Part V Time Traveling With R.E Prindle

August 1, 2019

Part V

Time Traveling With R.E. Prindle

by

R.E. Prindle

 

Dead White Men

I dreamt I saw Joe Hill

Just as alive as you and me.

‘Oh, but Joe you’re dead,’ says I,

‘I never died said he…

‘I never died…

‘I never…’

 

Mankind longs for immortality. A life beyond death. Some believe that they pass on their genes to offspring that is a species of immortality. It may be believed that corporeal immortality in any form is an impossibility. However when corporeal existence ends there is a hope that one’s name and fame may live on in remembrance. In this pursuit many have been successful, embalmed in the history books or literature. Thus in the early twenty-first century Julius Caesar is a name known to all. King Tut is a name well known though his name has survived only because his tomb had been successfully hidden and was only discovered in the twentieth century, 1922.

As discussed in Part IV, literary fame can be long lasting. Homer is still a best seller in the twenty-first century three thousand years after his death. His works are freshly translated in nearly every decade. Thomas Mallory’s King Arthur is a steady seller six hundred years after having been published; the great Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall Of The Roman Empire is a very steady seller two hundred and thirty years after his demise. Of course, Shakespeare. All of these men are alive and well intellectually millennia and centuries after leaving the planet. They never died….

There is another we have not mentioned by the name of Francis Rabelais and his once immensely influential book, Gargantua and Pantagruel. Once banned by the Catholic Church as obscene, and it truly is, the book became a sort of bible to large numbers of Europeans. Rabelais is perhaps most remembered as the man who introduced the phrase ‘Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.’ A very attractive law to a large number of people.

The law was adopted by the people who are known as Libertines. The most famous Libertines of all were the Englishmen who established the Hell Fire Club of Medmenham Abbey. Discontinued in the 1760s it continued a movement begun in 1719 in a short lived club that ended in 1721. The famed author Tobias Smollett mentions a house he visited where impious practices were celebrated in his 1748 novel Roderick Random.

The key law in these clubs or gatherings was do what thou wilt. The motto was popular and practiced from that time on. For our purposes G.W.M. Reynolds records the attitude although strangely he makes no reference to Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel or Hell Fire Clubs although he does refer frequently to Libertinism; most probably because of his familiarity with the writings of the Marquis de Sade.

Reynolds was accused of being a pornographer and it can be substantiated by the strain of Libertinism that haunts his writing. Consider this from the Second Series of Mysteries of London Vol III:

And now his sacrilegious hands drew aside the snow-white dress which covered the sleeping lady’s bosom. And the treasures of that gently-heaving breast were exposed to his view. But not a sensual thought was thereby excited in his mind; cold and passionless, he surveyed the beauteous spectacle only as a sculptor might measure the proportions of a marble Venus or Diana the huntress.

And not a trace of cancer was there: no unseemly mark, nor mole, nor scar nor wound disfigured the glowing orbs that, rising from a broad and ample chest, swelled laterally over the upper part of the arm.

I say, visualize that. …swelling laterally over the upper part of the arms…. This woman was endowed. The gentleman doing the surveying was a physician although the physician had entered the room and closed the door and the woman had been drugged. Fairly exciting, isn’t it?

So many of Reynolds’ characters are Libertines, and it may be assumed that Libertines were quite numerous in London societies and while not expressed their motto was certainly: Do what thou wilt.

Continuing on from Part IV of Time Traveling then, let us consider the Reynolds approach in his monumental Mysteries of London.

He divides society into only two classes: the rich and the poor. The rich go broke, usually by gambling or bad investments. The poor, in that stratified society are hopeless. There doesn’t seem to be a middle class although there are the fabulously wealthy merchants struggling for an entry into the aristocracy. Generally however it is the aristocrats who are rich but there doesn’t seem to be any means for their making money, they just spend it. The poor are the poor, and we mean destitute, usually driven to criminality though sheer desperation or they were trained to criminality from youth.

Thus, as the story opens the Markham Brothers Eugene and Richard are going their separate ways. Eugene is choosing to follow vice and Richard to practice virtue. The main story then will trace the careers of these two men. But there are numerous side stories.

Perhaps the central character of the story is a criminal by the name of Anthony Tidkins otherwise known as the Resurrection Man. He seems to have a real hold on Reynolds imagination. At one time resurrection men were the scourge of England. The most famous of the kind were two Scotsmen named Burke and Hare. In the interests of science resurrection men robbed graves of the recently dead to sell to physicians who dissected them in the interest of advancing scientific knowledge. In the case of Burke and Hare they didn’t always wait for victims to die natural deaths. The occupation of resurrection men was a horrible one while anxious relatives did their utmost to protect their loved ones graves.

Reynolds is quite taken with his character. Indeed, Tidkins is involved in the lives of nearly all the characters, he is the thread that holds the story together. He is really a horrid person but as Reynolds believed that no person could be wholly bad he provides a lengthy biography of Tidkins in which he explains that Tidkins began life inherently good but all circumstances conspired to make him bad leaving no way out but to become criminal and embrace it thoroughly . His father before him was a resurrectionist and hence Tony was inducted into his father’s business. He was born into the outlaw life. No one wanted him around as a child and he was denied any opportunity to practice virtue. He was intelligent and orderly in his thinking so he made himself a master criminal while being a born leader. He brings to mind the Kray brothers of 1960s England.

One wonders why he had such a fascination for Reynolds. One turns to the limited biography of Reynolds provided by Dick Collins. Reynolds came from Kent in the South East of England. His life in Kent runs all through his stories. Reynolds father was a captain in the Navy. He was stationed on the island of Guernsey during Reynolds early years, then he moved to Kent so that Reynolds was familiar with the towns of Walmer and Deal and the shire capital, Canterbury. Much of Master Timothy’s Bookcase centered around the Canterbury area.

