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The long delay which has occurred in the publication of “ Woman and her Master" is solely attributable to an infirmity of vision; its ultimate appearance in a divided form has been the result of the same painful affliction ;-the necessity of temporary repose having been suggested by one, to whose eminent skill and unremitting attention I stand indebted for the comparative recovery of the most precious of the organs.
The disadvantage of dividing the work into two distinct publications is manifest, particularly as its strict adherence to chronological order obliged me to bring before the public that portion which, by its remoter associations, may be deemed the least interesting.
Still, by stopping short upon the very frontier of a new epoch in society (the land of promise to the graphic historian), I have yet followed the natural break in history itself. I have further endeavoured to give to the two first volumes as much of the design of the entire work as will form something like a distinct whole, as I shall preserve in the two last the same character of unity and independence. As I have taken the advice of the fabulist, “ Mon ami le belier, commencez au commencement,” and begun with the beginning, it is my hope and my intention to conclude with the conclusion. And, should that light be spared me, without which none work cheerily, and few (save the inspired) work at all, I shall only stop at that point which Time itself has but just touchedthe age we live in !
To that age and its glorious spirit of inquiry I appeal, in the full confidence that it will “ hear me for my cause;" for, in spite of the consecrated axioms of the “ wisdom of our ancestors,” the true “age of chivalry,” where woman is concerned, is that in which the highest developement of science bears evidence to her natural claims to all the social benefits and civil rights which, in darker and more unlettered ages, have been assumed, under the supremacy of physical force, to have been the exclusive prerogative of her master.
CONTENTS OF VOL. I.