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publishing a Volume at all; yet it will at least serve to explain why that volume has appeared in its present shape.
In preparing it for the press, I have been less solicitous to add, than to take away : but in adhering to the original Diary, it was impossible to avoid frequent egotism; so that if I should be found, on many occasions, uninteresting, or even impertinent, I fear I have nothing to plead in my excuse, but must throw myself entirely on the charitable consideration of the Reader.
The immediate demand for a new edition of “ The Diary of an Invalid,” has furnished the author with a fresh inducement to endeavour, as far as the time would permit, to render it less unworthy of public attention.
Some passages have been altered, and some additions made; and, with a view to facilitate the task of perusal, the narrative has been broken into chapters; in order that the reader may be conducted by easier stages, from one end of the volume to the other.
Without interruptions of this kind, indeed, as Fielding says, the best narrative must overpower every reader; for nothing short of the everlasting watchfulness which Homer has ascribed to Jove himself, can be proof against a continued newspaper.
The progress of a third edition through the press affords me another opportunity for revisal and correction, of which I would willingly make greater use, if I were not called away from the task of superintendence to a distant part of the globe. No man but he who has tried the experiment knows how difficult it is to be accurate. A Book of Travels must always be more or less a volume of inaccuracies and I fear that had my endeavours to weed out such imperfections been much more minute and prolonged, enough would have still remained to exercise the patience and require the indulgence of the reader.
H. M. London, 29th October, 1821.