As we know, Reynolds was born in 1814 while his father died in 1822 when his son was eight. His mother died eight years later when the lad was fifteen. She died in March. He was an orphan then at fifteen. He had been placed in Sandhurst Military Academy at the age of fourteen presumably at the instigation of the man who would become his guardian, his father’s close friend, a physician by the name of Duncan McArthur thus giving George William McArthur Reynolds his third name. Collins says:

A curious link arises between McArthur and Reynolds’ best creation Anthony Tidkins, the Resurrection Man. Tidkins was born in Walmer, and among his first body snatches is one done for the ‘surgeon of Walmer.’ In real life this was of course Duncan McArthur. Since the latter was still very much alive when this episode was published in 1845 GWMR was accusing his guardian of complicity in grave stealing. Certainly, as Trefor Thomas has said, the grave-robbing scenes in Mysteries are among the most memorable in literature, are very realistic and seem to owe a lot to someone’s personal experience. Since most surgeons of the day used illicitly obtained corpses, at one time or another, this someone was surely Duncan McArthur.

Conjectural perhaps, but probably accurate. Physicians show up in the stories as at least semi-reprehensible people. Reynolds frequently refers to physicians with preserved body parts, even heads.   Physicians might likely keep examples of diseased organs or heads for later examination. If McArthur did and Reynolds had seen them that might account for their regular appearance in his stories.

In any event McArthur’s practice was in Walmer and Tidkins came from Walmer and sold bodies to the physician of Walmer. What Reynolds may or may not have witnessed is open to conjecture but there is one scene, most terrifyingly presented in mysteries that would point to a terrifying experience in young Reynolds life and that may have been at the sensitive period in his life called puberty.

Richard Markham (a probable alter ego for Reynolds) and the Resurrection man may have tangled and an intense mutual antipathy occurs. Richard tries to track the elusive Resurrection man down to turn him in to the police. In the first instance, hot on the pursuit of Tidkins, Tony lures him down the mazy dark streets at the witching hour, lures him into his house where Richard is captured and thrown into a dark hole under the house from which he escapes. Once free a terror seizes his mind, he wants to get far away from that Resurrection Man. He begins running at top speed which pace he keeps up for hours and miles and miles. Finally stopping, one imagines to catch his breath, he has no idea where he is. A policeman conveniently appears who tells him: ‘Why, you’re in Walmer.’ There is a Walmer district in Ealing, London so there seems to be a psychological connection in Reynolds’ mind between the Resurrection Man and Walmer, Kent so Collins is probably right in his conjecture that George did witness some dealings between Duncan McArthur and a grave robber. Perhaps as the physician in the story was with the Resurrection Man when they raised the flooring in the church to retrieve a female body a young Reynolds was present. Collins also states that there is a lot of autobiography in Mysteries.

Collins purportedly was also preparing an annotated edition of the Mysteries but it hasn’t appeared as yet. Waiting, waiting.

Shortly after this scene Richard Markham successfully leads the police to Tony’s house. The police rush in but in the confusion Tony drops into his dungeon where he has mined the house. Lighting the fuse he escapes through a concealed exit just before the house is blown sky high. Richard hadn’t yet entered the house so he too escapes. At this point everyone believes that Tony Tidkins is dead but Richard is uneasy.

Was Reynolds then trying to exorcise a terrible memory in this sequence. Did he think he could escape the memory by killing the Resurrection Man in his mind. He must have realized he hadn’t as Tidkins escaped to rise again.

Reynolds is famous for creating incidents that aren’t resolved until the end of the story. One of these, in more strands than one, involves the Resurrection Man. Early in the story Tony and Cranky Jem are in custody. Tony turns informer on Cranky Jem whereby Jem gets transported and Tony goes free. A word on transportation. Transportation is being exiled to imprisonment in Australia. I always thought that it merely meant being sent out of the country but not so and the prison conditions in Australia were abominable. There was no mercy and the worst of the prisons was Norfolk Island. The most horrible story I’ve read about Norfolk Island was in Paul Feval’s John Devil. Painful to read. It is also not improbable that Feval based his account on Reynold’s, as well as Jules Verne in his In Search Of The Castaways.

And transportation at this stage in history was a very unpleasant affair. Jem is sent to Australia where he is assigned to some logging camp on the Macquarie River. Conditions are terrible and the food worse. Cranky Jem escapes and after being recaptured and subjected to the worst conditions of Norfolk Island he escapes again to return to England and vengeance.

The description of his situation is so realistic that I believe that Jules Verne appropriated the episode of the logging camp on the Macquarie in his novel In Search of the Castaways. In fact Feval may have been influenced by it as his novel John Devil was written in 1862.

Now, these episodes of eight pages each were sold for a penny each week. Penny sounds cheap but one remembers that pennies were cast also in half-penny and quarter-penny coins as well as the Mite which was one eighth of a penny. I don’t know if you could buy anything with a mite but a farthing could be spent. As noted, at least half the population was illiterate and another percentage barely literate so that market was closed except that enterprising fellows saw an opportunity and formed reading groups in which they read the weekly issue to the illiterates. I have no idea what the readers charged whether a farthing or ha’penny or what but Reynolds was creating a livelihood for readers and that would go on for twelve years.

The readers became entertainment to be looked forward to each week. That meant that each eight page episode had to end as a cliffhanger or on some interesting note. Reynolds needed so many characters intertwined to keep the customers returning each week. One method was to portray groups of commanding interest and mystery such as the Gypsies.

Here Reynolds has done his research and has a plausible explanation of the origin of the nation. This discussion of the Gypsies allows him to develop transient characters and include old standbys in novel locations. Thus Cranky Jem on his return fearful of being recognized joins a Gypsy band. Jem accompanies the Gypsies to their palace in the Holy Land. The criminal area of St. Giles of London was known as the Holy Land. He has been searching for Tidkins but, even though he knows all his haunts, he hasn’t been able to find him as Tony is laying low.

Chance however brings him to the Gypsie Palace where he is recognized by Jem who leaps on him and stabs him in the breast. The wound is very serious but not fatal. The Gypsies take Tony with them where over a period of a few months he recovers.

