Page:The Ancestor Number 1.djvu/13

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SOME ANECDOTES OF THE HARRIS FAMILY THE writer of the following pages feels that a little explanation and a short apology is perhaps needed in presenting an account of his own ancestors to the general reader, and he trusts that the somewhat personal tide of this paper may not forbid of its perusal. Two views entirely contradictory to one another are always held respecting any account of a particular family written by one of its members : the first is that the account may be interesting and that, at all events, it is probably well authenti- cated in every detail, and is therefore worth reading ; the second, that the writer, blinded by that personal and ^ egotistic ' interest which is inseparable from human nature, has inflicted, or has attempted to inflict, upon the public a collection of facts and fictions, truths and lies, all of which are equally un- interesting and equally unimportant to that reading public. In this case however the writer trusts that the former of these two views may be the one adopted, with the following addi- tional qualifications moreover — that it is not here intended to write the history, pure and simple, of a single family, but that a family, which represents to us so much of English life in its past generations, and which through its members has been of some service to the nation in its time, may be the means of reviving for us the memory of men and things long since buried in the dust of ages and hidden in the almost impene- trable gloom that ever hovers o'er the path taken by retreating Time. In these days of hurry and bustle, of hastening hither and thither, of railways, telegrams, and an unrestricted press, when invention upon invention renders life more luxurious and when, as a nation, we are every day tending to become more and more cosmopolitan, it is sometimes truly pleasing to picture to ourselves the lives which our ancestors lived in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to try and think their thoughts and to imagine ourselves (if it be possible) deprived of all the means of rapid motion, rapid communication, and 1