[These notes were made in 1984. I read an 1881 Ward, Lock, Bowden & Co. edition:]. I'm afraid I found the principal subject of this novel - financial speculation in 18th-century France - immitigably tedious. And the "romance" side of the plot was curiously detached from it, altho' one could almost see Ainsworth toiling to bind up the fortunes of Colombe the lovely dovely - with his financier, to whom he gives an entirely incongruous romantic adventure in the first short section of the novel. Ainsworth's Newgate fascinations looked as if they were going to desert him in this book - but never fear, he contrived to work in a nice gory execution scene (breaking on the wheel this time). Colombe, overcome by the disgrace to her family -- her brother was executed -- declines gracefully into consumption, thus robbing another fine if bland young Englishman of married bliss. Although not one of his very best efforts, I did not find this at all difficult to read, except, of course, where the stereotype plates had been chipped and entire words fallen off the edge!