Richard Markham and the rest believe him dead until he is spotted again in the East End. Cranky Jem then dogs Tony through the streets finally locating his secret residence. By this time Jem has settled down a lot, has rejected his criminal ways and makes his living selling ship models. He is no longer quite so furious and violent as to attempting murder but there are hundreds and hundreds of pages to go before Tony gets his due. Tony’s fabulous criminal career has many incidents left.

Let us leave Tony and his adventures for now. Early on Reynolds introduces a character, a very good one too, he calls the Old Hag who lives on Globe Lane. She lives criminally as a procuress of young girls for prostitution for the aristocracy but is not thoroughly hardened. Reynolds refers to the story of the top courtesan of the Regency Era, Harriette Wilson. She was a familiar of the Regency Bucks, Beau Brummel and that lot. She is the woman who approached the Duke of Wellington, with whom she had been intimate, with the offer that for two hundred pounds she would edit him out of her memoirs. Many men had paid but the Duke famously told her ‘Publish and be damned.’

Her work is hundreds of pages long and, personally, I found it pretty boring stuff. As many of the people, including herself, were alive in the forties, perhaps that made her work more racy. Her book, along with other sources gave Reynolds necessary info to work with.

So, the Old Hag was a procuress, she found pretty girls to be mistresses for these Libertines, Rakes and old reprobates. This involves her with one of the story’s heroines, Ellen Monro who is involved with Richard Markham. Her father was the man who lost Richard’s fortune. The Old Hag plays a major role in the story until she is murdered by the Resurrection Man.

Tony finally meets his end as Reynolds draws his story to a close in one of the more thrilling adventures of the story.   Like all the adventures it is hundreds of pages long beginning way back when interrupted by other peoples’ adventures and years pass before the climax occurs.

Reynolds vision of society has two classes, the rich and the poor. The criminal element is part of the poor and the criminals are only criminals because they’re poor which doesn’t explain why the rich may behave as criminals. Somewhere between the criminals and the ‘pure’ honest folk is a class called Men of the World or Men About Town. These are usually Libertines and men of easy conscience who take the world as they find it and essentially do as they wilt.

Curiously Reynolds want to be considered a man of the world. He embraced the idea, for instance, of bankruptcy as a financial tool rather than something to be avoided. While he inveighs against gambling, in his youth according to Dick Collins he was arrested for playing with loaded dice in the city of Calais and taken back to Paris where Collins believes he was convicted and did time. If so, my guess would be that he was incarcerated in the Bicetre prison and insane asylum about which he writes familiarly.

Insane asylums figure prominently in his work, while he was aware of the Frenchman Pinel who pioneered humane treatment of the insane. I would imagine that life was so tough during this period that insanity was a fairly prominent condition, certainly among women who were seriously mistreated, abused and left with no recourse. Pinel worked in the early nineteenth century but real progress in understanding mental disorders wasn’t made until the 1860s when another Frenchman, Jean Martin Charcot, the father of modern psychology, of the Salpetriere Women’s Asylum in Paris, employed hypnotism in treating the women he treated who had endured terrific psychological abuse so that hysterical insanity was their only refuge. Once in the Salpetriere the doctors frequently continued the abuse.

While as a man of the world Reynolds seems to know a great deal about criminality and the world of the desperate poor he doesn’t seem to have much real experience with the world of Fashion or of the aristocracy. As seriously as he attacked them there was no reason for them to associate with him.

So, in this novel his two principle characters other than Tidkins are from a father who was a successful merchant who amassed a fairly large fortune and lived in a large house in the Holloway area in the North of London. The house seems to be isolated from all other habitations. Stephen Knight in his book points out that Holloway neither then nor now was a particularly desirable part of town. Its meaning in the novel he thinks was that you could see all of London spread out before you.

So, back to the beginning. As I said, I consider the Resurrection Man as the principle character, however, the story is rich with memorable characters. Next to Tony Tidkins the central character is the rather insipid Richard Markham, a man so pure and good he seems to have been born yesterday. He is virtue incarnate, which is, of course, the point. He is not only willing but eager to forgive even the direst injury.

Per the Marquis de Sade and Reynolds the question is does a life of Vice lead to unhappiness or does a life of Virtue. De Sade came down on the side of Vice as leading to happiness and Virtue to poverty and shame. But no matter how seeming the success of the vicious life and no matter how rocky the road of Virtue Reynolds says, Virtue in the end will prove the happiest and most successful.

Richard’s brother Eugene who becomes George Montague and then George Greenwood chose a life of Vice, that is a swindling man of the world. His early adventures bring him great success. While Richard is plagued with troubles and almost destroyed. His father’s old financial manager named Monro, at an age when he should have known better, makes a bad financial decision (is bilked by an adventurer) he then compounds the losses by frantically chasing other bad deals. While Eugene/George Montague is going from success to success by dubious Man of the World type ventures, confidence games, Richard begins life broke except for his mansion and two hundred pounds a year. His misfortune is compounded when he is drawn into a criminal situation and receives a two year sentence in prison even though he is innocent.

As an ex-con then his reputation is severely compromised which leads to a few unpleasant results. Remember that Reynolds is writing for the illiterate and barely literate so he has to gear his story to their verbal capabilities while attempting to find a place in literary society. His vocabulary is quite extensive while he tosses off the obscure seldom used word or two.

His language surely was above the understanding of the illiterates attending the readings. Thus the reader probably extended the time of reading with explanations.

Reynolds acknowledges the issue when among others Richard’s Butler misuses nearly his whole vocabulary by trying to sound literate. It is good comic relief and probably represented the actual situation of the listeners. Yet, they loved Reynolds. Still, the question is, what did they understand? How did they hear what they heard?

Reynolds, as I say, acknowledges his listeners turning Richard’s story into a rag to riches fairy tale in which he even marries the Princess and become the heir apparent, a Prince. He always leaves ample latitude for the listeners or readers to imagine that those fairy tales might come true for them.

