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myself ignorant of many of the manners and “ customs of the Italians, which I had attempted,
though without sufficient success, to make my“ self acquainted with. Yet one who had left
England when a child; who had been edu“cated on the Continent; who spoke fluently the “ language of the country; who could have con“ cealed his prejudices in favour of England, “ if any such had possessed him; who made long
stays in each town; who sought to mingle “ with the natives, and who did mingle with " them more than most of his countrymen; who “professed the same religion, which, though it
may be little thought of by the Italians, still “ serves as a rapprochement ; such a person must “ have gained much information which neces“ sarily escapes the observation of an ordinary “ English traveller; while his foreign and reli“ gious education and ideas must have enabled “ him to see with less astonishment, and at
once to understand, customs and CEREMONIES, “ which, on account of their novelty, arrest the 6 misconstruing attention of most English tra66 vellers."
What arguments can more indisputably prove my right to present to the public my Observa
tions on Italy? I next went on to make excuses for the familiarity of the style in which I have addressed MY DEAR FRIEND,” (who, I do assure the reader, is no “ imaginary creature of the “ brain,”) and for the Gallicisms which may be found in the letters, and “which may be easily “accounted for in one who has spoken and read 6 more in French than in his native tongue; and s who, while writing, had often recourse to the “ dictionary to find the English for a French 66 word.”
Such had been the most successful of my trials at a Preface; and so far had I proceeded, when, having run over the best of Beranger's songs, I returned to his preface, which, in the usual way, I had deferred till after reading that to which it had been, by the author, intended as an introduction. I was at once struck by the similarity of our situations, and by the poo songster's complaints of the difficulty under which he had laboured while composing a grand preface to announce to the world what might be more clearly expressed in two lines, “qu' “ ayant écrit des chansons, j'ai pris le parti de “ les faire imprimer—that having written some
songs, he had determined to have them “ printed.”
“ And why,” thought I, immediately, “why may not I myself, in this manner, avoid all “prefatory difficulty, and, like Beranger, merely
say, that HAVING WRITTEN SOME LETTERS ON “ ITALY, I HAVE RESOLVED TO HAVE THEM 66 PRINTED ?”
Paris, 21st April, 1826.
AFTER the foregoing declaration, the reader could scarce expect that a preface would be inflicted upon him: in deference to his just remonstrances, I shall make it as short as possible.
The MS. of the work now offered to the public, I had submitted to the perusal of a Catholic friend; and, on asking his opinion of it, I was astonished to hear him say, alluding to the manner in which I had spoken of some of the religious ceremonies and customs countenanced or permitted by the Italian clergy,) that “ I should be supposed to have written for the “ Protestants, with a view to obtain their appro66 bation.” No: such motives cannot be attributed to me. Throughout the whole work I