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let me show you

come, then, my gentle reader, (for by this time you have discovered that this chapter is only a preface in disguise,--a declaration of principles or the want of them, an apology or a defence, as you choose to take it,) and if we are agreed, let us walk together; but if not, let us part here without ill-will.

you shall not be deceived in this book. it is nothing but a handful of rustic variations on the old tune of "rest and be thankful," a record of unconventional travel, a pilgrim's scrip with a few bits of blue-sky philosophy in it. there is, so far as i know, very little useful information and absolutely no criticism of the universe to be found in this volume.

he set his jaws firmly as he declared this intention, and lady agatha's eyes dwelt upon him in admiration.

"my brother daemons do not trust me overmuch," said he, as he entered the cavern; "but it is morning, now, and the mischief is done. you cannot visit the children again for another year."

"that is true," answered santa claus, almost cheerfully; "christmas eve is past, and for the first time in centuries i have not visited my children."

"the little ones will be greatly disappointed," murmured the daemon of repentance, almost regretfully; "but that cannot be helped now. their grief is likely to make the children selfish and envious and hateful, and if they come to the caves of the daemons today i shall get a chance to lead some of them to my cave of repentance."

we understand what you mean; but is there no charm by which we may dispel all this confusion, no more excellent way of arriving at the truth?

thursday lxxxix

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