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To The Reader.

AFTER a work has been six months before the public, the time has evidently passed for a prefatory notice; nor can it then be truly introduced; there remains therefore only some erroneous impressions to correct, and to return a most cordial expression of thanks to the Press, and the readers of “Gertrude,” for the kind spirit in which an Australian's endeavours to portray the incidents of every day life enacting around her, have been received.

A common impression appears to be that a Colonial Tale must necessarily involve the histories of prominent persons, and infringe the privacy of personal affairs. In more than one instance the writer has met with this feeling clinging to the minds of her kindly readers. Let them dismiss such an idea utterly, in her case; let them receive in good faith the assurance which the Title page puts forth, that it is a Tale.

“Let the dead past, bury its dead!”

exclaims the American poet—Longfellow. Far too sacred are the affairs of her neighbours to the writer of “Gertrude,” to be rudely brought before the public, and bartered for gain. In some few cases she has drawn a portrait from life, where death, or other causes have rendered her doing so no longer objectionable; and these exceptions refer only to a peculiar nationality, which without borrowing from nature an Australian could not truthfully depict.

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