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An Inland Voyage - Robert Louis Stevenson

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An Inland Voyage by Robert Louis Stevenson


To equip so small a book with a preface is, I am half afraid, to 
sin against proportion.  But a preface is more than an author can 
resist, for it is the reward of his labours.  When the foundation 
stone is laid, the architect appears with his plans, and struts for 
an hour before the public eye.  So with the writer in his preface:  
he may have never a word to say, but he must show himself for a 
moment in the portico, hat in hand, and with an urbane demeanour.

It is best, in such circumstances, to represent a delicate shade of 
manner between humility and superiority:  as if the book had been 
written by some one else, and you had merely run over it and 
inserted what was good.  But for my part I have not yet learned the 
trick to that perfection; I am not yet able to dissemble the warmth 
of my sentiments towards a reader; and if I meet him on the 
threshold, it is to invite him in with country cordiality.

To say truth, I had no sooner finished reading this little book in 
proof, than I was seized upon by a distressing apprehension.  It 
occurred to me that I might not only be the first to read these 
pages, but the last as well; that I might have pioneered this very 
smiling tract of country all in vain, and find not a soul to follow 
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