29 FEBRUARY 1840, Page 19


THESE " C011fCSSi011S" were fbr sonic time a prominent attraction of the Dublin Unicemity Magazine; their popularity induced the re- publication of them in a separate Ibrin periodically, with the ad- dition of comic etchings by the illustrator of Pickwick and Nickleby ; and they are now collected in a volume. Having only caught an occasional glimpse of Lorrequer, we reserved our estimate of his

characteristics till we could scan him in his full proportions; and

upon acquaintance he proves a very clever and entertaining fellow: he tells a story capitally, is an adept at a practical joke, enjoys a ludicrous incident, sketches characters and scenes to the life;

and there is a vivid freshness in his descriptions that brings objects before the eye with the force of reality. Moreover, his elasticity of temperament, buoyant animal spirits, and love of adventure, lend a charm to the narrative, that carries you along with the same ire resistible i:npulse which governs his reckless, dashing career. Harry Lorrequer, an ensign in an Irish marching regiment, ex- changing the excitement of the Peninsular war for the monotonous life of barracks in Cork, falls in love with an earl's daughter ; and, having reason to believe that he is not indifferent to the lady, fol- lows her half over the Continent : in his love-chase, he meets

with several checks, and not only finds himself at fault, but actually puts up fresh game : ultimately, however, he secures his prize. This pursuit is the thread on which are strung a variety of droll stories and adventures, such as enliven the mess-table and beguile the tedium of country-quarters—campaigning disasters, and travelling adventures before steamers were known, or the Conti- nent was overrun with English tourists. The author is evidently most at house in Ireland ; and his exuberant gayety and relish for fun, frolic, and festivity, no less than the gusto with which he de- picts Irish scenery, character, and manners, proclaim him a son of Erin. Though his narratives are embellished, just as a practised tale-teller would dress up fitets for effect, there is a germ of truth in them ; so that, improbable as they may seem if regarded ass pied de let leelre, they possess verisimilitude, and the spirit of reality animates the broadest caricature. The humour of Lorrequer is of a material sort, and his observation is more lively than pro- found ; nor does he put forth any creative power : but he pretends to do no more than relate circumstances in which he bore a part ; and this he does in a smart, off-hand, and pleasant manner. With good taste, he as often exhibit himself in a ridiculous light as he does others. The scene of his appearance at morning-drill with the complexion that he had worn as Othello on the previous night —the suppressed tittcrings of the men, the loud laughter of his brother officers, the furious wrath of the Colonel, and the perplexity of the unconscious cause of all—is most ludicrous from its air of probability ; and there are others, which, though more like the incidents of farce, are extremely laughable. Ill one place, where he has been entertained as a guest, he finds himself, on waking one morning, compelled to put on a flaring livery instead of his own clothes, and is turned out of the house as an imprudent impostor—the party who practises the joke upon hint enjoying his confusion the while : another time, having strayed front his room in a foreign hotel, he is fain to thrust him- self into the scant apparel of a postilion, and in this state runs the gauntlet through the streets to the Mayor's house*: but he is not always so unlucky, for upon one occasion he is mistaken for Meycrbeer the composer, and crowned with laurel at the theatre; and soon after he is presented to the King of Bavaria as the English Chargir d'Affirires !

The illustrations, by Ruiz, have a good deal of the bustling ex- aggeration that passes for comic humour by its sheer extravagance; but grimace obscures the glimpses of character here and there per- ceptible. This artist as often fails by forcing the burlesque, as front missing the ludicrous points ; and in either case failure is attributable chiefly to his imperfect skill in drawing.