Page vii of the Preface to the  Clarke, Beeton, & Co. Reprint, Version 1
I, for my part, am delighted to make acquaintance with my American brethren, my kinsmen, if not exactly my countrymen, as brought before us in the following pages—to inspect, for instance, all the details of Miss Fortune Emerson's domestic management, to sit down before the great and blazing fire in her large kitchen, where the air seemed to be full of coffee and buckwheat cakes, and where the plentiful breakfast-table was spread out for Mr. Van Brunt and herself, or to accompany John, and Alice, and Ellen on the sleigh, as it skimmed over the smooth and frozen surface of the spotless snow, with the blue sky above as clear as if clouds had never dimmed or crossed it, and where everything looked so beautiful in the morning sunshine, and to arrive with them before dusk at Mr. Marshman's mansion, and to be introduced to the master and mistress of the house—the fine handsome old people of stately presence, and most dignified as well as kind in their deportment—and to be one of the Christmas guests in the hospitable house of the American gentleman of the upper class of society, upon whose breakfast-table, on the first morning of the new year, every guest found a new-year's gift under the napkin beside his plate.
The various characters in this delightful book are admirably drawn. John and his sweet sister Alice, the son and daughter of the English clergyman, Mr. Humphreys, are noble illustrations of the highest style of character; the children of God, “shining as lights in the world, and holding forth the word of life." John, especially, is very finely drawn; and no one but a writer who had herself been taught from above how we ought to walk and please God could have depicted such a character. Mr. Van Brunt is a specimen of a large-hearted, honest fanner, rough and yet shy in his manners, but whose heart glows with loving kindness, and whose feelings are gentle and tender as those of a gentle, tender woman.
Ellen, on whose character and story the whole interest of the volume is concentrated, is a very natural and very faulty little girl when we first meet with her—full of warm and strong affections, impatient, resentful, and unforgiving, but the child of a Christian mother and of many prayers. The story of the hook is the account of the training of this child of nature, under the providence and the grace of God, by
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