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|Thomas Paine: Common Sense & The Rights of Man|
|Frederick Douglass: Frederick Douglass: All 3 Memoirs in One Volume|
|George Rawlinson: The History of Sassanian "New Persian" Empire|
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I have written this tale out of malignity for the injuries that have lately been offered to me. Many parts, especially the former, were composed under a mysterious influence that I cannot account for.
My reader will easily recognise the characters through the thin veil which I have thrown over them. I have considerably flattered Lady Zenobia Zelzia Ellrington. She is not nearly so handsome as I have represented her, and she strove far more vigorously to oust some one from another person’s good graces than I say. But her endeavours failed. Albion has hitherto stood firm. What he will do I cannot pretend to even guess; but I think that Marina’s incomparable superiority will prevail over her Frenchified rival, who, as all the world knows, is a miller, jockey, talker, bluestocking, charioteer, and beldam united in one….
The conclusion is wholly destitute of any foundation in truth, and I did it out of revenge. Albion and Marina are both alive and well for aught I know.
One thing, however, will certainly break my heart, and that is the admission of any scandal against Tree (the publisher); but I hope my readers will pardon me for it, as I promise to make amends with usury next time I write a book.
October 12th, 1830
I wrote this in four hours. C.B.
Table of Contents
There is a certain sweet little pastoral village in the south of England with which I am better acquainted than most men. The scenery around it possesses no distinguished characteristic of romantic grandeur or wildness that might figure to advantage in a novel, to which high title this brief narrative sets up no pretentions.
Neither rugged lofty rocks, nor mountains dimly huge, mark with frowns the undisturbed face of nature; but little peaceful valleys, low hills crowned with wood, murmuring cascades and streamlets, richly cultivated fields, farmhouses, cottages, and a wide river, form all the scenic features. And every hamlet has one or more great men.
This had one and he was ‘na-sheep-shanks’. Every ear in the world had heard of his fame, and every tongue could bear testimony to it. I shall name him the Duke of Strathelleraye, and by that name the village was likewise denominated.
For more than thirty miles around every inch of ground belonged to him and every man was his retainer.
The magnificent villa, or rather palace, of this noble, stood on an eminence, surrounded by a vast park and the embowering shade of an ancient wood, proudly seeming to claim the allegiance of all the countryside.
The mind, achievements, and character of its great possessor, must not, can not, be depicted by a pen so feeble as mine; for though I could call filial love and devoted admiration to my aid, yet both would be utterly ineffective.
Though the duke seldom himself came among his attached vassals, being detained elsewhere by important avocations, yet his lady the duchess resided in the castle constantly. Of her I can only say that she was like an earthly angel. Her mind was composed of charity, beneficence, gentleness, and sweetness. All, both old and young, loved her; and the blessings of those that were ready to perish came upon her evermore.