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“The best dialogue in Victorian fiction’ says Raymond Carr in his excellent introduction to the Society’s edition. he goes on to call this book ‘a great, if misshapen monument to (Surtees’) genius.’ For Surtees himself it was much more, and he called it the best thing he had ever written. We would all be forgiben moments and passages where we agree – the interaction with Pigg, the baleful look at the ‘bon ton’ the magical, hysterical hunting scenes and bawdy exchanges with impertinent washerwomen. Where else can one find these snaps of the early Victorian hunting, turnpike world?
In the novel Jorrocks, who has taken the hounds at the invitation of the snobbish populace, arrives in the Spa town and proceeds to wreak havoc. With his inimitable Scottish huntsman he shows the people of Handley Cross that a city grocer can love ‘unting just as much as an h’Earl.