Page:Melbourne and Mars.djvu/5

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MELBOURNE AND MARS.


INTRODUCTION BY THE EDITOR.


SOME time ago, an elderly gentleman, a colonial of repute, brought to me his diaries, and wished me to put them in connected form for printing. My time was too fully occupied and my health, too precarious to allow me to undertake the task. However, he brought his documents and gave me unlimited time, and in some six months my co-worker was able to give him his book, written ready for the press. It was printed for private circulation only, and read with avidity by those who received copies.

Some time afterwards this gentleman mentioned a friend of his who had had some strange experiences, and recorded them in a diary for a number of years, and would like to have them put into shape for publication. I refused to undertake the task, for my professional practice was heavier than before, and I was gradually preparing some publications of my own for the press.

In spite of my refusal there came one day by express a bundle of books of various uses and shapes. Amongst them a day-book, a ledger, a betting-book, a pocket memorandum-book, two closely-written diaries for certain years, and a large bundle of manuscript in which an attempt had been made to put the experiences of over fifty years into a connected and readable shape. The manuscript had been offered to a Melbourne publishing firm and refused, on the ground that it had neither beginning nor end, neither paragraphs nor chapters; that it was entirely unreadable, and not likely to prove of interest to anyone.