THOSE who have the key for interpreting the signs of genuine thought and emotion will perceive that this book has sprung sincerely from the inmost life of the writer

THOSE who have the key for interpreting the signs
of genuine thought and emotion will perceive that this book has sprung sincerely from the inmost life of the
writer. His ambition has been to make it the Book
of Solitude, whose readers may learn from it how at the same time to win the benefits and shun the’ evils of being alone. The subject the conditions and in- fluences of solitude in its various forms is so largely
concerned with disturbed feelings that it is difficult, in treating it, to keep free from everything unhealthy, excessive,
or eccentric. In view of this, great pains have
been taken to avoid every morbid extravagance, and
stay close by the standards of sanity, truth, and cheerfulness.
For an author ought not to dishearten, but
to inspire his readers ; not to exhale around them an
infecting atmosphere of hates, griefs, and despairs, but
to warm and strengthen them with his health, valor,
and contentment. We grow old to trust and joy, and
they become vapid. Doubt and sadness keep their fresh force, we are always young to them. They should,
therefore, never be disseminated. In treating themes
pertaining to the deepest emotions, the temptations to
satire and to sentimentality are both strong ; but for the
exertion of a sound influence those temptations should be resisted. Faith, direct sincerity, undiseased tenderness,
and the authority of well-mastered experience, are
the best qualities in a teacher. In dealing with the affairs of the heart, every form
of unfeelingness is an offence. It is by drawing out