Very few words of preface will suffice to the volume now presented to my readers. My intention was to depict, in the early experiences of a young Englishman in Ireland, some of the almost inevitable mistakes incidental to such a character. I had so often myself listened to so many absurd and exaggerated opinions on Irish character, formed on the very slightest acquaintance with the country, and by persons, too, who, with all the advantages long intimacy might confer, would still have been totally inadequate to the task of a rightful appreciation, that I deemed the subject one where a little "reprisal" might be justifiable.
About the author
Charles James Lever (31 August 1806 – 1 June 1872) was an Irish novelist. Trollope praised Lever's novels highly when he said that they were just like his conversation. He was a born raconteur, and had in perfection that easy flow of light description which without tedium or hurry leads up to the point of the good stories of which in earlier days his supply seemed inexhaustible. With little respect for unity of action or conventional novel structure, his brightest books, such as Lorrequer, O'Malley and Tom Burke, are in fact little more than recitals of scenes in the life of a particular "hero", unconnected by any continuous intrigue. The type of character he depicted is for the most part elementary. His women are mostly roués, romps or Xanthippes; his heroes have too much of the Pickle temper about them and fall an easy prey to the serious attacks of Poe or to the more playful gibes of Thackeray in Phil Fogarty or Bret Harte in Terence Deuville. This last is a perfect bit of burlesque. Terence exchanges nineteen shots with the Hon. Captain Henry Somerset in the glen. "At each fire I shot away a button from his uniform. As, my last bullet shot off the last button from his sleeve, I remarked quietly, 'You seem now, my lord, to be almost as ragged as the gentry you sneered at,' and rode haughtily away." And yet these careless sketches contain such haunting creations as Frank Webber, Major Monsoon and Micky Free, "the Sam Weller of Ireland".
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