The volume here submitted to the public is composed of selections from my contributions to the columns of the American press. The stories and sketches were written, most of them, in the intervals of relaxation from more serious labor and the daily business of life; and they would be suffered to disappear in the Lethe that awaits old magazines and newspapers, had not their extensive circulation, and the partial judgment of friends,—for I must not omit the stereotyped plea of scribblers,—flattered me that their collection in a permanent form would not prove wholly unacceptable. Some of these articles were published anonymously, or under the signature of "The Old 'Un," and have enjoyed the honor of adoption by persons having no claim to their paternity; and it seems time to call home and assemble these vagabond children under the paternal wing. The materials for the tales were gathered from various sources: some are purely imaginative, some authentic, not a few jotted down from oral narrative, or derived from the vague remembrance of some old play or adventure; but the form at least is my own, and that is about all that a professional story-teller, gleaning his matter at random, can generally lay claim to. Some of these sketches were originally published in the Boston "Olive Branch," and many in Mr. Gleason's popular papers, the "Flag of Our Union," and the "Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion." Others have appeared in the "New York Mirror," the "American Monthly Magazine," the New York "Spirit of the Times," the "Symbol," and other magazines and papers. Should their perusal serve to beguile some hours of weariness and illness, as their composition has done, I shall feel that my labor has not been altogether vain; while the moderate success of this venture will stimulate me to attempt something more worthy the attention of the public.