Oliver Optic’s heroes are often allowed to enjoy their financial security. His “All Over the World Library” (1892-1898) follows the heroically wealthy Louis Belgrave, whose adventures depend upon his wealth.
Optic acknowledges his debt to Belgrave’s assets in the preface to the second book in the series, A Millionaire at Sixteen (1892), by writing, “Possibly some of my numerous friends may have accused me, after reading the first volume [A Missing Million (1892)], with being unnecessarily liberal to my hero, in supplying him with ‘the missing million,’ even augmented to nearly half as much more, so that he is actually a millionaire and a half; but the present story will assure such critics that even this vast sum was necessary in carrying out the purposes of the writer.”
Louis Belgrave would be a smug, obnoxious rich boy in an Alger novel, but Optic caresses him through such difficulties as almost losing some money, very nearly being sued and having no choice but to shoot a penurious rapscallion in the shoulder. Optic’s novels take comfort in noblesse oblige, even when the results are more complicated than strictly noble.