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In my reply, I said that I saw no great harm in a bed-cover of patchwork, if the pieces were of good texture in themselves, and were so placed in respect to colour and pattern that they made a pleasing whole. I added, as in duty bound, that as I had really no particular love for this title, I should be most happy if he would suggest any other, equally descriptive of the book to which it was prefixed.
On receiving no answer to this appeal, I applied to several literary, and other friends, requesting them to say what they thought of my proposed title, and I confess I was a little shaken to find them, one and all, open-mouthed in condemnation of my poor PATCHWORK. Some said it was "singing small;" others, that it was "infra dig.": several condemned it as telling too much, and one or two as telling too little. Most of these critics, as a matter of course, quoted Shakspeare about the little value of a name, but only to show their own ingenuity, by inverting the poet's idea, and contending that there was "much in a
I thought it would never do to christen my book with a name to which all the world objected; and as they had shown such alacrity in finding out that the title I had chosen would not suit, I thought it but reasonable that they should help me to something better. So I wrote again and again; but even the delightful penny-post, which has oiled the wheels of business and pleasure over the whole country, refused to bring me a single new idea on the subject. I therefore began to fear that I should be obliged to usher my book into the world without any name at all, when an ingenious correspondent suggested that I should call it BRECCIA.
Now, this title possessed the advantages of being quite new, and of being totally unintelligible; so that while its novelty might attract notice, its hieroglyphic character would prevent people being too soon let into the secrets of the story.
My correspondent was quite sensible, indeed, that as the greater part of mankind are neither Italian scholars nor geologists, the word he proposed would fail to convey the meaning intended—or,
for that matter, any meaning whatever, and therefore he suggested that an explanatory note should be added, to tell what the author wished to say.
I confess the originality of this notion of having a note on the title-page tickled my fancy so much, that I set about concocting it immediately; but I was not at all aware of the difficulty of the task.
I had first to make a note to explain that BRECCIA meant PUDDINGSTONE; then another, to state that this stone meant CONGLOMERATE; and finally, a third note to signify that the "formation" so called, consisted of "Rounded water-worn fragments of rocks or pebbles, cemented together by another mineral substance, which may be of a silicious, calcareous, or argillaceous nature,”—in other words, of a flinty, an effervescent, or of a muddy character. To which definition, for the benefit of the unlearned, I could not do less than add the etymology, viz., "Con" together, and "Glomero" to heap; that is, in the language of the Geologists, Travelled materials heaped together.
This title, so expanded and explained, was, no doubt, highly descriptive of the wave-worn and
weather-beaten character of the component parts of my book, but I had some apprehensions that it might seem rather presumptuous to give it a title so ambitious as to require-like the Grand Lama-three interpreters before any one could arrive at its meaning.
I therefore returned to my PATCHWORK, which name, at all events, tells its own story in plain English-and if it only tells it well enough in the opinion of the public in general, I shall be satisfied.
19th December, 1840.