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MARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY
GIFT OF THE
COPYRIGHT, 1898, BY
WESTERN PUBLISHING HOUSE.
Pol. Adv. Read.-2-8
Prefaces many times seem altogether superfluous; for every book, after all has been said about it and for it that can be said, must be, in itself, its own best explanation and the best reason for its own existence. And yet a preface may often be of good service in giving an author or editor an opportunity either for a word of introduction to his book or of giving in brief, especially these busy times, his reasons for making it.
In availing themselves of the privileges of a preface, the editors of this book desire both to speak a word of introduction to it and to give some reasons for making it. And they hope to compass both these purposes by setting forth some of the principles upon which the selections of the book have been made and by calling attention to certain features of the work.
(1) The intention has been to allow no selection a place the literary quality of which is not, at least, good; and to have as many as possible of the highest grade of literary excellence.
(2) It has been a special desire that each selection should have in itself, some purpose, some point, some reason for a place in the book, i. e., should (1) teach a good lesson, as “A Sermon Without a Text;" or (2) inspire to noble deeds, as “The Children of Blentarn Ghyll;" or (3) contain high thought, as “The Chambered Nautilus;” or (4) serve as an index to an author's works or as an inducement to know more of him, as “The Legend of the Moor's Legacy” or "The Sea Fight.” By this is not meant that the same selection might not serve more than one of these purposes, nor that the purposes mentioned include all that a selection might serve, but that it must serve one of these or one equally good. The fourth one mentioned has not been considered the least, for the editors feel that to be directed to good authors and to be led into a larger