Writing with pungent irony in 1891 George Gissing put into the mouth of one of his least likeable characters a sentiment which may possess an autobiographical strain: 'I'm like poor Jackson, the novelist, who groaned to me once that for fifteen years the reviewers had been describing his books as "above the average". In whatever I have undertaken the results were "above the average", and that's all. This is damned poor consolation for a man with a temperament like mine!' (Denzil Quarrier, ch. VI).