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XVI INTRODUCTION.

blood, and we tip one another the wink, and say ' currant

jelly/ For instance, there is the murder of Belmour,

Higgs tittered all the time he was setting it up ; and, for

my own part, when the proof came before me at dinnertime,

I confess I fairly choked in my pint of stout."

f( "

And I wish you had ! I exclaimed testily, nettled

beyond patience at such a reception of my pet catastrophe.

" But that's the way with your would-be critics : they are

as absurd as Dr. Johnson in his definition of wit. It traces

resemblances, says he, and judgment detects differences ;

as if, forsooth, the same faculty that perceived the likeness

of a man to a monkey, did not involve the ability of dis-

tinguishing a horse from a hog. So, if a man be alive to

the ludicrous, by your lop-sided theory he can have no

sympathy with the : pathetic because he is sometimes in

jest, you will never allow him to be serious. I do verily

believe, if I were to publish the elegy I wrote on my youngest

boy, who was taken from me by scarlet fever last June,

you would be hunting for jokes in the lamentation of a bereaved

father, and looking for puns in it."

" To be sure, sir," answered the Risible, with a broad

"

grin.

I correct the Comic. But to return to the novel.

There's the interview of Leonora with her lover, after

I had ever

taking the veil ; I thought it the funniest thing

read ! I did, sir, upon my life. But I didn.'t stand alone,

the whole office roared at it roared, sir !" and the vil-

lain gave me a fresh sample of his own "

powers by laughing

consumedly."

" I assure you, sir," said the Lugubrious, hastening to

interpose, " we think very differently at Messrs. Stukeley's.

To our tastes, and to my own especially, your three volumes

are too exclusively gloomy and depressing. The compositors

compared it to newspaper work ; nothing^ but Shocking

Accidents, Afflicting Events, and Lamentable Occurrences.

It wants relief an occasional humourous sketch ;

if there were but a single chapter that one could smile over

but it is all wretched and miserable from title to finis."

I was going to reply, but the Democritus forestalled me.

"Ha ! ha ! ha ! ha ! ho ! ho ! ho !

" he shouted ; "Maurice,

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