THE letters in this book are re-printed from the Morning Post, to the Proprietor and Editor of which newspaper the author owes his thanks for the permission to reproduce them here.
I WISH to begin this bundle of “Dead Letters,” collected from the Dead Letter Office of the World, with a living letter to you.
These letters are not meant to be either historical documents or historical studies or aids to the understanding of history, or learning of any kind with or without tears. They are the fruits of imagination rather than of research. The word research is not even remotely applicable here, for in my case it means the hazy memories of a distant education indolently received, a few hurried references to Smith's “ Classical Dictionary,” a map of Rome which is in the London Library, and Bouillet's “Biographic Universelle.” So that if you tell me that my account of the Carthaginian fleet is full of inaccuracies, or that the psychology of my Lesbia conflicts with the historical evidence.