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LIFE BY THE FIRESIDE.

BY THE AUTHOR OF

"VISITING MY RELATIONS," &c.

We live amid surfaces, and the true art of life is to skate well on them.-EMERSON.

LONDON:

RICHARD BENTLEY, NEW BURLINGTON STREET.

1853.

249. E.722.

LONDON:

Printed by SAMUEL BENTLEY and Co.

Bangor House, Shoe Lane,

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LIFE BY THE FIRESIDE.

INTRODUCTORY.

"THE proper study of mankind is man;" so says the poet, and so says the philosopher, and so says everybody who has anything to say that is worth hearing. The fact is forced upon us at every turn, that no sort of knowledge is so constantly useful, or, like small coin, so constantly wanted, as the knowledge of human nature. Yet how superficially, and how remotely from its source is this knowledge, for the most part, sought for. We look for it in aphorisms and elaborate essays, or perhaps we go a little deeper, and, generalizing the facts of history, deduce very plausible, and it may be, just conclusions from this and the other recorded trait of character and conduct. But, after all, we feel that the science is obscurely and imperfectly understood, and that scarcely anything which we can gather in so

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