He further describes the place as "not a moral place certainly; nor a merry one, though very noisy." No one is happy there, though everyone is seeking temporary forms of happiness. Though there are humorous instances, Thackeray describes the mood as more melancholy than mirthful.
This preface gives the novel a play-like quality, identifying Thackeray as the stage manager and providing a panoramic of what is in store for the reader while the characters are referred to as puppets. These characters are prototypical hypocrites, actors on a stage wearing masks. As an omniscient narrator, Thackeray allows the reader the remove the masks of these complex characters and examine each character's motive for his actions.