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Charles O'Malley, The Irish Dragoon, Volume 1   By: (1806-1872)

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CHARLES O'MALLEY

The Irish Dragoon

BY CHARLES LEVER.

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY PHIZ.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. I.

[Illustration: THE SUNK FENCE]

TO THE

MOST NOBLE THE MARQUESS OF DOURO, M.P., D.C.L., ETC., ETC.

MY DEAR LORD,

The imperfect attempt to picture forth some scenes of the most brilliant period of my country's history might naturally suggest their dedication to the son of him who gave that era its glory. I feel, however, in the weakness of the effort, the presumption of such a thought, and would simply ask of you to accept these volumes as a souvenir of many delightful hours passed long since in your society, and a testimony of the deep pride with which I regard the honor of your friendship.

Believe me, my dear Lord, with every respect and esteem,

Yours, most sincerely,

THE AUTHOR.

BRUSSELS, November, 1841.

A WORD OF EXPLANATION.

KIND PUBLIC,

Having so lately taken my leave of the stage, in a farewell benefit, it is but fitting that I should explain the circumstances which once more bring me before you, that I may not appear intrusive, where I have met with but too much indulgence.

A blushing debutant entre nous , the most impudent Irishman that ever swaggered down Sackville Street has requested me to present him to your acquaintance. He has every ambition to be a favorite with you; but says God forgive him he is too bashful for the foot lights.

He has remarked as, doubtless, many others have done upon what very slight grounds, and with what slender pretension, my Confessions have met with favor at the hands of the press and the public; and the idea has occurred to him to indite his own . Had his determination ended here, I should have nothing to object to; but unfortunately, he expects me to become his editor, and in some sort responsible for the faults of his production. I have wasted much eloquence and more breath in assuring him that I was no tried favorite of the public, who dared take liberties with them; that the small rag of reputation I enjoyed, was a very scanty covering for my own nakedness; that the plank which swam with one, would most inevitably sink with two; and lastly, that the indulgence so often bestowed upon a first effort is as frequently converted into censure on the older offender. My arguments have, however, totally failed, and he remains obdurate and unmoved. Under these circumstances I have yielded; and as, happily for me, the short and pithy direction to the river Thames, in the Critic, "to keep between its banks," has been imitated by my friend, I find all that is required of me is to write my name upon the title and go in peace. Such, he informs me, is modern editorship.

In conclusion, I would beg, that if the debt he now incurs at your hands remain unpaid, you would kindly bear in mind that your remedy lies against the drawer of the bill and not against its mere humble indorser,

HARRY LORREQUER

BRUSSELS, March, 1840.

PREFACE

The success of Harry Lorrequer was the reason for writing Charles O'Malley. That I myself was in no wise prepared for the favor the public bestowed on, my first attempt is easily enough understood. The ease with which I strung my stories together, and in reality the Confessions of Harry Lorrequer are little other than a note book of absurd and laughable incidents, led me to believe that I could draw on this vein of composition without any limit whatever. I felt, or thought I felt, an inexhaustible store of fun and buoyancy within me, and I began to have a misty, half confused impression that Englishmen generally labored under a sad colored temperament, took depressing views of life, and were proportionately grateful to any one who would rally them even passingly out of their despondency, and give them a laugh without much trouble for going in search of it.

When I set to work to write Charles O'Malley I was, as I have ever been, very low with fortune, and the success of a new venture was pretty much as eventful to me as the turn of the right color at rouge et noir ... Continue reading book >>




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