THE greater number of the papers in this series, dealing with some well-known persons and incidents of the latter half of the Eighteenth Century, are the practical result of a long conversation which the writer had with the late Professor J. Churton Collins upon a very memorable occasion. The writer ventured to contend that the existing views respecting the personality of Oliver Goldsmith, of Henry Thrale, of James Boswell, of Samuel Johnson, and of some others whom he named, were grossly erroneous; as were also the prevalent notions respecting such matters as Fanny Burney's attendance upon the Queen, the “romance” of the Gunnings, and the “elopement” of Richard Brinsley Sheridan with Elizabeth Linley. If Professor Churton Collins had not urged upon the writer the possible interest attaching to the expression of some opinions unbiassed by those conservators of the conventional who have dealt with the same period, every one of them being as careful as Indians on the warpath to tread in the footsteps of the man preceding him, he would not have the courage to set forth his views in the form they now assume.

The non-controversial papers in the series may increase the light and shade in the sketches of this very humble Georgian Pageant. The romance of Lady Susan Fox-Strangways naturally took the shape of a “regulation” story. The details are absolutely correct.

On the very day the writer meant to keep the promise he made to Professor Churton Collins, by sending him the completed proofs of this book, the melancholy news of his death was published—an irreparable loss to the Literature of English Criticism.

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