Xll PREFACE. must remain for the present a mystery. All that can be promised is, that it shall not be in three volumes, unless the story should require it a forbearance of some merit from an author who has been sojourning in a land where literary men are prone to write libraries. In the mean time, may " Tylney Hall " obtain many fresh readers, and may the old ones find the text quite as new to them as it was to myself in going again through the proofs. London, July, 1 840. T.H.
INTRODUCTION. I WAS sitting snugly in my sanctorum, with the remains of a bottle of port wine before me, wherewith, according to custom, I had dismissed a new work from the stocks, when, after a preliminary tap at the door, two strangers presented themselves, and, with much bowing and many invitations, were induced to take chairs on either side of the table. I saw them individually glance at the shallow pool of purple that occupied the bottom of the decanter ; and, with my usual sense of the duties of hospitality, before they had done hemming and clearing their throats, preparatory to declaring the purport of their visit, a fresh magnum was glowing through the crystal. Whilst they were enjoying and commending the raciness of a celebrated vintage, 1 took the opportunity of scrutinising my guests ; and, certainly, no two human beings could present more essential differ- ences both in face and figure. One was tall and thin, with a preposterously long body and a lugubrious pale face ; whereas the other was short and punchy, with a round, shining, chubby, ruddy countenance, that did not seem to have kept pace with his age, but had remained a boy's head on a man's shoulders. He spoke smartly/with a brisk, merry voice, occasionally breaking into a joyous chuckle, without any apparent cause but the mere exuberance of animal spirits. His companion, on the contrary, had a slow, deep, melancholy drawl, with a touch of the conven- ticle twang in it, and he indulged in periodical suspirations as regularly recurring as the pattern of an area-railing, ten breathings and then a sigh, ten more and another sigh, and so on. I could hardly help comparing myself, with all due modesty as to talents, to Garrick between Tragedy and Comedy, in the celebrated picture by Sir Joshua Reynolds. One peculiarity forcibly struck my notice ; af every sip of his wine the little fellow's eyes brightened and twinkled with greater glee, till every instant I expected he would