Violets and Other Tales/Preface


These fugitive pieces are launched upon the tide of public opinion to
sink or swim upon their merit. They will float for a while, but whether
they will reach the haven of popularity depends upon their enduring
qualities. Some will surely perish, many will reach some port, but time
alone will tell if any shall successfully breast the ocean of thought
and plant its standard upon the summit of fame.

When one enters the domain of authorship, she places herself at the
mercy of critics. Were she as sure of being commended by the best and
most intelligent of her readers, as she is sure of being condemned by
the worst and most ignorant, there would still be a thrill of pleasure
in all criticism, for the satisfaction of having received the praise of
the first would compensate for the harshness of the latter. Just
criticism is wholesome and never wounds the sensibilities of the true
author, for it saves her from the danger of an excess of pride which is
the greatest foe to individual progress, while it spurs her on to
loftier flights and nobler deeds. A poor writer is bad, but a poor
critic is worse, therefore, unjust criticism should never ruffle the
temper of its victim. The author of these pages belongs to that type of
the "brave new woman who scorns to sigh," but feels that she has
something to say, and says it to the best of her ability, and leaves the
verdict in the hands of the public. She gives to the reader her best
thoughts and leaves him to accept or reject as merit may manifest
itself. No author is under contract to please her readers at all times,
nor can she hope to control the sentiments of all of them at any time,
therefore, the obligation is reciprocal, for the fame she receives is
due to the pleasure she affords.

The author of these fugitive pieces is young, just on the threshold of
life, and with the daring audacity of youth makes assertions and gives
decisions which she may reverse as time mellows her opinions, and the
realities of life force aside the theories of youth, and prosy facts
obscure the memory of that happy time when the heart overflowing

                                  "The joy
  Of young ideas painted on the mind,
  In the warm glowing colors Fancy spreads
  On objects, not yet known, when all is new,
  And all is lovely."

There is much in this book that is good; much that is crude; some that
is poor: but all give that assurance of something great and noble when
the bud of promise, now unfolding its petals in the morning glow of
light, will have matured into that fuller growth of blossoming flower
ere the noonday sun passes its zenith. May the hope thus engendered by
this first attempt reach its fruition, and may the energy displayed by
one so young meet the reward it merits from an approving public.

                                           SYLVANIE F. WILLIAMS.