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Lost Sir Massingberd, v. 1/2 by James Payn

Produced by Andrea Ball, Christine Bell & marc D'Hooghe at http://www.freeliterature.org (From images generously made available by the Internet Archive.)

LOST SIR MASSINGBERD.

A Romance of Real Life.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. I.

LONDON:

SAMPSON LOW, SON, AND MARSTON,

14, LUDGATE HILL.

1864.

The uncommon favour with which the story of "LOST SIR MASSINGBERD" has been received while appearing in the columns of a popular periodical, has induced its author to solicit the suffrages of that more critical Public who "hate to read novels bit by bit."

CONTENTS.

PREFATORY

CHAPTER I. GIANT DESPAIR CHAPTER II. MY FIRST INTERVIEW CHAPTER III. THE DREAM BY THE BROOK CHAPTER IV. THE DUMB WITNESS CHAPTER V. THE STATE BEDROOM CHAPTER VI. HEAD OVER HEELS CHAPTER VII. AT THE DOVECOT CHAPTER VIII. MEETING HIS MATCH CHAPTER IX. MR. HARVEY GERARD CHAPTER X. LOVE THE LIFEGIVER CHAPTER XI. WOOING BY PROXY CHAPTER XII. THE COUNCIL OF WAR CHAPTER XIII. THE GIPSY CAMP CHAPTER XIV. WHY SIR MASSINGBERD DID NOT MARRY CHAPTER XV. THE REASON CONTINUED CHAPTER XVI. I DO SIR MASSINGBERD A LITTLE FAVOUR

LOST SIR MASSINGBERD.

PREFATORY.

In these days, when every man and woman becomes an author upon the least provocation, it is not necessary to make an apology for appearing in print. Perhaps there was always something affected in those prefatorial justifications; although they did disclaim any literary merit, it is probable that the writers would have been indignant enough had the critics taken them at their word; and perhaps the publication was not entirely owing to "the warmly-expressed wishes of numerous friends." But, at all events, we have done with all such excuses now. Not to have written anything for the press, is no small claim to being an Original. Neither sex nor age seems to exempt from the universal passion of authorship. My niece, Jessie (aetat. sixteen), writes heart-rending narratives for the "Liliputian Magazine;" her brother, whom I have always looked upon as a violent, healthy hobbledehoy whose highest virtue was Endurance, and whose darkest experience was Skittles, produces the most thrilling romances for the "Home Companion." Even my housekeeper makes no secret of forwarding her most admired recipes to the "Family Intelligencer;" while my stable-boy, it is well known, is a prominent poetical contributor to the "Turf Times," having also the gift of prophecy with reference to the winner of all the racing events of any importance. And yet, I believe, my household is not more addicted to publication than those of my neighbours.

What becomes of authors by profession in such a state of things literary as this, I shudder to think; I feel it almost a sin to add one more to the long list of competitors with whom they have to struggle; but still, if I do not now set down the story which I have in my mind, I am certain that, sooner or later, my nephew will do so for me, and very likely spoil it in the telling. He writes in a snappy, jerky, pyrotechnic way, which they tell me is now popular, but which is not suited to my old-fashioned taste; and although he dare not make, at present, what he calls "copy" of the stories with which I am perhaps too much accustomed to regale his ears, he keeps a note-book, and a new terror is added to Death from that circumstance. When I am gone, he will publish my best things, under some such title as "After-dinner Tales," I feel certain; and they will appear at the railway book-stalls in a yellow cover bordered with red, or with even a frontispiece displaying a counterfeit and libellous presentment of his departed relative in the very act of narration. The gem of that collection would undoubtedly be the story which I am now about to anticipate the young gentleman by relating myself. If I am somewhat old-world in my style, perhaps it may be forgiven me, in consideration of the reality of the circumstances narrated, and the very strong interest which I do not doubt they will arouse.


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