence; whereas a preface generally has extreme length, all the breadth the printer can give it, and an universal existence.

But if prefaces cannot be described with mathematical accuracy, they admit of classification with most unmathematical inaccuracy.  First, you have a large class which may be called CLAIMERS.  Ex.:  One claims a certain degree of consideration, upon the ground that it is the author’s first effort; a second claims indulgence, upon the ground of haste; a third claims attention, upon the ground of the magnitude and importance of the subject, &c. &c.  Another large class may be termed MAKERS.  Ex.:  One makes an excuse for tediousness; a second makes an apology for delay; a third makes his endeavours plead for favourable reception, &c.  Then again you have the INTERROGATOR, wherein a reader is found before the work is printed, convenient questions are put into his mouth, and ready replies are given, to which no rejoinder is permitted.  This is very astute practice.—­Then again there is the PUFFER AND CONDENSER, wherein, if matter be wanting in the work, a prefacial waggon is put before the chapteral pony, the former acting the part of pemican, or concentrated essence, the latter representing the liquid necessary for cooking it; the whole forming a potage au lecteur, known among professional men as “soldier’s broth.”

My own opinion on this important point is, that a book is nothing more nor less than a traveller; he is born in Fact or Fancy; he travels along a goose-quill; then takes a cruise to a printer’s.  On his return thence his health is discovered to be very bad; strong drastics are applied; he is gradually cooked up; and when convalescent, he puts on his Sunday clothes, and struts before the public.  At this critical juncture up comes the typish master of the ceremonies, Mr. Preface, and commences introducing him to them; but knowing that both man and woman are essentially inquisitive, he follows the example of that ancient and shrewd traveller who, by way of saving time and trouble, opened his address to every stranger he accosted, in some such manner as the following:—­“Sir, I am Mr. ——­, the son of Mr. ——­, by ——­, his wife and my mother.  I left ——­ two days ago.  I have got ——­ in my carpet-bag.  I am going to ——­ to see Mr. ——­,

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Project Gutenberg
Lands of the Slave and the Free from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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