Californians objected that his pictures were unreal; but they give the impression of essential truth to life — an impression not spoiled by his persistent habit of showing the good elements in even the lowest and most debased characters. Harte occasionally seems to have adopted some of the less fortunate devices of Dickens, but his manner was chiefly his own. He lacks literary finish, though he was painstaking in regard to style; but in these early tales he has a sure command of humor and pathos, and a complete mastery of his unique material.
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