[The following passage comes from the Project Gutenberg online edition of Trollope's Thackeray prepared by Barbara Tozier, Bill Tozier, Lisa Reigel, and the Project Gutenberg proofreading team. The decorated initial 'I' is based the one on a Thackeray designed for Vanity Fair. — George P. Landow]

decorated initial 'I' based on a Thackeray illustration

t has to be admitted that Pendennis is not a fine fellow. He is not as weak, as selfish, as untrustworthy as that George Osborne whom Amelia married in Vanity Fair; but nevertheless, he is weak, and selfish, and untrustworthy. He is not such a one as a father would wish to see his son, or a mother to welcome as a lover for her daughter. But then, fathers are so often doomed to find their sons not all that they wish, and mothers to see their girls falling in love with young men who are not Paladins. In our individual lives we are contented to endure an admixture of evil, which we should resent if imputed to us in the general. We presume ourselves to be truth-speaking, noble in our sentiments, generous in our actions, modest and unselfish, chivalrous and devoted. But we forgive and pass over in silence a few delinquencies among ourselves. What boy at school ever is a coward,—in the general? What gentleman ever tells a lie? What young lady is greedy? We take it for granted, as though they were fixed rules in life, that our boys from our public schools look us in the face and are manly; that our gentlemen tell the truth as a matter of course; and that our young ladies are refined and unselfish. Thackeray is always protesting that it is not so, and that no good is to be done by blinking the truth. He knows that we have our little home experiences. Let us have the facts out, and mend what is bad if we can. This novel of Pendennis is one of his loudest protests to this effect. [109-10]


Trollppe, Anthony. Thackeray. “English Men of Letters series.” London: Macmillan, 1879. Web. Project Gutenberg. E-text prepared by Barbara Tozier, Bill Tozier, Lisa Reigel. 4 August 2013

Last modified 4 August 2013