A Romance of Exmoor
by R. D. Blackmore
Copyright, 1889, by The Burrows Brothers Company
This work is called a "romance," because the incidents, characters,
time, and scenery, are alike romantic. And in shaping this old tale, the
Writer neither dares, nor desires, to claim for it the dignity or cumber
it with the difficulty of an historic novel.
And yet he thinks that the outlines are filled in more carefully, and
the situations (however simple) more warmly coloured and quickened, than
a reader would expect to find in what is called a "legend."
And he knows that any son of Exmoor, chancing on this volume, cannot
fail to bring to mind the nurse tales of his childhood the savage deeds
of the outlaw Doones in the depth of Bagworthy Forest, the beauty of
the hapless maid brought up in the midst of them, the plain John Ridd's
Herculean power, and (memory's too congenial food) the exploits of Tom
PREFACE TO THE SIXTH EDITION
Few things have surprised me more, and nothing has more pleased me, than
the great success of this simple tale.
For truly it is a grand success to win the attention and kind regard,
not of the general public only, but also of those who are at home with
the scenery, people, life, and language, wherein a native cannot always
satisfy the natives.
Therefore any son of Devon may imagine, and will not grudge, the
Writer's delight at hearing from a recent visitor to the west that
'"Lorna Doone,' to a Devonshire man, is as good as clotted cream,
Although not half so good as that, it has entered many a tranquil,
happy, pure, and hospitable home, and the author, while deeply grateful
for this genial reception, ascribes it partly to the fact that his story
contains no word or thought disloyal to its birthright in the fairest
county of England.
In putting this new and somewhat elaborate edition of "Lorna Doone" upon
a market already supplied with various others, some of them excellent
in quality, we ask the literary men and women of the country to give us
their kind support for the reasons set forth herewith.
In the first place, it seems to us that of the countless thousands of
books that have been written in all the various languages, and during
the many ages since first man took to scribbling, no one has ever
yet appeared which is the equal of this in its delicate and beautiful
touches of both nature and human nature. We have had, in various ways,
abundant proof that our feeling in this respect is not individual to
ourselves, and we desire to thank heartily the many friends who have
sent us their words and letters of encouragement, sympathy, and interest
during the past year as they have by chance become aware of our plans.
While there were creditable editions already published, the fact that
none existed just such as we ourselves wished for our own library was
our primary incentive in undertaking this task. The labor upon which
we entered was in short, one of love, and great as has been the
expenditure of time, trouble, and money in the preparation of this book,
we have faith to believe that there are a sufficient number of lovers of
the peerless maiden, Lorna , to greet her appearance in this new dress
with an enthusiasm that will in time repay us.
We earnestly hope that our judgment in the selection of artists, means,
and materials has been, in the main, at least, wise, and that such, will
be the verdict of book lovers. Also, we hope that our lack of experience
as publishers will disarm the critic, and that he will examine the book
regarding only the excellences which he may find, and passing over its
One special feature we wish particularly to call to the attention of
all, and that is the beautiful map of the country we have introduced... Continue reading book >>