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Reveries of a Bachelor

A Book of the Heart

311 pages
Library of Alexandria
This book is neither more nor less than it pretends to be; it is a collection of those floating reveries which have, from time to time, drifted across my brain. I never yet met with a bachelor who had not his share of just such floating visions; and the only difference between us lies in the fact that I have tossed them from me in the shape of a book. If they had been worked over with more unity of design I dare say I might have made a respectable novel; as it is, I have chosen the honester way of setting them down as they came seething from my thought, with all their crudities and contrasts, uncovered. As for the truth that is in them, the world may believe what it likes; for, having written to humor the world, it would be hard if I should curtail any of its privileges of judgment. I should think there was as much truth in them as in most Reveries. The first story of the book has already had some publicity; and the criticisms upon it have amused and pleased me. One honest journalist avows that it could never have been written by a bachelor. I thank him for thinking so well of me, and heartily wish that his thought were as true as it is kind. Yet I am inclined to think that bachelors are the only safe and secure observers of all the phases of married life. The rest of the world have their hobbies; and by law, as well as by immemorial custom, are reckoned unfair witnesses in everything relating to their matrimonial affairs. Perhaps I ought, however, to make an exception in favor of spinsters, who, like us, are independent spectators, and possess just that kind of indifference to the marital state, which makes them intrepid in their observations, and very desirable for—authorities. As for the style of the book I have nothing to say for it except to refer to my title. These are not sermons, nor essays, nor criticisms; they are only Reveries. And if the reader should stumble upon occasional magniloquence, or be worried with a little too much of sentiment, pray let him remember—that I am dreaming. But while I say this, in the hope of nicking off the wiry edge of my reader’s judgment, I shall yet stand up boldly for the general tone and character of the book. If there is bad feeling in it, or insincerity, or shallow sentiment, or any foolish depth of affection betrayed—I am responsible; and the critics may expose it to their hearts’ content. I have, moreover, a kindly feeling for these Reveries, from their very private character; they consist mainly of just such whimseys and reflections as a great many brother bachelors are apt to indulge in, but which they are too cautious, or too prudent to lay before the world. As I have in this matter shown a frankness and naïveté which are unusual, I shall ask a corresponding frankness in my reader; and I can assure him safely that this is eminently one of those books which were “never intended for publication.”