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must be, a lady who contains within herself all the qualities to make her famous throughout the world ; beautiful, without blemish; dignified, without haughtiness ; tender, and yet modest; gracious from courtesy, and courteous from good breeding; and lastly of illustrious birth.”
If in the following pages I begin by admitting that there is much to be said in behalf of the popular notion that the Gentle Reader no longer exists, let this pass simply as an evidence of my decent respect for the opinion of mankind. To my mind the Gentle Reader is the most agreeable of companions, and to make his acquaintance is one of the pleasures of life.
Of so elusive a personality it is not always possible to give a consistent account. I have no doubt that I may have occasionally attributed to him sentiments which are really my own; on the other hand, I suspect that some views that I have set down as my own may have been unconsciously derived from him. I have particular reference to the opinions expressed on the subject of Ignorance. Such confusion of mental properties the Gentle Reader will readily pardon, for there is no one in all the world so careless of the distinctions between Meum and Tuum.