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Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 [1836], Philothea (Otis, Broaders & Co., Boston) [word count] [eaf046].
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[figure description] Preface.[end figure description]

This volume is purely romance; and most readers
will consider it romance of the wildest kind.
A few kindred spirits, prone to people space “with
life and mystical predominance,” will perceive a
light within the Grecian Temple.

For such I have written it. To minds of different
mould, who may think an apology necessary
for what they will deem so utterly useless, I have
nothing better to offer than the simple fact that I
found delight in doing it.

The work has been four or five years in its
progress; for the practical tendencies of the age,
and particularly of the country in which I lived,
have so continually forced me into the actual, that
my mind has seldom obtained freedom to rise
into the ideal.

The hope of extended usefulness has hitherto
induced a strong effort to throw myself into the
spirit of the times; which is prone to neglect
beautiful and fragrant flowers, unless their roots

-- vii --

[figure description] Page vii.[end figure description]

answer for vegetables, and their leaves for herbs.
But there have been seasons when my soul felt
restless in this bondage,—like the Pegasus of
German fable, chained to a plodding ox, and offered
in the market; and as that rash steed, when he
caught a glimpse of the far blue sky, snapped the
chain that bound him, spread his wings, and left
the earth beneath him—so I, for a while, bid adieu
to the substantial fields of utility, to float on the
clouds of romance.

The state of mind produced by the alternation
of thoughts, in their nature so opposite, was oddly
pictured by the following dream, which came before
me in my sleep, with all the distinctness of reality,
soon after I began to write this work.

I dreamed that I arose early in the morning, and
went into my garden, eager to see if the crocus
had yet ventured to peep above the ground. To
my astonishment, that little spot, which the day
before had worn the dreary aspect of winter, was
now filled with flowers of every form and hue!
With enthusiastic joy I clapped my hands, and
called aloud to my husband to come and view the
wonders of the garden. He came; and we passed
from flower to flower, admiring their marvellous
beauty. Then, with a sudden bound, I said, “Now
come and see the sunshine on the water!”

We passed to the side of the house, where the
full sea presented itself, in all the radiance of
morning. And as we looked, lo! there appeared
a multitude of boats, with sails like the wings of

-- viii --

[figure description] Page viii.[end figure description]

butterflies—which now opened wide, and reposed
on the surface of the water; and now closed, like
the motions of weary insects in July;—and ever
as they moved, the gorgeous colors glittered in the

I exclaimed, “These must have come from
fairy land!” As I spoke, suddenly we saw among
the boats a multitude of statues, that seemed to be
endowed with life; some large and majestic, some
of beautiful feminine proportions, and an almost
infinite variety of lovely little cherubs. Some
were diving, some floating, and some undulating
on the surface of the sea; and ever as they rose up,
the water-drops glittered like gems on the pure
white marble.

We could find no words to express our rapture,
while gazing on a scene thus clothed with the
beauty of other worlds. As we stood absorbed in
the intensity of delight, I heard a noise behind me,
and turning round, saw an old woman with a
checked apron, who made an awkward courtesy,
and said, “Ma'am, I can't afford to let you have
that brisket for eight pence a pound.”

When I related this dream to my husband, he
smiled and said, “The first part of it was dreamed
by Philothea; the last, by the Frugal Housewife.”

-- --

[figure description] Blank Leaf.[end figure description]

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Child, Lydia Maria Francis, 1802-1880 [1836], Philothea (Otis, Broaders & Co., Boston) [word count] [eaf046].
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