INTRODUCTION



for their creation, but only for their portraiture.
They in their day must certainly have pleaded
guilty to the charge of being old-fashioned, for
they belonged to a time when men treated women
chivalrously and women relied on men impli-
citly, when success bore no relation to wealth,
and when the seventh commandment was not
deemed a proper subject for conversation in
mixed company.
  The author is not vain enough to imagine that
any personal experiwce of his could interest the
general public, or even that limited public which
may take the trouble to glance at this introduc-
tion; but as his stories of the old Southern life
have been taken as a reasonably fair picture of
that life, he ventures to tell how they came to be
written.
  In the first place, the writer's home was on
an old Virginia plantation in the county of
Hanover, within sound of the guns of battles in
three great campaigns in which not less than
three hundred thousand men fell, and during his
boyhood and youth the recollection of the great
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