The beginning of this collection of Popular Romances may be truly said to date from my early childhood. I remember with what anticipations of pleasure, half a century since, I stitched together a few sheets of paper, and carefully pasted them into the back of an old book. This was preparatory to a visit I was about to make with my mother to Bodmin, about which town many strange stories were told, and my purpose was to record them. My memory retains dim shadows, of a wild tale, of Hender the Huntsman of Lanhydrock; of a narrative of streams having been poisoned by the monks; and of a legend of a devil who played many strange pranks with the tower which stands on a neighbouring hill. I have; within the last year, endeavoured to recover those stories, but in vain. The living people appear to have forgotten them; my juvenile note-book has long been lost; those traditions are, it is to be feared, gone for ever.<br><br>Fifteen years passed away - about six of them at school in Cornwall, and nine of them in close labour in London, - when failing health compelled my return to the West of England.