Readers in general--on whose friendly reception experience has
given me some reason to rely--will, I venture to hope, appreciate
whatever merit there may be in this story without any prefatory
pleading for it on my part. They will, I think, see that it has
not been hastily meditated or idly wrought out. They will judge
it accordingly, and I ask no more.
Readers in particular will, I have some reason to suppose, be
here and there disturbed, perhaps even offended, by finding that
"Armadale" oversteps, in more than one direction, the narrow
limits within which they are disposed to restrict the development
of modern fiction--if they can.
Nothing that I could say to these persons here would help me with
them as Time will help me if my work lasts. I am not afraid of my
design being permanently misunderstood, provided the execution
has done it any sort of justice. Estimated by the clap-trap
morality of the present day, this may be a very daring book.
Judged by the Christian morality which is of all time, it is only
a book that is daring enough to speak the truth.
LONDON, April, 1866.
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