The Lord Mayor of London: An Historical Romance

The Lord Mayor of London: An Historical Romance - William Harrison Ainsworth [These notes were made in 1984; I read this in the Philadelphia: George Barrie 1901 ed.]. Not one of Ainsworth's better efforts. The whole thing is a rather cardboard domestic fable about the virtues of hard work and the evils of gambling, with a rather unconvincing rake reformed by love (the aptly-named Tradescant) in the middle. Sir Gresham Lorimer, in the title-role, is blandly and entirely virtuous, and seems an improbable consort for the broadly farcical Mrs. L., with her two nasty daughters and one nice one (straight out of Cinderella). "Real" personages introduced are Lord Bute, Pitt the Elder, George III and his family (the story takes place in his younger days) and, quite probably Lorimer himself. But it seems highly unlikely that two long-lost brothers would come back from the dead on such flimsy excuses, particularly when they are all portrayed as being so genuinely nice and sensible. What this book suffers from is a lack of villains, the nearest being poor old Wilkes, who's a rake; and given villains, of motives for their villainy. Nonetheless Ainsworth manages to engineer one nice duel on a foggy morning - very atmospheric! - to ease the tedium of his interminable processions and banquets (you can just see the documents in front of him as he worked!)