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SKETCHES FROM THE PORTFOLIO
OF AN OLD MISSIONARY.
BY HENRY BLEBY,
CHAIRMAN AND GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT OF THE WESLEYAN MISSIONS
IN THE BAHAMAS.
“ Truth needs no flowers of speech."-POPE.
PUBLISHED FOR THE AUTHOR AT
THE WESLEYAN CONFERENCE OFFICE,
2, CASTLE STREET, CITY ROAD;
THE writer of these pages, during forty years of missionary service, has been mixed up with a good deal of thrilling incident. He was early enough in the mission field to be an eye-witness of the fierce dying struggles of British colonial slavery, and take part in the stirring events that preceded and followed the overthrow of the unhallowed system, that made merchandise and chattels of human beings. And he was personally acquainted with many of the individuals who figure in these narratives both for good and evil.
These sketches have been written at different times since 1853; some of them in Barbadoes, others in Paris, some upon the sea, and several in the Bahamas. They are not tales of fiction. All the persons mentioned in them were real actors on the stage of life; and all the events described were veritable occurrences. Should any hearts be moved to pity by reading these stories, it will not be pity wasted upon mere imaginary suffering. If tears of sympathy are called forth, they will not be shed over fanciful distress and ideal woe.
The narrative element possesses a subtle fascinating power, that accounts for the supremacy of the novel and the story above every other form of literary art. The omnivorous appetite that prevails in the nursery for such stories as "Jack the Giant Killer," "Little Red Riding. Hood," and “ Cinderella," is a silent acknowledgment of
Jack's insatiable love of yarns upon the fore. castle is homage rendered to it. And the preference of Sunday scholars for story volumes, above all others that load the shelves of the library, is a tacit assertion of the enchanting influence. The story is at the bottom of the epic and the drama; and the most pleasing essays and disquisitions are those which embody brief stories for enlivenment and illustration. Even in the sacred volume the narrative ele. ment abounds; recognising the fact, that the taste for it has its basis in the depths of human nature.
It is hoped that this volume of truthful narrative will not only afford amusement and gratification to its readers, but serve also to deepen in many hearts an interest in the great work of Christian missions, by which the kingdoms of this world are to be subdued and won for the Prince of Peace.