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promise a command over the world's most enviable positions.
There are some who, though dissatisfied with their condition, and without the materials of ordinary content, yet make no effort towards a better lot; but this is a class scarcely worth considering, in our country at least.
The number of those among us who feel the disadvantages of a wrong position or an overcrowded arena, and who are full of determination to remedy the evil, and only deliberating upon the best mode of accomplishing this, is an immense one larger probably at the present moment than ever before in the history of our nation. To this fact is to be ascribed the interest with which all works touching upon the condition of this great, growing Western country-this peculiar field for the energetic and the enterprising - have been regarded, for some years past.
It was not without an especial reference to this state of things that these simple and unpretending sketches were undertaken. Their form was scarcely a matter of choice. Politics and statistics are work for wiser heads, and abler hands, and more extensive information. But views of society have been thought to come legitimately within the feminine province, and for this purpose the humblest form has been adopted; that which ventures only upon a general outline of truth, with a saving veil of acknowledged fiction.
When I began this second attempt to note some of the peculiarities of the Western settler's life, it was my intention to have dwelt rather more upon such portions of our experience as related principally to our own simple selves. But before I had proceeded far I made the discovery that the day had gone by for such plain personal reminiscences as filled the pages of "A New Home." A stranger, feeling as a stranger, equally indifferent to all, writes with a freedom which a friend and neighbor of several years' standing must renounce entirely. It is impossible to describe minutely our own personal experience without giving in some degree the experience of others; and this is a matter requiring careful handling, to say the least. We may say of ourselves what we must not say of others. We may describe our own log-house, but woe betide us if we should make it appear that any body else lived in one! We may tell of our own blunders, but we must beware how we touch upon the blunders of others.
So that upon the whole I thought I should better succeed in my object of giving a fair and truthful picture of our present condition, if I allowed general inferences to be deduced by the reader from such recollections of real life as I might without offence lay before him. That my views are drawn from real life need not be doubted, when it is considered that a very monotonous course of daily cares, such as falls to the lot of
most housekeepers in this region, is not likely to brighten the inventive faculties, or to give wings to the fancy.
If it should be thought that such a state of things as I have pictured is not very enticing to the educated and refined, I can only say that the emigration of a few such persons as the objectors themselves would soon add all that is desirable. Every natural advantage is already ours, and the foundation for the best and most substantial state of society is laid in an unusually orderly and moral population. I wished to be fair. If I had written as a partisan, the addition of a few shades of dashing color would have made a more glowing picture, but it would have been at the expense of truth.
I now take my leave for the present, only remarking that the want of continuity observable in these sketches is to be ascribed, in part at least, to their having been written at long intervals, and under every variety of hinderance.
Leaving to the last what might more properly have been said at first, I entreat the reader not to puzzle himself by endeavoring to draw the line between the true and the imaginary; but to surrender himself to the writer, and go with her in good faith; looking only for such amusement or instruction as may be found in what professes not to be a narrative of facts, but only the PICTURE OF AN IDEA.
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LIFE BY LOCKHART.
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LIFE AND WRITINGS
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
VOLS. I to VII, Memoirs of the Life of Scott, by J. G. LOCKHART.
Heart of Mid-Lothian, 41, 42, Chronicles of the Canon
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