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  ― viii ―

Preface

IN this story, an uneducated girl, who might, I fancy, after a year and a half at a boarding-school, have developed into a very noble lady, is arraigned before the reader, and awaits his judgment.

The charge against her is, that, by an overstrained idea of duty, she devoted herself to her brother, and made her lover but a secondary person. I am instructed to reply on her behalf, that, in the struggle between inclination and what she considered her duty, she, right or wrong, held by duty at the risk of breaking her own heart.

I know what I think about the old question between love and duty; but, since what I think is not the least consequence, I shall not state my conclusions. I have used all my best art in putting the question before the reader, and must leave him to draw his own. I am only sorry to see such a very important social question (a question which, thanks to the nobleness of our women, comes en visage to us continually) so very poorly handled.

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