A preface is like a porter at the entrance of a castle or a dinner-party; however necessary his attendance may be, and however dazzling his livery, he can expect but a hasty brush from the passers in; it is the castle they want to see, it is the dinner they have come to eat. Knowing, however, that every public act demands a public explanation, I give my candid reasons for doing so strange a work, and for doing it in so strange a way.<br><br>We have had many "Pencillings by the Way," and "Conciliation Halls," and "Killarney Lakes" from the tops of coaches and from smoking dinner tables. But one day's walk on mountain or bog, one night's lodging where the pig, and the ass, and horned oxen feed,<br><br>"Like Aaron's serpent, swallows all the rest."<br><br>"Remember, my children," said my father, "that the Irish are a suffering people; and when they come to your doors, never send them empty away." It was in the garrets and cellars of New York that I first became acquainted with the Irish peasantry, and it was there I saw they were a suffering people.