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This book is the product of a good memory, a collection of interesting letters from well-known persons, partly inherited, partly formed by myself, and a few diaries, kept in a vague and desultory fashion.
Whether it was or was not worth writing will soon be known: I thought it was, and I knew that no one could write it so well as myself. Neither, as it seems to me, is there any reason why its publication should be deferred until after my death. I have said in it nothing which I am ashamed of, and I do not think I have said anything absolutely harsh of any person, alive or dead.
It seems to me that it comes fittingly from me now, when I am giving up my London habitation and my London habits. When Dr. Johnson said that a man who was tired of London must be tired of life, because London contained all that made life agreeable, he uttered a sentence more epigrammatic than truthful. Thirty years' experience has taught me what London can and cannot give; and there comes a time of life when fresh air, sunshine, early hours, and a minimum of convivial temptation are important elements as regards happiness and health. To “keep touch” of London is always necessary; to keep house in it after one has lost youth, and what youth brings, is, to my thinking, unadvisable.
My First Teacher.—My Grandmother.-An Unprofitable Engagement.-
Struggle for Novelty.— Sam Warren.— Buckstone's Dramas.— Buck-
THE AMUSEMENTS OF MY YOUTH.
In the Alpha Road.-Mr. Edmund Byng: His Liking for Me; his Din-
-"Jim" Macdonald.—John Cooper.— The Cabman's Triumph.-
Louis Napoleon ; Beauties and Beaux.–Park Riders.--Park Whips.-
-The Cider Cellars.—The “Back Kitchen."— Ross : His Song of “Sam
My Mother's Disappointment.—Government Service not Incompatible with
Literary Career.—Desultory Reading.–What “the Dear Bishop" would