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Some Chinese Ghosts by Lafcadio Hearn
I think that my best apology for the insignificant size of this volume is the very character of the material composing it. In preparing the legends I sought especially for _weird beauty_; and I could not forget this striking observation in Sir Walter Scott's "Essay on Imitations of the Ancient Ballad": "The supernatural, though appealing to certain powerful emotions very widely and deeply sown amongst the human race, is, nevertheless, a _spring which is peculiarly apt to lose its elasticity by being too much pressed upon_."
Those desirous to familiarize themselves with Chinese literature as a whole have had the way made smooth for them by the labors of linguists like Julien, Pavie, Rémusat, De Rosny, Schlegel, Legge, Hervey-Saint-Denys, Williams, Biot, Giles, Wylie, Beal, and many other Sinologists. To such great explorers, indeed, the realm of Cathayan story belongs by right of discovery and conquest; yet the humbler traveller who follows wonderingly after them into the vast and mysterious pleasure-grounds of Chinese fancy may surely be permitted to cull a few of the marvellous flowers there growing,--a self-luminous _hwa-wang_, a black lily, a phosphoric rose or two,--as souvenirs of his curious voyage.
NEW ORLEANS, March 15, 1886.