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N the principle that a traveller's story is best told in his own
words, the present abridgment of Bruce's Travels is written in the form of a personal narrative. The constant recurrence of such phrases as “Mr. Bruce," and our traveller," is thus avoided, and the book is likely to be at once more readable and complete than it would have been, if the usual plan had been adopted. The aim of the Editor has been to give the work as much as possible the appearance of an original production. Bruce is made to tell his own story, and his own language is used throughout as uniformly, and with as little alteration, as possible. When the reader is informed that the original edition of these Travels consists of four large quarto volumes, of from 500 to 600 pages each, with a fifth volume by way of appendix, he may conceive that considerable freedom must have been taken with their contents. Some parts have necessarily been passed over, and others have been much condensed. The Annals of Abyssinia, for example, which occupy the whole of the second volume of the original work, are here given in a single chapter of 32 pages.
But the Editor believes that no essential portion of Bruce's work has been omitted or unduly condensed ; and he trusts that those who are familiar with the original publication will give him credit for having presented, as fairly as can be done in an abridgment, the substance of the traveller's bulky volumes.
To render the present work more complete, the Editor has prefixed to the Travels a brief Sketch of the Life of Bruce.