Preface to Vol. 1 of The Penny Pickwick
Upon arriving at the termination of this, the first portion of our Pickwickian journey, we deem it a duty incumbent upon us to say a few words in expression of our gratitude to the many thousands who have so cheerfully travelled with us, not only that they may see that we have a proper sense of their patronage and friendship, but that they may also be induced to accompany us in the remainder of our mirthful career.
Upon the appearance of those shilling Publications which have been productive of so much mirth and amusement, it occurred to us that, while the wealthier classes had their Momus, the poor man should not be debarred from possessing to himself as lively a source of entertainment and at a price consistent with his means ; we therefore took upon ourselves that arduous but cheerful task, and, at an immense risk, sent forth our little volume to the Public. Spite of all the endeavours of petty dunderheads to rob us of our good name, and to prejudice the Public against us, notwithstanding they have tried all that their puny intellects (?) could concoct to crush us, there cannot be a greater proof of the utter uselessness of their miserable attempts, and of our own glorious triumph than in the fact that the present Weekly Sale of the Penny Pickwick is 50,000 !
This is a truth unprecedented in the annals of cheap periodicals ; and we can say, without egotism, that we feel confident that we have not been undeserving the support we have met with. The pages of the Penny Pickwick have never been polluted with a sentence that could cause a blush upon the cheek of modesty, and although we acknowledge that we have at times been rather extravagant (as all caricaturists must be), our extravagance has never been characterized by vulgarity, and its sole aim has been to create a broad grin on the face of care.
It has been reported, by persons who no doubt have an interest in fabricating a statement of the sort, that the Penny Pickwick would be complete at the end of the First Volume ; this it is almost unnecessary for us to deny, as it is well known that it still appears regularly every week, and will continue to do so while our dearly beloved friends the Public think it meet to bestow their patronage upon us so largely. Until they are tired of laughing at us, we most assuredly shall not grow tired of labouring, as far as in us lies to provide them food for mirth, and can assure them that we have still Pickwickian documents by us that will furnish an almost inexhaustible source of amusement. In addition to this, we have had the honour conferred upon us to be deputed the detailers of the extraordinary adventures of Mr. Pickwick In America, which the admirers of that illustrious individual will be able to procure with the Penny Pickwick regularly every week!
With many thanks for past favours, and trusting that we may be found worthy of a continuance of them, we
Are the Public’s Devoted Servant,
Rose Cottage, St. John's Wood.