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LONDON: R. Clay, SONS, AND Taylor.




AM informed by my publisher that this

book will be looked upon as a humorous publication, and this friendly warning gives me an opportunity to say that however humorous it may be in effect, its intention is perfectly serious; and even if it were otherwise, it seems to me that a volume written wholly in dialect must have its solemn, not to say melancholy, features. My purpose has been to preserve the legends themselves in their original sinplicity, and to wed them permanently to the quaint dialect—if, indeed, it can be called a dialect—through the medium of which they have become a part of the domestic history of every Southern family, and I have endeavoured to

give to the whole a genuine flavour of the old plantation.

Each legend has its variants, but in every instance I have retained that particular version which seemed to me to be the most characteristic, and have given it without embellishment and without exaggeration. The dialect, it will be observed, is wholly different from that o the Hon. Pompey Smash and his literary descendants, and different also from the intolerable misrepresentations of the minstrel stage, but it is at least phonetically genuine. Nevertheless, if the language of Uncle Remus fail to give vivid hints of the really poetic imagination of the negro ; if it fail to embody the quaint and homely humour which was his most prominent characteristic; if it do not suggest a certain picturesque sensitiveness-a curious exaltation of mind and temperament not to be defined by words—then I have reproduced the form of the dialect merely, and not the

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