Page:Tales by Musæus, Tieck, Richter, Volume 2.djvu/47

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This, I conceive, may be managed in two words.

The first word must relate to the Circular Letter of Army-chaplain Schmelzle, wherein he describes to his friends his Journey to the metropolitan city of Flätz; after having, in an Introduction, premised some proofs and assurances of his valour. Properly speaking, the Journey itself has been written purely with a view that his courageousness, impugned by rumour, may be fully evinced and demonstrated by the plain facts which he therein records. Whether, in the mean time, there shall not be found certain quick-scented readers, who may infer, directly contrariwise, that his breast is not everywhere bomb-proof, especially in the left side: on this point I keep my judgment suspended.

For the rest, I beg the judges of literature, as well as their satellites, the critics of literature, to regard this Journey, for whose literary contents I, as Editor, am answerable, solely in the light of a Portrait (in the French sense), a little Sketch of Character. It is a voluntary or involuntary comedy-piece, at which I have laughed so often, that I purpose in time coming to paint some similar Pictures of Character myself. And, for the present, when could such a little comic toy be more fitly imparted and set forth to the world, than in these very days, when the sound both of heavy money and of light laughter has died away from among us; when, like the Turks, we count and pay merely with sealed purses, and the coin within them has vanished?

  1. Prefatory Introduction to Richter, suprà, at p. 262, Vol. VI. of Works (Vol. I. of Miscellanies).