This is a very funny book that describes all the stock characters of 19th century melodrama with jerome's dry comments on the various characters. there are chApters on the Hero, the heroine, the Villain, the Adventuress, the Good Old Man, the Comic Man, the servant Girl, the lawyer, etc etc. even if you have never seen a melodrama of the type drescribed, it is very easy to imagine what they were like from reading this book and, like jerome, revel in the absurdities. for example,discussing the Villain, he says " he wears a clean collar, and smokes a cigarette: that is how we know he is a villain. In real life, it is often difficult to tell a villain from an honest man, and this gives rise to mistakes: but on the stage, as we have said, villains wear clean collars and smoke cigarettes, and thus all fear of blunder is avoided." And pf the heor he says " The Stage hero never has any work to do. He is always hanging about and getting into trouble. His chief aim in life is to be accused of crimes he has never committed, and if he can muddle things up with a corpse, in some complicated way so as to get himself reasonably mistaken for the murderer, he feels his day has not been wasted."
The hero -- The villain -- The heroine -- The comic man -- The lawyer -- The adventuress -- The servant-girl -- The child -- The comic lovers -- The peasants -- The good old man -- The Irishman -- The detective -- The sailor.