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LONDON: PAINTED BY W. CLOWES AND SONS, STAMFORD STREET,

AND CHARING CROSS.

TO

HENRY, LORD BROUGH A M,

THE UNWEARIED ADVOCATE OF PROGRESS,

THESE SKETCHES

OF SOME OF THE STAGES OF TRANSITION FROM THE PAST

TO THE PRESENT

ARE RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED.

December, 1853.

SOME of the pieces in these volumes have been printed before, chiefly in periodical works. Others are new. They are here presented, as far as the nature of the subjects will admit, in a chronological succession. This arrangement has involved many alterations in some of the republished articles.

It is scarcely necessary to indicate the publications in which a portion of these slight things have previously appeared, except to say that some of the shorter pieces have had the advantage of the popularity of Mr. Dickens'' Household Words.'

The title, Once upon a Time,' which, as the commencement of Old Wives' Tales,' lingers in our childish memories, may suggest something of the unpretending nature of these Sketches. I think they are not untrue representations of other states of society; but they have no pretensions to the completeness which History, even Domestic History, demands. They are Glimpses of the Past. Yet as such they may have some value beyond that of amusing a vacant hour. The Past is a solemn word :

66 The Past, Big with deep warnings of the proper tenure By which thou hast the earth: the Present for thee Shall have distinct and trembling beauty, seen Beside that Past's own shade.”

BROWNING, Paracelsus.

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