Thus among the vicissitudes and turbulence a very large part of the novel is the ridiculous tale of how Richard, an ex-con becomes an actual Prince of the fairy kingdom of Castelcicala just North of Naples and South of the Papal States. But, back to the slums and the Resurrection Man.

Now, all these characters relate to each other in some way and their tales are actually fair sized novels when considered individually. Significantly each novel takes a couple years to work out so the audience is kept in suspense for a very long time. At the various readings it would be necessary to reprise the story to that point so that Tony Tidkins might probably have become a real man to the listeners, he had his place in all of the tales, and a significant place. These readings may almost have become seances while the listeners sat in the semi-darkness of oil lamps. Reynolds hypnotizes and jollies his listeners along often speaking directly to them through the reader’s voice.

Perhaps the Resurrection Man’s crowning achievement was his relationship with Adeline Enfield later Lady Ravensworth.

As this tale, or novel even, begins Adeline and Lydia Hutchinson are teachers at an elite boarding school. Adeline is an aristocrat and Lydia is not. Hence Lydia has to respect Adeline. Naturally they are very young and outstandingly beautiful.   Either Reynolds was a wild flatterer or he somehow moved in a world of only the most beautiful women. He would have been the man to hang out with. By the way the term to hang out was a current phase at the time, nothing new about it. Lydia is pure in mind and body while Adeline may be described as fast. Adeline then sets out to corrupt Lydia and makes her her partner in libidinous activities.

As they are subjected to a rigid discipline at the school their affairs have to be done on the sly. Adeline plays the role of a procuress. One of many of Reynolds female characters who recruit women for prostitution. Or frails, as Reynolds politely has it.

She and Lydia step out at night to meet Captain Cholmondely, pronounced Chumley and written as such in this review and Lord Dunstable, a couple of army officers. Adeline goes with Chumley and Dunstable is given the task of deflowering and corrupting Lydia. Being a Lord it may be expected that he overawed Lydia. The two men are Libertines, Rakes or Men on the Town. Dunstable having no luck in seducing Lydia, drugs her. Once deflowered she is easy to manage. So Lydia becomes a frail or lost woman.

The upshot is that Adeline becomes pregnant, which condition she successfully conceals until the actual birth of the child. Women had skills in those days. The baby is stillborn. Adeline conceals the baby in Lydia’s luggage then finks on Lydia who is thought to have been the mother. Apparently what should have been marked changes in either Lydia or Adeline went unnoticed. But then Adeline was an aristocrat and immune to censure.

Lydia fired from her job has a long relationship with Lord Dunstable which ends when he and Captain Chumley’s regiment is sent to Europe. Lydia rapidly goes downhill becoming a street walker and finally destitute and wrecked physically wandering the winter streets in thin rags. As she trudged wearily a flush rosy cheeked Adeline is being escorted from a private club to a coach by her gallant. Lydia accosts her asking for a sovereign to keep the cold at bay. Adeline cuts her dead.

Hatred of Adeline enters Lydia’s soul.

Moving ahead a few hundred pages and several months of readings Lydia is rescued from her life of shame by kind people and rehabilitated then sent out to be a lady’s maid. Adeline, now Lady Ravensworth, requires a new maid and as luck would have it Lydia Hutchinson is sent for the position.

Her hatred of Adeline has scorched her soul for a few years and now fate has placed Adeline in her power. Where is the Resurrection Man you say? He’s in the wings waiting to come on stage. Lydia, of course, know the history of Adeline’s malfeasance and threatens to expose her unless Adeline becomes her slave for a year. Thus Adeline falls under Lydia’s discipline which she can’t endure. She learns of Anthony Tidkins, disguises herself and visits him in his den. She commissions Tidkins to murder Lydia. He does, in Adeline’s presence and boudoir thus placing Adeline in his power. Lydia is strangled and disposed of in a pond on the premises. To give credit to the claim that Lydia absconded Adeline throws her jewellery box in after Lydia. Thus when Tidkins hears that the jewels were missing he quickly puts two and two together. He goes diving for the box. Without the added weight Lydia floats to the surface. Discovered she is given a burial above the lake’s marge.

Cut to the Baron of Ravensworth’s younger brother, a Mr. Vernon, who has been a reprobate while living as an ex-pat in the Middle East for some time. He is in financial trouble needing to inherit the estate to bail himself out. Murder seems the best course but it must look natural. Therefore Young Vernon had sent the Baron tobacco that had been treated with an undetectable poison that was only activated when lighted. So as the Baron deteriorated even though the tobacco was chemically tested it appeared normal. Reynold’s will use the undetectable poison dodge again in Mysteries of the Court of London. In that novel it is known as the Heir’s Friend.

However the Baron marries Adeline and at this point in the story as the Baron is wasting away she is pregnant. If she bears a son Young Vernon’s hopes of succession will be blown away forever. Therefore, he has to devise a plan to murder the child if a son. Who is recommended as the man for the job? Who else? The Resurrection Man.

The Baron dies, a son is born, Tidkins to the rescue. He has a rather elaborate plan that fails, failing as improbably as the plan, so everything falls apart. Adeline departs for the Continent with her son. Now there is much business as they would say on the stage that keeps the reader spell bound.

Reynolds is superb at this sort of business. A bare outline such as this does no justice to Reynolds story telling abilities. The man’s skill is outstanding. I can’t think of anyone comparable in English literature with the exception of Walter Scott and then that is of a much different quality but even the qualitative difference may be in favor of Reynolds. Amongst the French only Dumas, a consummate master, may equal or exceed Reynolds. Eugene Sue, as great as he is, is a notch or two below Reynolds although Reynolds plundered Sue much more than in the Mysteries of Paris and the Wandering Jew. Sue has more novels after these two, prodigious productions, and he died in 1857 at only fifty-four years of age.

