This novel was written in 1900, It was thought extremely daring, and . was refused by publisher after publisher, among others by William Heinemann; but it was at last read by Robertson Nicoll, a partner in the firm of Hodder and Stoughton, and he, though of opinion that it was not the sort of book his own firm should publish, thought well enough of it to iu:ge William Heinemann to reconsider his decision, Heinemann read it himself and, on the condition that I took out passages that he found shocking, agreed to publish it. This was in 1902. It must have had something of a success, since it was reissued the following year, and ag^in in 1908. Thirty years later it was republished. The new edition was printed from the original manuscript with the offensive parts left in, for I could not for the life of me imagine what they were, and I had not the patience to compare the manuscript with the printed copy. On the contrary, the propriety of the book seemed to me almost painful. I made, however, certain corrections.
The author had been dead for many years, and I used the manuscript as I would that of a departed friend whose book, unrevised by him, had been entrusted to me for publication. I left it as it was, with all its faults, and contented myself with minor emendations. The author's pimctu-ation was haphazard, and I did my best to put some method into it. I replaced the dashes which he used, I fear from ignorance of a complicated art, with colons, semi-colons and commas; I omitted the rows of dots with which he sought to draw the reader's attention to the elegance of a sentiment or the subtlety of an observation, and I replaced with a full stop the marks of exclamation that stood all over the page, like telegraph poles, apparently to emphasize the author's astonishment at his own acumen. I cannot imagine why he had the affectation of treating the letter H as a vowel, and wrote of an horse, an house and an home; I struck out all I could find of these otiose Ns; but if any still remain, the reader is besought to pardon an aberration of youth and the carelessness of the editor. It is not an easy matter to decide how you should treat this particular letter and, searching for guidance, I have consulted a number of grammars. So far as I can make out, whether you treat H as a vowel or a consonant depends on the stress you naturally lay on the syllable it accompanies. So, it would be absurd to tell a friend, who wanted to write still another war novel, to have an heart; but not imreasonable to suggest that, if he must write, he would be better advised to write an historical romance.