Preface (1817)


        To Miss Edgeworth, whose name ought never to be pronounced without gratitude and respect, the public is indebted for a revolution in works of imagination. Delineations of real characters and manners, pictures of the age and times in which we live, (to which future historians and philosophers will be glad to refer) good sense, sound principle and unaffected feeling, have, in these lighter productions of literature, been substituted for the wonders of ancient romance, for the intricate incidents inflated descriptions, and still more inflated sentiments, of the modern novel. Amusement and instruction are thus happily and inseparably blended; and, form their connexion, more widely and generally diffused.

         I have been induced to resume a pen long thrown aside, by no other view or solicitude than that of co-operating, in some degree, with the admirable writer before mentioned, and others o my own sex who have entitled themselves to a portion of the same grateful respect. Though only one talent should have been untrusted to me; we are taught by the purest of moralists, that one cannot, with impunity, be folded in a napkin, or suffered to rust disused.