Amongst the great English writers after Scott none can compare to Reynolds. Anthony Trollope another prolific guy with forty-seven novels to his credit, two excellent series, The Barchester novels and the Palliser Set is merely a pleasant writer. Interestingly Trollope was only four years younger than Reynolds, born in 1818, and began writing in the forties. Strangely, while Reynolds is lost in the past, Trollope seems to be part of a different reality and of the future. His six Palliser novels, at a length of four thousand pages or so might very possibly have been inspired by Reynolds multi-volume novels. His are genteel novels in which his characters are proper. While Reynolds penetrates deeply into the English character from which the future of England over the next hundred and fifty years could be extenuated, prefiguring in his way the Profumo scandal of the nineteen sixties and the race situation. His criminal world and his association with the money world could easily be seen in comparison with the Kray Brothers and their penetration of polite society. Their today scarcely mentioned criminal activities involving Lord Boothby and his ilk somewhat resemble those of the Resurrection Man.

I think it noteworthy that that period was drawn to a close only after Ronnie Kray used physical violence against Boothby that the police were allowed to, or ordered to, smash the Kray gang. It was all fun for the Boothby crowd until Ronnie Kray manhandled Boothby allowing him to see the dangers of their association.

Reynolds would have been quite at home writing that situation and it would have been as long as three thousand pages and better than the reality. Trollope one feels would have smoothed the situation over so that the crimes were only minor peccadilloes although a few people regretfully went to prison. But then Trollope was socially acceptable and Reynolds was not. So with Reynolds we have two different nations but different than those of Benjamin D’ Israeli novels.

Pardon the digression.

As I was saying, Young Vernon in order to eliminate his older brother had sent a large box of tobacco tainted with a debilitating poison thus in order to make the death look natural his brother was wasting away.   The Baron had long been a bachelor so Young Vernon would have been his heir but the Baron had married Adeline and she was again pregnant. If the child was a girl, no problem but if a boy Young Vernon was out in the cold without an overcoat.

If a son, it had to be put away. But how? Seeking a reference Vernon was directed to who else? The Resurrection Man. Tony was the man with devious plans and he has a humdinger for the child. As I say, this is a bare outline, you have to read Reynolds. The plan fails and Adeline takes her boy and leaves for an extended stay in France.

If you remember Cranky Jem, his inveterate hatred for Tony drove him on. He has spied on Tidkins, found his crib, and observed him carefully. Tony has a dungeon at his place in which he imprisons victims and where he stores his cash. While he was busy in the Ravensworth affair Jem broke into his house and explored the dungeon. On Tony’s return he notices things have been disturbed but, as yet, Jem hasn’t robbed him.

As this is an involved story involving many characters from the opening pages of the novel a couple of the Men about Town inveigle a young wastrel to use the mansion of Ravensworth in Adeline’s absence to impress the wastrel’s people by claiming the mansion as his own. As the group is enjoying themselves Adeline chooses the moment to return from France. In her absence Tony has been using Ravensworth as his hideout as he is too hot to return to his crib in London. He’s been selling off the odd picture and knickknack to finance his stay. Adeline notices missing items, asks the aged housekeepers what happened. They hadn’t noticed anything for Tony was staying in the large mansion parts of which they had no reason to visit. Tony reveals himself and takes Adeline captive.

In the interim Lydia Hutchinson resting in her grave had been exposed during a high water and her hand sticking out of the mud is noticed. The body is dug up and deposited in the kitchen. Now, remember that Tony and Adeline were partners in Lydia’s murder. To impress Adeline with her criminal guilt so that she can’t go to the police Tony takes her into the kitchen and shows her the reeking and decayed body. Already seriously overwrought Adeline shrieks and falls down dead.

Tony Tidkins, the Resurrection Man, puts his hand to his chin and soliloquizes : I think I’ve gone too far this time. The funniest line in a serious novel.

Tony quits the scene returning to his crib. Jem has been busy. Tony notices the disturbances in his house and hurries down to the dungeon to grab the cash and flee to America. Remember the Statue of Liberty: ‘send us the wretched refuse of your teeming shore?’ Look out America, Tony wants to reverence that great Statue.

But, he won’t get to. Jem has stolen his stash. As Tony is trying to guess who has taken the money his lamp illuminates an inscription at his feet- Crankey Jem has been here. And he still was. He suddenly confronts Tony and hustles him into a cell locking him in. Tony is prepared; he has mined the cell with a bomb. Pipe bomb. He threatens to blow the dungeon, himself and Cranky Jem sky high. Jem says go ahead making no attempt to flee. Tony lights the fuse but in the damp cellar the powder is too damp to create a real explosion. Rather than blow the building sky high it frazzles into a small explosion blinding the Resurrection Man. The Devil, Tony gets his due. Jem sneers at him and as Reynolds says disappears from sight. He was never seen again but he undoubtedly took Tony’s stash and left for the refuge of criminals, The United States of America.

And so that strand of the novel ends. There are numerous other strands left to resolve. This first series of the Mysteries was a monumental achievement second only to GWM’s The Mysteries Of The Court Of London which is even greater. Reynolds also wrote a second series in two volumes that formed the two series lasting for four years.

As the second series was ending in 1848 he began the even longer Mysteries Of The Court Of London. That story is a sort of historical novel concerning the period of the regency of the future George IV.

As Reynolds was writing the second series of Mysteries of London, in 1847-48 he also wrote a substantial novel, worthy of comment- The Mysteries Of Old London: Days of Hogarth. I will tackle that in a future Time Travel. Reynold had taken on further responsibility by beginning his magazine Reynolds Miscellany in 1846, while writing the Second Series and engaging in a bankruptcy trial so, while an excellent book, better than the Second Series it still shows a lack of attention that denies making it the equal of the First Series.

Thus, in sequence the historical period of the three novels is Mysteries Of Old London, 1723-50, Mysteries Of The Court Of London 1795-1820 and Mysteries Of London, 1731—48, and the date of the Revolution of 1848. If you want to read them in sequence it is no small task, this is their order and a reading is well worth it.

