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Queery Leary Nonsense:
Editor's Note


AFTER the publication of my book of "Letters of Edward Lear" to my aunt and uncle, Lady Weldegrave and Lord Carlingford, in November, 1907, Lord Cromer most kindly put at my disposal, if I chose to use it, the "Bird Book" now included in this volume. A third edition of the "Letters" being about to be published, about June, 1908, it suggested itself to me that a short preface from such an old friend of Mr. Lear's would be of great value, and I ventured to ask Lord Cromer if he would be so good as to write something of this nature. As time was pressing I mentioned the fact to him, and with his characteristic promptitude he wrote: "Sunday I will look out my material, Monday I will write my preface, and Tuesday you shall have it." And it came as promised, but in such a form, that I felt the sin of wasting it as an additional preface to my old book.

So at once I resolved that Lord Cromer's delightful preface and unique Bird Book, should be the foundation of the new Nonsense Book I had for a long time contemplated and now made possible by Lord Cromer's very generous contributions. I myself had a few unpublished drawings originally belonging to my uncle; these have been most kindly supplemented by the following old friends of Mr. Lear. Mrs. W. Vaughan (Miss Madge Symonds), a cousin of my husband's and wife of the present Head Master of Wellington College, has allowed me to publish a large store of nonsense drawings drawn mostly, I believe, for her eldest sister Janet, and preserved with much care by their mother Mrs. John Addington Symonds:

"Lear dancing."
"Mrs. Blue Dickey-bird."
"High Diddle Diddle."
"Sing a Song of Sixpence."
Three unpublished illustrations for "The Owl and the Pussy Cat."

Miss Lushington:

"Spots of Greece."

The Earl of Northbrook:

"Mrs. Jaypher."

The Revd. Canon Selwyn:

"Dingly Bank."

Mr. Hubert Congreve:

"In Medio Tutorissimus Ibis."

The Earl of Cromer:

The "Bird Book."
"Beneath these high Cathedral Stairs."

Mr. Henry Strachey:

Four lines of another version of Mrs. Jaypher.

To all the above my thanks are due for their help in this latest tribute to the immortal writer of the Books of Nonsense.


Sutton Court, September, 1911.

The title, I would add, is taken from a letter of Lear to my uncle, in which he talks of "Queery Leary Nonsense," and my publishers and myself have thought it good to use Lear's own words to name this book.

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