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A Series of Lectures,
DELIVERED IN ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, AND THE UNITED STATES OF
W. M. THACKERAY, ESQ.,
AUTHOR OF "THE VIRGINIANS,” “ESMOND,” “ VANITY FAIR," " PENDENNIS,"
THE ENGLISH HUMOURISTS
LECTURE THE FIRST.
In treating of the English humourists of the past age, it is of the men and of their lives, rather than of their books, that I ask permission to speak to you; and in doing so, you are aware that I cannot hope to entertain you with a merely humourous or facetious story. Harlequin without his mask is known to present a very sober countenance, and was himself, the story goes, the melancholy patient whom the Doctor advised to go and see Harlequina man full of cares and perplexities like the rest of us, whose Self must always be serious to him, under whatever mask
1 The anecdote is frequently told of our performer, RicH.