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WITH the dedication of this work, pray accept my earnest thanks for the high honor you have done me, in thus affording my first novel the protection of your distinguished name; and suffer me, at the same time, to express the sincere gratification I feel in embracing this opportunity of acknowledging-not altogether as they deserve, but in the best way that I am able-the wise counsel and friendly interest to which I am so deeply indebted.

The subject of the tale was suggested to me more than two years since by a literary friend, who fancied that it was one I might succeed in rendering amusing; and it has been written during the intervals of long and severe illnesses of the variable spirits produced by which, it bears, I fear, despite my best endeavors, but too much evidence.

In you I know that I shall find an indulgent judge; and in throwing myself upon the mercy of an English public, I can only entreat my readers to believe that, whatever faults may disfigure this my first attempt at novelwriting, the merit of an earnest wish to please them has not been wanting.

The form of an autobiography was chosen as that best suited to the subject; because it afforded the author a better opportunity of expressing in the most natural way, the emotions and experiences of a girl placed in the difficult circumstances of Florence Sackville. My first intention was to have taken leave of the heroine upon her accession to fortune; but in this I was overruled by the advice of those whom I felt it an honor to obey, and therefore the catastrophe was altered to its present form.

With heartfelt prayers for the peaceful prolongation of a long and honored life, passed in the enjoyment of those rare intellectual powers which have shed an undying lustre over English literature, believe me to remain,

My dear Sir,

Your most faithful and obliged servant,


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