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PRINTED FOR G. AND W. B. WHITTAKER,

AVE-MARIA-LANE.

MDCCCXXIV.

385

LONDON:

PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES,

Northumberland-court.

PREFACE.

- THE OUTCASTS” is the production of the Baroness de la Motte Fouquè ; and is decidedly a copy of the Scotch Romances, but this, though detracting in some measure from the writer's originality, cannot at all affect her powers of amusement with the reader; indeed, it would be well for the Northern literature if the imitation of these excellent models were to become more general; they might infuse into it a portion of health which it certainly wants at present, and teach the German Romancers to substitute historic character and sound thinking for the cant of mysticism and sentiment. As it is, their characters are not the characters of life; they are nothing but metaphysical visionaries, the mere spawn of insanity working upon dulness, and when they do act, which is seldom, for their element is talking, their actions are as little like humanity as can well be imagined. It matters not to what class they may belong, or in what situations they may be placed; they take no colour from outward circumstances, but are alike mystics or sentimentalists, with a desperate determination of saying fine things when there is least occasion for such vanities. One is always inclined to apply to them Falstaff's excellent advice to Pistol-" Deliver your news like a man of this world;"

few things are more wearing to a sober mind than this abominable jargon, which, under the pretence of meaning more than the language of common men, in fact means nothing, and it is not the least of our obligations to the Great Unknown that he has routed the goblins of mysticism as well as those of the church-yard. And here I can not help observing, though perhaps somewhat foreign to the immediate question, that the very looseness of style, so often objected to him, is a merit, as things are now; for the mania of fine writing was rapidly destroying the English tongue, and in time would have left us little more than the skeleton of a language. Some hundreds of words and phrases, and even many forms of speech, for which we have no equivalent, were lopt off under the charge of vulgarity,

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