Talbot Harland. with Port of Charles II, After the Painting by Sir Peter Lely, and Three Etchings by Eugne-Andr

Talbot Harland. with Port of Charles II, After the Painting by Sir Peter Lely, and Three Etchings by Eugne-Andr - William Harrison Ainsworth [These notes were made in 1986:]. The edition is properly described as: Talbot Harland : in one volume/ with portrait of Charles II., after the painting by Sir Peter Lely, and three etchings by Eugène-André Champollion, after paintings by Hugh W. Ditzler. Philadelphia : Printed for subscribers only by G. Barrie & Sons, [18--?:] The central premise of this novel is that the highwayman Claude Duval was in fact a practical-joking French courtier at the court of Charles II. He gets himself mixed up with the far more nefarious schemes of Captain Blood, who is most famous for his nearly-successful attempt to carry off the crown jewels. (The incident is part of the plot of the novel). Duval / de Bellegarde is enamoured of Blood's (presumably fictional) daughter Sabine; and in a rather unexpected finale, she throws herself into a swamp after him, where he has deliberately drowned himself rather than let the Duke of Buckingham - who has just mortally wounded him in a duel - unmask him as de Bellegarde. The title hero, like his Scottian forebears, is a colourless young man who falls in love with a blonde doll called Dorinda, and of course eventually gets her with the King's blessing. The amorous King himself appears as a major character, but tho' his eye roves over every other female under forty, he incredibly makes no play for the beauteous Dorinda Neville. Ainsworth is clearly more enamoured of his "naughty" hero than of his "nice" one, and although Talbot plays some role in most of the goings-on in the plot, it is usually a small, and often a passive one.
Ainsworth is perhaps just a tad too fond of dramatic irony at the expense of realism - if he is going to show the King and Buckingham having such large suspicions of Duval's identity, it makes no sense to show them completely oblivious to de Bellegarde's mischievous double entendres on the subject.