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London:
G. WILLIS, GREAT PIAZZA, COVENT GARDEN.

M,DCCCLV.

PREFACE.

There are few people who will not acknowledge an innate aversion to Guide Books. They consult, rather than read, them, and fling them aside for ever as soon as they have gained the requisite information from them. The patient Compiler of a Dictionary may receive few thanks for his labour, but if he have done his work well, he has the satisfaction of knowing that it may prove of enduring worth. The Author of a Handbook, on the contrary, except in a few rare and notable instances, is perfectly aware that in the space of a few years, much of what he has written will be obsolete,—that houses will have changed inhabitants—that ancient buildings will have disappeared, and modern ones sprung up,—that old associations will, in some measure, be effaced by new objects of interest, and that his little bookthe fruit, perhaps, of considerable labour-will share the fate of many more aspiring productions and find its last home at the trunk-maker's. So discouraging a prospect may be borne philosophically, if only the author can feel assured that

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