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THE

MAIDEN MONARCH;

OR,

ISLAND QUEEN.

CHAPTER I.

“ The spacious west,
And all the teeming regions of the south,
Hold not a quarry to the curious flight
Of knowledge, half so tempting or so fair,
As man to man."

AKENSIDE.

I am an old man full of years ; my hair is grey, but, unlike our poet's hero, it is grey with years, no untimely sorrow has silvered it, for mine has been with the exception of one sad event-a tranquil and a happy life.

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I am unknown to the world, but the world is not unknown to me; I am alone, but not lonely; I have travelled and spent most of my long life in another land. Some may think that I should now retire quietly, and not intrude myself at my advanced age upon the public ; but I must beg leave to differ from them, and request their attention, for a short time, whilst I recount my own adventures, and give the outlines of another more interesting and more eventful life ; whilst I attempt to sketch the character of one, whose actions--and the result of whose actions—I have been scrutinizing from my youth. My readers must not expect a book full of love-tales or romances; my intention is to dwell chiefly upon the history of a highly-intellectual virtuous being, the prototype of human nature as it should be-a history, which though I but slightly trace, I am not willing to carry down with me in

silence to the grave, lest it should haunt me there, and reproach me for having defrauded my countrymen of that gratification which a biographical sketch of a fine character never fails to produce, whether the individuals whose portraits are thus taken, and pourtrayed by pen and ink, rather than on canvass, be men or women; whether holding a low or an exalted station in the world, it matters not, it is alike interesting to track their course as they pursue their way through the many vicissitudes of life, and as, in silent observation, we accompany them, and perceive with dismay the many snares which beset them, and the apparently insurmountable difficulties they have to encounter — with what hope, and fear, and anxious expectation, do we follow, until we have traced those who have thus almost become identified with ourselves, to some haven of security.

Human nature is beautiful; and it is because a book is the faithful delineation of

the mind as a picture is of the face, that we love to pore over its pages, and there view the lights and shadows which nature sheds around it, but which are so veiled and disguised in the present artificial state of society, that in mixing with the world, we but rarely see man in his true character; that strange creature, man, who-though exalted above all others in the creation - is the only one, that, instead of being proud to appear what he really is, is constantly striving to appear what he is not.

Were this otherwise, were all the motives by which our actions are governed, and all the circumstances attendant on those motives openly displayed, there is not a human being whose heart and mind are so depraved and degraded, but that we could feel some commiseration for him, and be willing to extend

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