To Hugh Littlejohn, Esq.
Much Respected Sir,
Although I have not yet arrived at the reverend period of life which may put me once more on a level with yours, yet I find myself already better pleased to seek an auditor of your age, who is usually contented to hear the same story repeated twenty times over, than to attempt instructing the more critical hearers among my contemporaries, who are apt to object to any tale twice told. It is, therefore, probable that had we been to remain near to each other, I should have repeated to you many of the stories contained in this book more than once. But, since that has ceased to be the case, I have nothing remaining save to put them in this shape, in which you may read them as often as you have a mind.
I have in this little book imitated one with which you are well acquainted, — I mean the collection of Stories taken from the History of England, and which has been so deservedly popular.*
As you, however, happen to be a person of quick study, and great penetration, it is my purpose to write a little work, which may not only be useful to you at the age of five or six years, which I think may be about your worship’s present period of life, but which may not be beneath your attention, either for style or matter, at the graver term of eight, or even ten years old. When, therefore, you find any thing a little too hard for you to understand at this moment, you must consider that you will be better able to make out the sense a year or two afterwards; or perhaps you may make a great exertion, and get at the meaning, just as you might contrive to reach something placed upon a high shelf, by standing on your tiptoes, instead of waiting till you grow a little taller. Or who knows but papa will give you some assistance, and that will be the same as if he set you upon a stool that you might reach down what you wanted.
And so farewell, my dear Hugh Littlejohn. If yon should grow wiser and better from what you read in this book, it will give great pleasure to your affectionate
* Stories from History of England, by Right Hon. J. W. Croker
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00