PREFACE  pp. iii-vi


By Dinah Mulock Craik

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These “Thoughts,” a portion of which originally appeared in “Chambers' Journal,” are, I wish distinctly to state, only Thoughts. They do not pretend to solve any problems, to lay down any laws, to decide out of one life's experience and within the limits of one volume, any of those great questions which have puzzled generations, and will probably puzzle generations more. They lift the banner of no party; and assert the opinions of no clique. They do not even attempt an originality, which, in treating of a subject like the present, would be either dangerous or impossible.

In this book, therefore, many women will find simply the expression of what they have themselves, consciously or unconsciously, oftentimes thought; and the more deeply, perhaps, because it has never come to the surface in words or writing. Those who do the most, often talk—sometimes think—the least: yet thinkers, talkers, and doers, being in earnest, achieve their appointed end. The thinkers put wisdom into the mouth of the speakers, and both strive together to animate and counsel the doers. Thus all work harmoniously together; and verily

“Was never good work wrought,

Without beginning of good thought.”

In the motto which I have chosen for its title-page, lies at once the purpose and preface of this my book. Had it not been planned and completed, honestly, carefully, solemnly, even fearfully, with a keen sense of all it might do, or leave undone; and did not I believe it to be in some degree a good book, likely to effect some good, I would never have written or published it.