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pen, on the face of nature, without letting the mind loose to expatiate on those historic periods to which the record so graphically refers. The geologist in our own country feels himself in exactly the circumstances of the traveller who journeys amid the deserts of Sinai, and sees the front of almost every precipice roughened with antique inscriptions of which he had just discovered the key-inscriptions that transport him from the silence and solitude of the present, to a darkly remote past, when the loneliness of the wilderness was cheered by the white glitter of unnumbered tents, and the breeze, as it murmured by, went laden with the cheerful hum of a great people.
It may be judged, I am afraid, that to some of the localitics I devoted too much, and to some too little time, in proportion to the degree of interest which attached to them. The Leasowes detained me considerably longer than Stratford-on-Avon ; and I oftener refer to Shenstone than to Shakspere. It will, I trust, be found, however, that I was influenced in such cases by no suspicious sympathy with the little and the mediocre; and that if I preferred at times the less fertile to the richer and better field, it has been simply, not because I failed to estimate their comparative values, but because I found a positive though scanty harvest awaiting me on the one, and on the other the originally luxuriant swathe cut down and carried away, and but a vacant breadth of stubble left to the belated gleaner. Besides, it is not in his character as a merely tasteful versifier, but as a master in the art of developing the beauties of landscape, that I have had occasion to refer to Shenstone. He is introduced to the reader as the author of the Leasowes- -a work which cost him more thought and labour than all his other compositions put together, and which the general reader, who has to prose
cute his travels by the fireside, can study but at second hand-
It does matter considerably in some things that a man's cradle should have been rocked to the north of the Tweed; and as I have been at less pains to suppress in my writings the peculiarities of the Scot and the Presbyterian than is perhaps common with my country-folk and brother Churchmen, the Englishman will detect much in these pages to remind him that mine was rocked to the north of the Tweed very decidedly. I trust, however, that if he deem me in the main a not illnatured companion, he may feel inclined to make as large allowances for the peculiar prejudices of my training, as he sees me making on most occasions for the peculiar prejudices of his; that he may forgive me my partialities to my own poor country, if they do not greatly warp my judgment nor swallow up my love for my kind; that he may tolerate my Presbyterianism, if he find it rendering a reason for its preferences, and not very bigoted in its dislikes; and, in short, that we may part friends, not enemies, if he can conclude, without overstraining his charity, that I have communicated fairly, and in no invidious spirit, my First Impressions of England and its People.