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two amiable and dutiful amateur god-sons of mine had taken the trouble to illustrate some of the scenery I had described, by original drawings. I was also promised that a drawing made by me some twenty years since from a picture of my favourite Albano, in the Florence Gallery should be engraved ; as well as some sketches, made about the same period, from the Greek and Etruscan antiques, all which have been done much to my satisfaction.
I have taken the fancy to call my work THE TALISMAN. I beg leave here to disclaim avowing any belief in the sciences of magic and astrology, although it is certain that their exercise has sometimes been at. tended with very extraordinary results. However, in the course of my travels in the East, and in particular in an overland journey which I made from India by the way of Arabia, Mesopotamia, Kurdistan, Persia, and the shores of the Black Sea to Europe, I took a
little pains to inform myself of the principles of an art which has fallen into desuetude among the enlightened nations of the West. I have amused myself with getting up this volume with some attention to the forms and ceremonies with which charms and spells are usually compounded in the East. I have copied the contents with a quill plucked from a swan which I caught with my own hands, after a fatiguing chase through the meadows on the banks of Avon, and the table on which I write is spread with the skin of a royal tiger, which I happened to kill at Madras. The book was printed with virgin types; the typesetters were all born under the planet Mercury; the burines of the engravers have moved under benignant stellar aspects; and my publisher has the most auspicious and fortunate name that can be found in the whole Directory. The paper was sized with strict observation of the planetary hour, when
Jupiter and Mars were in conjunction in Libra, in the seventh house of heaven, wbilst Venus lorded the ascendant, culminating from the very ridge of the planetary house.
The result of all this should be, if there be any truth in astrology, (which I do not positively affirm,) that this volume must possess virtues similar to those ascribed by Othello to his mystic handkerchief. When given as a memorial of friendship, gratitude, respect or love, the sentiment, whatever it be, will remain indestructible and undiminished, so long as the book is kept. In justice to the art, I must add, that this mystic virtue must not be expected, unless the gift be accompanied with a powerful and sympathetic co-operation of mutual sentiment.
I detest all quackery, and the examples of great men do not sanctify it in my eyes. The trick of Junius and Walter Scott to attract the public attention to their writings by
making their real names a subject of mystery, always disgusted me. I therefore subscribe my name without reserve.
New-YORK, Dec. 1, 1827.