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PREFACE.

ONE drachma for a good book, and a thousand talents for a true friend :-
So standeth the market where scarce is ever costly :
Yoa, were the diamonds of Golconda common as shingles on the shore,
A ripe apple would ransom kings before a shining stone :
And so, were a wholesome book as rare as an honest friend,
To choose the book be mine : the friend let another take.
For altered looks, and jealousies, and fears, have none entrance there :
The silent volume listeneth well, and speaketh when thou listest :
It praiseth thy good without envy,

it chideth thine evil without malice,
It is to thee thy waiting slave, and thine unbending teacher :
Need to humor no caprice, need to bear with no infirmity ;
Thy sin, thy slander, or neglect, chilleth not, quencheth not, its love;
Unalterably speaketh it the truth, warped nor by error nor interest;
For a good book is the best of friends, the same to-day and for ever.

TUPPER.

Thus kindly, we trust, our little volume will be received. Not sparkling with wit, nor charming with its romance, it goes forth to friendly hands, seeking the humbler welcome of the “good book.” And, although it bears upon its face the compliments of the present season, and seeks to be the expression of affection from the loving to the loved, during the ensuing holidays, still it covets a more perma

nent regard; hoping to outlive the occasion which

gave

it birth, and, in its intrinsic excellence, toʻremain " the same to-day and for ever.” It affects no superiority over its contemporaries in the cultivation of the same delightful field, and thrusts in its sickle, not because the harvest is not well gathered by others, but because it is “large,' and, compared with the demand, “the laborers are few.”

A very grateful change has, of late, taken place in the contents of these annual gift books; the chief excellence of these works, formerly, consisting in the elegance of their mechanical execution; but, within the last few seasons, while the publisher has in no degree limited his liberality upon the external beauty of his publication, literary matter of the highest order and of permanent value, has been secured for the table of contents.

The editor assumes no farther credit in the preparation of the present work, than for diligence and success in securing the co-operation of so many accomplished correspondents, through whose valuable aid he is happy to be able to offer bis friends so entertaining and profitable a recompense for their patronage. We have sought, and have the vanity to believe that we have succeeded in securing, a sufficient variety in its contents to render our volume a welcome gift to all classes, and to both the old and young.

In behalf of the friendly donors, who shall choose to make us the chosen oracle of their kind regards during these joyful annual festivities, we wish all our readers a “Merry Christmas," or a “Happy New Year,” and a return of the same cheerful greetings for many revolving seasons yet to come; and, above all, we desire, in their behalf, a happier welcome and a diviner benediction, in an immortal world, when time, with them, shall be no

more.

ROXBURY, AUGUST, 1850.

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