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PREFACE.

han - llinchne

LEST some explanation of the calling into existence of another school-book on English literature seem necessary, I would have it known how this little book came to be written. During some years' experience as private teacher, I frequently inquired of others engaged in teaching whether there was any such work as I have tried to make this—a simple account of the lives of our greatest English writers and of their chief works. But I sought in vain. Most of the school text-books I found either too long or too dull to be used by young scholars, or so condensed as to baffle much older readers. All one could do, therefore, was to use some book of selections as a basis for simple literature lessons, telling in story fashion something of the lives of the authors whose works contributed to the reading lessons; for surely it is but natural that young people who can enjoy such selections should care to know the friends who wrote them. There are few of our really great writers who have not written something that young people can understand and love—from Shakespeare and Milton down to the “babies' laureate," Hartley Coleridge, or that king of song and story, Lewis Carroll. So, after waiting long in vain for some other better fitted for it to undertake the task, I have tried, though with some diffidence, to supply the want felt by myself and others.

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