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HE present volume completes the Series of the "New Royal Readers." It consists throughout of Lessons from the writings of Standard Authors in prose and poetry.
As at this stage the scholar is prepared to go beyond the short extracts usually found in Miscellaneous Readers, the Editors have deemed it advisable — while maintaining the variety of Lessons needed for the daily work of the school-to present also something in the form of a continuous story. For this purpose they have chosen scenes from Sir Walter Scott's tale of "Ivanhoe." The following extract from Lord Jeffrey's review of the tale when it first appeared will more than justify their choice. As is well known, he was the first editor of the Edinburgh Review, and the most celebrated literary critic of his day.
"In comparing this work with former productions of the same master-hand, we pass into the region of romance. . . . The interest of the story is maintained by surprising adventures from first to last. A succession of brilliant pictures are presented, which, however, belong more properly to the province of poetry than of prose. 'Ivanhoe,' accordingly, seems to us more akin to the most splendid of modern poems than the most interesting of modern novels. It savours more of 'Marmion' or 'The Lady of the Lake' than of 'Waverley' or 'Old Mortality'.... It is a splendid poem in prose."-Edinburgh Review, Jan. 1820.
The romantic character of the story will always captivate young readers; while its style-" a splendid poem in prose,” as Lord Jeffrey called it-makes it of great educational value for Reading Exercises. The Editors of the Royal School Series have therefore chosen its finest scenes to form part of the present volume, and they now present them linked together as a continuous story. The author's own words have been retained throughout, with only such slight changes here and there as were needed to weave the whole into a connected narrative.
THE LOCKSMITH OF THE GOLDEN KEY.
1. From the workshop of the Golden Key there issued forth a tinkling sound, so merry and goodhumoured, that it suggested the idea of some one working blithely, and made quite pleasant music. Tink, tink, tink-clear as a silver bell, and audible at every pause of the street's harsher noises, as though it said, "I don't care; nothing puts me out; I am resolved to be happy."
2. Women scolded, children squalled, heavy carts. went rumbling by, horrible cries proceeded from the lungs of hawkers; still it struck in again, no higher, no lower, no louder, no softer; not thrusting itself on people's notice a bit the more for having been outdone by louder sounds-tink, tink, tink, tink, tink.
3. It was a perfect embodiment of the still small voice, free from all cold, hoarseness, huskiness, or unhealthiness of any kind. Foot-passengers slackened their pace, and were disposed to linger near it; neighbours who had got up splenetic that morning felt good humour stealing on them as they heard it,
and by degrees became quite sprightly; mothers danced their babies to its ringing;-still the same magical tink, tink, tink, came gaily from the workshop of the Golden Key.
4. Who but the locksmith could have made such music? A gleam of sun, shining through the unsashed window, and checkering the dark workshop with a broad patch of light, fell full upon him, as though attracted by his sunny heart. There he stood, working at his anvil, his face radiant with exercise and gladness, his sleeves turned up, his wig pushed off his shining forehead-the easiest, freest, happiest man in all the world.
5. Beside him sat a sleek cat, purring and winking in the light, and falling every now and then into an idle doze, as from excess of comfort. The very locks that hung around had something jovial in their rust, and seemed like gouty gentlemen of hearty natures, disposed to joke on their infirmities.
6. There was nothing surly or severe in the whole scene. It seemed impossible that any one of the innumerable keys could fit a churlish strongbox or a prison-door. Store-houses of good things, rooms where there were fires, books, gossip, and cheering laughter these were their proper sphere of action. Places of distrust and cruelty and restraint they would have quadruple-locked for ever. 7. Tink, tink, tink. No man who hammered on at a dull, monotonous duty could have brought such cheerful notes from steel and iron; none but chirping, healthy, honest-hearted fellow, who made the best of everything, and felt kindly to