The following story, the first published by the author, was written nineteen years
ago, at a time when he was feeling his way to a method. The principles observed
in its composition are, no doubt, too exclusively those in which mystery,
entanglement, surprise, and moral obliquity are depended on for exciting interest;
but some of the scenes, and at least one of the characters, have been deemed
not unworthy of a little longer preservation; and as they could hardly be
reproduced in a fragmentary form the novel is reissued complete-- the more
readily that it has for some considerable time been reprinted and widely
circulated in America. January 1889.
To the foregoing note I have only to add that, in the present edition of 'Desperate
Remedies,' some Wessex towns and other places that are common to the
scenes of several of these stories have been called for the first time by the
names under which they appear elsewhere, for the satisfaction of any reader
who may care for consistency in such matters.
This is the only material change; for, as it happened that certain characteristics
which provoked most discussion in my latest story were present in this my first--
published in 1871, when there was no French name for them it has seemed best
to let them stand unaltered.