An amusing collection of essays, all of which are entitled "A Defence of something". Indeed the introduction is "In Defense of a New Edition."
All sorts of topics. Penny dreadfuls, skeletons, baby-worship, china shepherdesses. . . .
With his usual wit. Such as
One would think it would be most unwise in a man to be afraid of a skeleton, since Nature has set curious and quite insuperable obstacles to his running away from it.
The vast mass of humanity, with their vast mass of idle books and idle words, have never doubted and never will doubt that courage is splendid, that fidelity is noble, that distressed ladies should be rescued, and vanquished enemies spared.