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  ― iii ―

Preface to the Second Edition

THE appearance of the present edition has been somewhat retarded by the absence of the author in Italy.

Advantage, however, has been taken of the interval to correct a few clerical errors which escaped notice in the revision of the first edition, and to make some slight omissions in one or two passages in the course of the book, which simplify the construction, without impairing the interest of the story.

In view of the favourable reception which has been on the whole accorded to this work by the leading critical organs, one is reluctant to take exception to adverse criticism. But in one instance an able and otherwise appreciative critic implied that the plot of the story was in some degree derived from that of another Australian tale which appeared


  ― iv ―
earlier in the same season. It is right to state, therefore, that though the book was not published until July, 1890, the MS. was in the publisher's hands from November, 1889, that is to say for several months before the other book came out.

July, 1891.

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