At a time when French readers were altogether unaware of the
existence of any books of my writing, a critical examination of
my novels appeared under your signature in the Revue des Deux
Moudes. I read that article, at the time of its appearance, with
sincere pleasure and sincere gratitude to the writer, and I have
honestly done my best to profit by it ever since.
At a later period, when arrangements were made for the
publication of my novels in Paris, you kindly undertook, at some
sacrifice of your own convenience, to give the first of the
series--"The Dead Secret"--the great advantage of being rendered
into French by your pen. Your excellent translation of "The
Lighthouse" had already taught me how to appreciate the value of
your assistance; and when "The Dead Secret" appeared in its
French form, although I was sensibly gratified, I was by no means
surprised to find my fortunate work of fiction, not translated,
in the mechanical sense of the word, but transformed from a novel
that I had written in my language to a novel that you might have
written in yours.
I am now about to ask you to confer one more literary obligation
on me by accepting the dedication of this book, as the earliest
acknowledgment which it has been in my power to make of the debt
I owe to my critic, to my translator, and to my friend.
The stories which form the principal contents of the following
pages are all, more or less, exercises in that art which I have
now studied anxiously for some years, and which I still hope to
cultivate, to better and better purpose, for many more. Allow me,
by inscribing the collection to you, to secure one reader for it
at the outset of its progress through the world of letters whose
capacity for seeing all a writer's defects may be matched by many
other critics, but whose rarer faculty of seeing all a writer's
merits is equaled by very few.
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