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.
"But come," I imagine some reader
complaining, "isn't it high time for something to happen?" No doubt it is, but what am I to do?
But, at the same time, if any honest reader shall have derived more pain than pleasure from its perusal, and have closed the last volume with a disagreeable impression on his mind, I humbly crave his pardon, for such was far from my intention; and I will endeavour to do better another time, for I love to give innocent pleasure.
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.
Nor do I fear that my sensible reader, though most luxurious in his taste, will start, cavil, or be offended, because I have named but one article.
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.
But in everything I have written there is always one invariable intention, and that is to capture the reader
's attention, by securing his interest and enlisting his sympathies for the matter in hand, whatever it may be, within the limits of the visible world and within the boundaries of human emotions.
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.