(Roderick). A young Scotch scapegrace in quest of
fortune; at one time basking in prosperity, at another in utter
destitution. He is led into different countries, whose peculiarities
are described; and into all sorts of society, as that of wits,
sharpers, courtiers, courtesans, and so on. Though occasionally lavish,
he is inherently mean; and though possessing a dash of humour, is
contemptibly revengeful. His treatment of Strap is revolting to a
generous mind. Strap lends him money in his necessity, but the
heartless Roderick wastes the loan, treats Strap as a mere servant,
fleeces him at dice, and cuffs him when the game is adverse. (Smollett: Roderick Random.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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