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THE THIRD VOLUME
The materials for continuing the Verney Memoirs are only too abundant, as, during the latter half of the seventeenth century, the letters increase in length and in numbers.
The heroic age of the Civil War is over. No later Verney plays such a part in Court and camp as Sir Edmund Verney the Standard-bearer, or woman claims our love and reverence as did that “incomparable person ’ Dame Mary. But the interest of the story has changed rather than diminished ; we have more variety of character ; and the incidents are given with greater fulness of detail. In attempting to continue Lady Verney's work I have again to acknowledge the invaluable help given me by the Hon. Mrs. Sotheby and the Hon. Catherine SpringRice, by Dr. S. R. Gardiner, the Rev. Ll. J. Kenyon Stow, and other kind friends and correspondents.
To those readers, American as well as English, who have testified their interest in the former part of the story, and their wish to know more of Sir Ralph Verney's fortunes, the present volume is committed in the words of one of Sir Ralph's letters to their old friend Lady Sussex :
• Bath, 14th August, 1640. * Hee that hath neither newes nor businesse and yet ventures to Write, had need bee very confident of his owne invention or of the friend hee writes to. All pretences to the first, I have good reason to disclaime, but for the second I cannot be persuaded to quit my interest there. . .. I now presume to trouble you with these lines to let you know, there is none more ambitious to receive your commands, or readier to obey them, than your most faithful and humble servant...
MARGARET M. VERNEY.
OLAYDON HOUSE, WINSLOW :