GIL BLAS?

The hero of Lesage's romance of this name was an orphan, who left his uncle's home at an early age and set out to seek his fortune. Obtaining occupation, first of all as a valet, he rose by degrees to be secretary of the Prime Minister of Spain. The made the acquaintance of people of all ranks, and came to the conclusion that mankind was composed exclusively of knaves and fools. In society of every kind, polite and otherwise, it was appearances that counted, not reality, decided Gil, and success went to the crafty and the plausible. Doctors were ignorant, lawyers were thieving, churchmen were hypocrites, statesmen were parasites, crowned heads were only figure heads. The King of Spain frivolled away his time retailing malicious gossip, leaving his affairs entirely to his unscrupulous politicians. Small wonder that Gil's constitutional honesty was corrupted in such an atmosphere, and that he used his native shrewdness and intelligence for unworthy ends. His generosity, wit and good nature make him an entertaining companion, but, nevertheless, we know him for a rogue. If we like him, our liking is entirely untinged with respect.