Mr. Thackeray stands aloof from the entire race of novelists,. . . [setting] at defiance the tastes of those for whom he caters. It is true that he has a select band of worshippers, who swear by him without reserve; but the great mass of readers, though they cannot resist the temptation of his volumes, generally put them down at the end with a good growl at his expense, and with a demand for the novel of some smaller man.