Part VI:  Building An Empire follows.

23 Responses to “Part V Time Traveling With R.E Prindle”

  1. Daughter of Babylon Says:

    Mankind longs for immortality. A life beyond death. Some believe that they pass on their genes to offspring that is a species of immortality.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I was like most people…afraid of death…and when I thought of all the things there were to know in the miserable few years a woman has to know them…it seemed senseless. I talked to priests…philosophers…w/o finding the answers I sought.

    Only if I person lived forever could there be any point in living at all.

    Then one day I met an alchemist…told him these things. He said he could grant my wish; provided I pay him a large sum of money…I was desperate and so I paid him and submitted to his experiments…I remember very little about it; though I know I lay in a coma for several weeks; and when I awoke the alchemist was gone.

    I assumed the experiment had failed; as I did not feel any differently…but then 10 years elapsed and my visage was unchanged…then 20 years…then 50…and there could then be no doubt that I was here for the long haul.

    How old am I? Let me put it this way; when the first coins were being developed from the sediments in the Pactolus River in what is now modern day Turkey; I was already walking the earth…

  2. reprindle Says:

    Love it. Hang in there, kid. You’ll have a story to tell when the waters rise.

  3. Daughter of Babylon Says:

    Hey Prindle; what do you call a pandemic that reduces the world population by one billion?

    A good start!

    Love your writings.

    Regards,
    D.O.B.

  4. Daughter of Babylon Says:

    It would be a messy way to straighten out the problem though…

    An alternate and far cleaner way would be mass sterilization (note the similarities between “sterile” and “clean”).

    Within 75 years; those Georgia Guidestone goals would be within reach; and the planet could recover ecologically and no one would be actually harmed.

    As an immortal; I am well suited to playing The Long Game.

    “The Two Greatest Warriors are Patience & Time”; and I have a monopoly on Both.

    I saw Soylent Green in ’73 and am well aware of the horrors of overpopulation; most assuredly not just a matter of conjecture and theoretical speculation.

    If you think about it; “Soylent Green” is very much an approximation amalgamation (through multiple Romance Languages) of “I am lending you The Truth”.

    Innumerable secrets have been woven into the lexicon.

    Robert Neville / Heston actually had a paradise for himself in that 1971 flic “The Omega Man”; but he knew it not…

    I’ll lend you a little More Truth; courtesy of H.P.:

    “The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”
    ___Lovecraft

  5. Daughter of Babylon Says:

    Is a Dark Ages disease the new American plague threat?
    https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/460442-is-a-dark-ages-disease-the-new-american-plague-threat
    By “Dr.” Marc Siegel, opinion contributor — 09/08/19 03:00 PM EDT

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    And right on schedule!

    I can do it in My Sleep…

    It is My World; y’all just in it…

  6. reprindle Says:

    Loved your Lovecraft quote. Diseases! I noted in the passage I quoted that the Doctor in examining the woman’s breasts (as a scientist) discovered no traces of cancer. As a doctor one imagines that he had examined quite a few female breasts and one guesses frequently found evidence of cancer. That means that there must have been quite a few women who died from cancer. That also means that the ridiculous causes they find for modern breast cancer are so much bushwa. Breast cancer would appear to be endemic with the female of the species.

    As far as typhus goes it was common in the US into the twentieth century until the cause was discovered. You will remember Typhoid Mary of New York City. Yellow fever in Cuba was eliminated when the relationship between puddles and the disease was discovered. If leprosy is recurring it can only be coming from immigration. Thus, the big hearts encouraging it are willing that others shall pay a high price for their supposed benevolence. The filth of the streets of San Francisco should encourage not only old but new diseases. But the right of the mentally disabled trump the rights of the more capable. And that in the name of benevolence. Stick around kid and get your memories refreshed. Have I told you that I’m the Great Historical Bum? Been there, done that. 🙂

  7. Daughter of Babylon Says:

    supposed benevolence
    >>>>

    Yes; this is the *sine qua non* of the destruction of nations; and under another topic on thy blog; I quote Julie Tyler (John’s wife) and her assertion that “the crocodile doth cry most piteously; but woe unto the traveler beguiled by its tears”.

    She was castigating the British for their abrupt turnabout regarding the slave trade. She insightfully observed how peculiar it was that in 1770; when it produced incredible profits for England; nary a negative word was spoken on the subject; but just a mere 20 years later; after the British were effectively expelled from America; all sorts of sentimental lamentations came forth from Britain; castigating the wickedness of (most specifically) the American South.

    She pondered, “how could it be that in a mere 20 years; after hundreds of years engaged in the Slave trade; the English had this remarkable epiphany about its innately evil character?” She could see through the charade; the British were now opposed to slavery because they no longer made any money from it; and by denouncing the American continuation of what was a still profitable (albeit ethically icy) business; they hoped to effectively destabilize fledgling America; as the nations were obviously far less friendly subsequent to the Revolutionary War.

    As for you being the “Great Historical Bum”; no doubt the breadth of your knowledge is very great; I have not read all the stories on this blog; but the ones I have gotten through; it is obvious that he depth of your scholarship is considerable.

    Take Care.

  8. Daughter of Babylon Says:

    Again; the “democratic impulse” is one that will sink a Titanic of a Nation; here is quick copy n paste from the book I wrote;
    regarding the topic at hand; On The House; just 4 U (not that you don’t know it already):

    Democracy serves but one purpose; to reveal which ambitious despot-in-waiting is most skilled at deceiving a majority of The People. Democracy is always the forerunner of idiocracy and dystopia.

    Democracy is an absurd concept; borne out of egalitarian impulses and sentimental foolishness; it presupposes the “equal wisdom” of all of its citizens when it comes to making sound choices for the nation.

    In a strictly abstract sense; the concept of “democracy” itself is a veritable affront to the dignity of the Man or Woman of Honor; for they needeth not have their moral and philosophical inferiors; the “democratic state” lecture them on “Right and Wrong”; being tutored on such matters by one’s lessers constitutes an unseemliness of the Highest Magnitude.

