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Arthur O'Leary His Wanderings And Ponderings In Many Lands   By: (1806-1872)

Arthur O'Leary His Wanderings And Ponderings In Many Lands by Charles James Lever

First Page:



By Charles James Lever

Edited By

His Friend, Harry Lorrequer,


Illustrated By George Cruikshank.

New Edition.

London: Henry Colburn, Publisher,

Great Marlborough Street.





When some years ago we took the liberty, in a volume of our so called "Confessions," to introduce to our reader's acquaintance the gentleman whose name figures in the title page, we subjoined a brief notice, by himself, intimating the intention he entertained of one day giving to the world a farther insight into his life and opinions, under the title of "Loiterings of Arthur O'Leary."

It is more than probable that the garbled statement and incorrect expression of which we ourselves were guilty respecting our friend had piqued him into this declaration, which, on mature consideration, he thought fit to abandon. For, from that hour to the present one, nothing of the kind ever transpired, nor could we ascertain, by the strictest inquiry, that such a proposition of publication had ever been entertained in the West End, or heard of in the "Row."

The worthy traveller had wandered away to "pastures new," heaven knows where! and, notwithstanding repeated little paragraphs in the second advertizing column of the "Times" newspaper, assuring, "A. O'L. that if he would inform his friends where a letter would reach, all would be forgiven," &c. the mystery of his whereabouts remained unsolved, save by the chance mention of a north west passage traveller, who speaks of a Mr. O'Leary as having presided at a grand bottle nosed whale dinner in Behring's Straits, some time in the autumn of 1840; and an allusion, in the second volume of the Chevalier de Bertonville's Discoveries in Central Africa, to an "Irlandais bien original," who acted as sponsor to the son and heir of King Bullanullaboo, in the Chieckhow territory. That either, or indeed, both, these individuals resolved themselves into our respected friend, we entertained no doubt whatever; nor did the information cause us any surprise, far less unquestionably, than had we heard of his ordering his boots from Hoby, or his coat from Stultz.

Meanwhile time rolled on and whether Mr. O'Leary had died of the whale feast, or been eaten himself by his godson, no one could conjecture, and his name had probably been lost amid the rust of ages, if certain booksellers, in remote districts, had not chanced upon the announcement of his volume, and their "country orders" kept dropping in for these same "Loiterings," of which the publishers were obliged to confess they knew nothing whatever.

Now, the season was a dull one; nothing stirring in the literary world; people had turned from books, to newspapers; a gloomy depression reigned over the land. The India news was depressing; the China worse; the French were more insolent than ever; the prices were falling under the new tariff; pigs looked down, and "Repealers" looked up. The only interesting news, was the frauds in pork, which turned out to be pickled negroes and potted squaws. What was to be done? A literary speculation at such a moment was preposterous; for although in an age of temperance, nothing prospered but "Punch."

It occurred to us, "then pondering," as Lord Brougham would say, that as these same "Loiterings" had been asked for more than once, and an actual order for two copies had been seen in the handwriting of a solvent individual, there was no reason why we should not write them ourselves. There would be little difficulty in imagining what a man like O'Leary would say, think, or do, in any given situation. The peculiarities of his character might, perhaps, give point to what dramatic people call "situations," but yet were not of such a nature as to make their portraiture a matter of any difficulty.

We confess the thing savoured a good deal of book making... Continue reading book >>

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