Excerpt: "My object in writing most of these papers—especially those collected under the general heads of 'Sketches of Character' and 'Social Grievances'—was to present what I had observed and what I had thought, in the lightest and the least pretentious form; to address the public (if I could) with something vi of the ease of letter writing, and something of the familiarity of friendly talk. The literary Pulpit appeared to me at that time—as it appears to me still—to be rather overcrowded with the Preachers of Lay Sermons. Views of life and society to set us thinking penitently in some cases, or doubting contemptuously in others, were, I thought, quite plentiful enough already. More freshness and novelty of appeal to the much-lectured and much-enduring reader, seemed to lie in views which might put us on easier terms with ourselves and with others; and which might encourage us to laugh good-humouredly over some of the lighter eccentricities of character, and some of the more palpable absurdities of custom—without any unfair perversion of truth, or any needless descent to the lower regions of vulgarity and caricature. With that idea, all the lighter contributions to these Miscellanies were originally written; and with that idea they are now again dismissed from my desk, to win what approval they may from new readers."