Tobias Smollett, the novelist, conceived all his heroes in a vein of savage cynicism. Peregrine Pickle was a scamp and spendthrift, with a spendthrift's deep-seated wilful-ness, ingratitude and arrogance, and a spendthrift's elegance and superficial wit. Practical jokes were his chief delight, and the unkinder they were the more delight he took in them. His glee at the discomfiture of others knew no bounds. But let the tables be turned upon himself and there was no more sulky, ill-tempered individual than Mr. Peregrine Pickle. The kindness and long suffering of his uncle and of his friends Hatchway and Pipes were something at which to marvel. Continually they rescued him from his scrapes, and were as continually repaid with the basest ingratitude. The reader feels no pity at all when the scapegrace is finally ruined and reduced to beggary. In spite of Peregrine Pickle's unpleasantness, the novel which bears his name makes delightful reading, for it contains a profusion of exciting incidents.