I have sought to impart this relief to the more serious passages in the book, not only because I believe myself to be justified in doing so by the laws of Art -- but because experience has taught me (what the experience of my readers
will doubtless confirm) that there is no such moral phenomenon as unmixed tragedy to be found in the world around us.
I may have gone too far; in which case I shall be careful not to trouble myself or my readers
in the same way again; but when we have to do with vice and vicious characters, I maintain it is better to depict them as they really are than as they would wish to appear.
The tortoise--as the alderman of Bristol, well learned in eating, knows by much experience--besides the delicious calipash and calipee, contains many different kinds of food; nor can the learned reader be ignorant, that in human nature, though here collected under one general name, is such prodigious variety, that a cook will have sooner gone through all the several species of animal and vegetable food in the world, than an author will be able to exhaust so extensive a subject.
How pleased, therefore, will the reader be to find that we have, in the following work, adhered closely to one of the highest principles of the best cook which the present age, or perhaps that of Heliogabalus, hath produced.
What is left 'tis hoped will not offend the chastest reader or the modest hearer; and as the best use is made even of the worst story, the moral 'tis hoped will keep the reader serious, even where the story might incline him to be otherwise.
If there is any truth in that suggestion, I must be allowed to say 'tis because there is not the same taste and relish in the reading, and indeed it is to true that the difference lies not in the real worth of the subject so much as in the gust and palate of the reader.
In several works descriptive of the islands in the Pacific, many of the most beautiful combinations of vocal sounds have been altogether lost to the ear of the reader by an over-attention to the ordinary rules of spelling.
He has stated such matters just as they occurred, and leaves every one to form his own opinion concerning them; trusting that his anxious desire to speak the unvarnished truth will gain for him the confidence of his readers.
As he is presented as sensitive enough to be affected permanently by a certain unusual experience, that experience had to be set by me before the reader vividly; but it is not the subject of the tale.
If it is true that Captain MacWhirr never walked and breathed on this earth (which I find for my part extremely difficult to believe) I can also assure my readers that he is perfectly authentic.
But when it is remembered that in Zarathustra we not only have the history of his most intimate experiences, friendships, feuds, disappointments, triumphs and the like, but that the very form in which they are narrated is one which tends rather to obscure than to throw light upon them, the difficulties which meet the reader
who starts quite unprepared will be seen to be really formidable.
Princess Ozma, whom I love as much as my readers
do, is again introduced in this story, and so are several of our old friends of Oz.