If Providence, instead of a vagabond, had made me a justice of the peace, there is no species of penalty I would not have enforced against a class of offenders, upon whom it is the perverted taste of the day to bestow wealth, praise, honour, and reputation; in a word, upon that portion of the writers for our periodical literature whose pastime it is by high-flown and exaggerated pictures of society, places, and amusements, to mislead the too credulous and believing world; who, in the search for information and instruction, are but reaping a barren harvest of deceit and illusion.
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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