    The moral incongruity that democracy presents is so obvious that it seems hidden in plain sight. How can a nation stake a claim to upholding human dignity and honorable dealings with their neighbors when the wicked, the evil-doer, or simply the idiot is afforded an “equal say”; (i.e. “a vote”) in determining his “representatives” vis a vis the honest and intelligent citizen?

    If you believe that such bad character is somehow filtered out of the process; I would ask you to consider the soaring number of politicians either accused or convicted of gross impropriety; or outright criminal conduct whilst in office…and that accounts not for all those that have successfully veiled their misdeeds.

    Moreover; simply examine some of the vile policies proposed and the heinous wars financed by such people; and one can quickly see that wickedness has found its way into the hallowed halls of government through the machinations of democracy; a form of government far more insidious than its benign reputation.

    The fool has an absolute and inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…but they have no right to rule over the wise and the just; for if allowed to do so; they will almost certainly eradicate those Three Precious Freedoms; not only for themselves; but for Everyone Else.

  9. Daughter of Babylon Says:

    And right on cue!!!

    Life; it holds no challenges for the Daughter of Babylon…

    It may not have reached American Congress yet (though there was that incident in May 1856 with the Sumner / Brooks caning case) like I say; give it time.

  10. Daughter of Babylon Says:

    25 Sept 2019:
    “New U.N. climate report: Massive change already here for world’s oceans and frozen regions…Climate change is already causing staggering impacts on the oceans and ice-filled regions that encompass 80 percent of the Earth, and future damage from rising seas and melting glaciers is now all but certain, according to a sobering new report from the United Nations.”
    ___The Washington Post

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
    ___Goebbels

  11. Daughter of Babylon Says:

    The most reactionary entity in the Universe is the modern liberal; and the modern conservative is right up there with her.
    They represent the “mainstream” of America; the Democratic and Republican parties lifeblood.

    They hate change with a passion because their current suzerainty; over 100 years of uninterrupted raw, unjustified power over their betters, is, at its core, an Unbelievable Fluke.

    Thus they teach the People to likewise hate and fear change.

    That you are ruled over by Stone Idiots who confiscate your wealth, your minds, your self-respect, and then tell you to “thank them” for this theft is Beyond Incomprehensible.

    The fanatical need to “stop climate change” is a manifestation of the reactionary mindset.

    They do not say, “stop poisoning the soil, polluting the water, decimating plant and animal life with toxic chemicals”; no; because those aims would be LAUDABLE; and would almost certainly diminish the profit margins for the large corporations that inflict grave damage on the environment while running America.

    So instead of targeting the disease; they target a nebulous potential symptom. EVERY PROBLEM AMERICA HAS IS APPROACHED IN A SIMILAR FASHION; TO INSURE THAT THE PROBLEM REMAINS PERMANENTLY UNSOLVED; AND THUS THE FLOW OF CASH CONTINUES UNDISTURBED TO THOSE WHO PERPETUATE IT FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE.

    Since the Average American knows as much about historical global climatology as he does the Urdu Language; the ambiguities of the problem are not even slightly grasped by even the smallest fraction of the “voting” (lol) public.

    Remember that almost every politician; be he Left or Right; is both a Professional Liar and a Friend of Racketeers; and their motivations are intensely dishonorable; improving the quality of life for the citizenry is at the bottom of their List of Concerns; their only goals are to be re-elected and to line their pockets.

    They are likewise Great Lovers of Political Inertia; hating the idea of even the Slightest Change in the Present American Dynamic; as it has catapulted them; Philosophical and Intellectual Simpletons of the First Order; into the Pinnacles of Power; an upending of the Natural Order far beyond anything ever seen before. We call this “democracy”; the most insane form of government ever to coalesce in the Minds of Men.

    Thus “stopping climate change” is their shibboleth; just as stopping all change is their Great Work. If you were to ask any “politician” in private if he actually gave two shits about the matter; he would laugh and look at you like you were nuts; but The Sheeple are True Believers; and they will re-elect such beings until Queendom Come.

    Since Any Change diminishes their undeserved power; the metaphorical opposition to “climate change” manifests; in a spiritual sense; their devotion to their own perpetual incumbency.

    Pollution will worsen; but this is irrelevant to them. As the saying goes, “the war is not meant to be won; it is meant to be continuous”.

    • reprindle Says:

      I hope you won’t object DOB if I post your comment on my facebook page. An excellent summary.

      • Daughter of Babylon Says:

        You have carte blanche…

        I never had a “Facebook” or a “Twitter”; probably because

        a/ I found the notion that a Third Party had the “right” to restrict what I might say utterly anathema; The Daughter of Babylon will say whatever She wants; wherever She wants; including shouting fire in the burning building of this sick and profoundly deceived nation.

        b/ I was not keen on having My Identity; i.e. My Current “legal” (lol) Name ferreted out…

        I am glad someone appreciates Me; that makes one down; seven billion to go.

        “Sometimes good things take time”
        ___Lou Manheim

        • reprindle Says:

          You express yourself forcibly, DOB, with historical accuracy so there is no reason for third parties to censor your speech. I am not interesting in personal invective, obscenity or insane ranting either so I haven’t as yet been interfered with by the platform although small minded petty tyrants can be a problem. For myself I find your observations consonant with my own and hence ‘factual.’ As Time Travelers we can’t expect the stay at homers to be as aware as we are.

  12. Daughter of Babylon Says:

    It is strange; how this guy Trump allows his enemies to lambast and lampoon him.

    When I lived in Egypt; if anyone challenged or insulted Pharaoh; it was off with their head; there was not even a single warning afforded.

    I think this is Trump’s stumbling block.

