Page:Memoirs of Vidocq, Volume 1.djvu/7

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vi
INTRODUCTION.

exploits are superseded by mere common-places and matter-of-fact details; it is a thing of marvel to read the incidents of a life so full of romance, so teeming with the wild and wonderful. To the light reader, who but skims over the surface of a book, and enjoys the tale merely as one of passing amusement, forgotten soon as read, these Memoirs offer all that the most fastidious can desire of the piquant and attractive: to the reflective reader, who, not content with the mere detail of events, inquires into causes, searches out motives, and philosophizes, en passant, on the wit or weakness, power or puerility, of the human mind, herein will be found ample scope and verge enough for his most meditative musings.

As a work of fiction, it would be said, and with apparent justice, that the Author had drawn too largely on his inventive powers, that he had exceeded the bounds of possibility, and set no limits to the excursions of his fancy; but "le vrai n'est pas toujours le vraisemblable;" and independently of the assertions of Vidocq himself as to the veracity of his Memoirs, we have other