And Why (You Will Say) Is All This Put By Itself In What Anglo-Saxons
Call A Foreword, But Gentlemen A Preface?
Why, it is because I have
noticed that no book can appear without some such thing tied on before
It; and as it is folly to neglect the fashion, be certain that I read
some eight or nine thousand of them to be sure of how they were
written and to be safe from generalizing on too frail a basis.
And having read them and discovered first, that it was the custom of
my contemporaries to belaud themselves in this prolegomenaical ritual
(some saying in a few words that they supplied a want, others boasting
in a hundred that they were too grand to do any such thing, but most
of them baritoning their apologies and chanting their excuses till one
knew that their pride was toppling over) - since, I say, it seemed a
necessity to extol one's work, I wrote simply on the lintel of my
diary, _Praise of this Book,_ so as to end the matter at a blow. But
whether there will be praise or blame I really cannot tell, for I am
riding my pen on the snaffle, and it has a mouth of iron.
Now there is another thing book writers do in their Prefaces, which is
to introduce a mass of nincompoops of whom no one ever heard, and to
say 'my thanks are due to such and such' all in a litany, as though
any one cared a farthing for the rats!
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