    21. We have nothing with the outcast and the unfit: let them die in their misery. For they feel not. Compassion is the vice of kings: stamp down the wretched & the weak: this is the law of the strong: this is our law and the joy of the world. Think not, o king, upon that lie: That Thou Must Die: verily thou shalt not die, but live. Now let it be understood: If the body of the King dissolve, he shall remain in pure ecstasy for ever. Nuit! Hadit! Ra-Hoor-Khuit! The Sun, Strength & Sight, Light; these are for the servants of the Star & the Snake.
    ___The Book of The Law

  13. Daughter of Babylon Says:

    When I (re) assume power on this planet; business will be conducted in a fashion more in line with how I reigned in Constantinople (not Istanbul).

    People often intimate that I am “more one nation than another”; but I am of all nations; I play no favorites….

    I have a long history under the alias of Semiramis; and a far shorter one under “Theodora”.

    I am not called The Lady of Ten Thousand Names by accident…

    Procopius; though an odious little man; did not fail to capture the essence of that exciting 6th century interlude…

    “The Crimes of Theodora
    From ‘The Secret History’ by Procopius

    HAVING completed our portrait of Justinian, let us turn now to Theodora. Her mind was firmly and perpetually fixed upon inhumanity. No one ever once persuaded her or forced her to do anything: she herself with stubborn self-will fulfilled her own purposes with all the powers at her disposal, and nobody dared to ask mercy for anyone who had incurred her displeasure.

    Neither the passage of time, nor surfeit of punishment, nor any kind of appeal, nor any threat of death, — though all mankind lives in expectation that it will fall from heaven, could induce her to abate her wrath in the slightest. To put it in a nutshell, Theodora was never once known to come to terms with anyone who had aroused her ire, even when he had departed this life. The dead man’s heir inherited the hatred of the Empress like anything else belonging to his father, and bequeathed it to the third generation. For her animosity was ever ready to be aroused to the destruction of other people, and no power on earth could mitigate it.

    To her bodily needs she devoted quite unnecessary attention, though never enough to satisfy herself. She was in a great hurry to get into her bath, and very unwilling to get out again. When she had finished her ablutions she would go down to breakfast, and after a light breakfast she would take a rest. But at lunch and supper she indulged her taste for every kind of food and drink. Again and again she would sleep for hours on end, by day till nightfall and by night till sunrise. And though she had strayed thus into every path of self-indulgence for so great a part of the day, she thought fit to run the whole of the Roman Empire! If the Emperor entrusted any business to a man without first seeking her approval, such a change of fortune would come upon that man’s affairs that very soon after he would be removed from his position with the utmost ignominy, and die a most shameful death.

    Justinian found it easy to cope with everything, not only because of his tranquil temperament, but because, as remarked before, he had little need of sleep as a rule, and was approachable in the extreme. For there was almost complete freedom for people, even if they were obscure or completely unknown, not only to come into the presence of this autocratic monarch, but to converse with him quite freely and be closeted with him in private.

    But to the Empress’s presence even for one of the magistrates there was no admission except at the cost of much time and effort; on every occasion they all had to await her pleasure, waiting like slaves in a small, stuffy anteroom all the time. For it was impossibly risky for any of the magistrates to be missing. Hour after hour they stood on tiptoes, each straining to hold his head higher than those near him in order to catch the eye of any eunuchs emerging from within.

    At long last and after days of waiting a few of them were called for: they went into her presence trembling with fear and hurried out again as quickly as they could, having merely prostrated themselves and touched the instep of each imperial foot with the edge of their lips. To make any comment or request unbidden by her was completely ruled out. The nation had become a community of slaves with Theodora as slave-driver. To such an extent was the Roman State being brought to nothing, what with the monarch’s temperament, which seemed too easy-going, and Theodora’s, which was harsh and implacable. For an easy-going temperament meant instability, an implacable one made action impossible.

    If in their attitude of mind and in their way of life they clearly had nothing in common, they were as one in their rapacity, their lust for blood, and their utter contempt for the truth. Both of them were most practiced liars, and if anyone who had aroused Theodora’s ire was alleged to be committing any offence however trivial and insignificant, she promptly fabricated charges which had nothing to do with the accused, and blew the matter up to criminal proportions.

    Endless indictments received a hearing, and a special court was established to dispose of them. The juries impaneled were of Theodora’s choosing, and the members were expected to contend with each other to see which of them by the inhumanity of his verdict could succeed better than the others in satisfying the Empress’s desire. Thus she saw to it that the property of anyone who had offended her should be immediately pocketed by the Treasury, and after having him most cruelly flogged, though he might perhaps be descended from a long line of noble ancestors, she did not hesitate to punish him with either banishment or death. But if by any chance one of her favorites was known to have committed homicide or any other capital offence, she mocked and ridiculed the efforts of the accusers, and forced them much against their will to keep silence about what had occurred.”

  14. Daughter of Babylon Says:

    She Who Must Be Obeyed said:
    When I (re) assume power on this planet;
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    “My army, my government, and my priesthood are one and the same. The grades and the exaltations suffice, one above the other. This is the Magical Hierarchy on which we shall build fair Babylon. Let the Christians in their terror cry, Babylon the Great is risen! is risen! And there is no glory more terrible than she! All we have built is for naught, save her. All our science, all our thought, are now the playthings of Mary the Whore! Our people are free, alas and alack! Our legs have faltered beneath us. Our pathway has grown dim in the fog of joyous rapine. Our God has forsaken us, for we never knew him.”
    ___Liber 718

  15. Daughter of Babylon Says:

    The American People are 80% of the way to Lobotomized Slavery…however; a small window still remains for them to potentially escape that dreadful fate before the metaphorical coffin has been permanently sealed.

    The Daughter of Babylon is not the People’s Best Friend; She is their Only Friend…

    • reprindle Says:

      Worthy comments of the DOB. I fully approve of all. As the GHB I have watched all these developments. Redemption may be obtained but only with great resolution and I fear that may be lacking. When you say that the American people have been lobotomized I fear you are correct. But, as they always respond to power one can only hope that Trump’s forbearance will end soon and he takes the reins of power to himself.

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