Some remarks on the typography of the text given here might be useful to the reader and I write them down in the order in which they came ot my notice in the editing process.
The original text is frequently marked by lacunae or ellipses representing lost portions of the manuscript which forms the source of the narration, and these are shown by asterisks [*] commencing at the point in the line where the gap begins, proceeding to the right margin and then continuing for a whole line below - generally four at most evenly distributed across the line. This effect cannot easily be produced for HTML editions in view of the variety of screen-displays and other parameters involved. Instead I have inserted rows of asterisks [* * * *] at the end of the last line without attempting to add them to the ensuing line in view of the difficulty of reproducing the visual effect involved in the original.
Likewise, footnotes in the original text are identified by the use of asterisks in the text and footer of the page, with similar marks for second and even third references on the same page [, e.g., *, †, &c.]. In the the copy-text for this edition, being the ASCII version produced by
Don Lainson for Gutenberg Australia (as infra) and basedon the 1820 original edition, the asterisks are replaced by numericals (i.e., 1, 2 & 3). [See further in his note, copied infra.] At present the footnotes stand in the middle of the text, indented at the end of the paragraph to which they were originally attached. It is hoped in the future to follow the usual internet practice and move them to the foot of page using hypertext links to reach they and return to the relevant point in the text.
In the original edition, colloquial, Hibernian, and otherwise-marked forms of speech are often indicated by the use of italics as are Latin tags and some titles. These have been copied as far as possible allowing that the actual transport of the text through ASCII has required their re-entry in HTML forrmat - a job of page-to-page revision. The use of inverted commas for narrative and dialogue is characteristic of publications of the period in the 1820 edition. That is to day, throughout narrated chapters, each paragraph is prefixed with opening double-inverted commas (), while dialogue within that paragraph is invariably conveyed by means of double-inverted commas also. This allows no room to differentiate one from the other, as in more modern texts - though those of today tend to obviate the narrative commas and to leave it to the reader to grasp that a given section is narrated in such a style. (The use of indents is also common.) The avoidance of waste space between dialogue-parts is general in publications of the period - as in the 18th century with writers such as Henry Fielding - and has been observed through in Maturins novel.
In practice, the grouping of dialogue-exchanges in lengthy paragraphs, in the publisher's manner of the day, creates unwieldly block of text to the modern eye and— if only for this reason—I have separated the paragraphs with line-spaces, restarting each with a one-space indent, to rest the eye. Reproduction of the em-dash and associated punctuation has raised problems for the global-replacement method in file or folder, especially since sentences to the patter of <Or perhaps —> are followed by a space and no other punctuation. In fact, the em-dash is considerably longer in the original than the modern keyboard permits. I might have attempted to reproduce this on screen using a horizontal line, for instance - but the effect is awkward. Beside that, the horizontal line is used once already in the original to divide parts of the narrative and this has been faithfully reproduced in the present edition.
The whole edition is a work-in-progress and shows many faults at present. The reader may prefer therefore to read it in the original - online at Internet Archive.