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witticism exquisitely turned, or some little bit of humour genially exhibited. And the idea at last occurred to me, that it might be well to set about collecting as many as possible of these within the compass of a volume. The result is now before the reader.
Although well aware that no one ever dreams of reading a book of extracts right through, be it big or little, and however good, I am not without hopes that the Character-Classification which has been here adopted may render it quite a pleasant thing to peruse large portions of the work at a sitting. At the same time, my chief endeavour has been to make the volume such, that open it wherever he may, the reader may light upon something which is either wise, or witty, or tender, or humorous. If this endeavour has been attended with any measure of success I have my reward. A classification of subjects was found to be out of the question ; yet, in arranging the extracts, a sort of method has been pursued, which, although it is impossible to explain it here, may probably make itself felt as the book is being read. On the whole, however, my own labour in connection with the volume has been very trifling, and altogether pleasant. What of wealth it contains is drawn entirely from George Eliot's treasury; what of light there is in it streams from her alone as its source. It is scarcely necessary to add, that this little work by no means professes to have drained George Eliot's writings of the riches with which they so abound. Of course, only a sample could be given here; for a full supply the reader is referred to the novels and poems themselves, with the assurance (on the part of one who has made them a close study for years) that that supply would seem to be actually without a limit.