A Note And Aside On George W. M. Reynold’s Mysteries Of Old London: Days Of Hogarth

by

R.E. Prindle

 

While Old London isn’t as widely read as George’s two masterpieces it is a very interesting book. It is an historical examination of the eighteenth century period of Duke of Wharton and his Mohocks.

A comprehensive review will follow later, this note examines an interesting passage while other notes may follow. In a review of the whole, one frequently omits significant observations or ideas. In this quote that is very remarkable for its time (1848) Reynolds examines weaving in a manner that neither Dickens or Ainsworth could touch.

The quote occurs on page 14 of the British Library reprint while George is setting up his story. Chapter 5, The Two Apprentices.

It has been well said that man is the noblest work of God; but it is not equally easy to decide which is the noblest work of man. Though in contrast with the wondrous achievements of Almighty Power, the efforts of the human race are as nothing- though the most complicated, the most perfect results of mortal ingenuity are mean and contemptible when placed in comparison with the stupendous creations of the Divine Architect- nevertheless the earth is covered with monuments, which excite our astonishment and our admiration at the intelligence, the power, and the perseverance of man!

But of all the acts which in their application, constitute the distinctions between social and savage life- between a glorious civilization and an enduring barbarism- that of Weaving is decidedly one of the chief. For though the savage may affect the finery of shells and flowers- though he may study external adornment by means of natural products most pleasing in his sight- and though he may even conceal his nakedness with leaves, or defend himself from the cold by the hides of animals- yet is only in those portions of the globe where civilization has been the tutress of the human race, that comfortable clothing is known. And for this we are indebted to the LOOM which we may therefore look upon as at least one of the noblest works of Man!

How much of her prosperity,- how much of her greatness does England now owe to that achievement of human ingenuity! Amongst all the departments of National Industry, none is more ennobling in its tendency to commercial progress, than the art of weaving! Alas! That War should ever impose its barbarism in a way of the pursuit of Peace! For while Peace aspires to make our homes happy and increase our comforts, thus augmenting the enjoyments of life- War- hideous barbaric War- snatches our industrious mechanics from their looms, and our agricultural labourers from their plowshares, to place them in the ranks of armies or on the decks of fleets. And, what gain we from War after all? Glory- yes, plenty of glory; aye- and plenty of taxation also! For taxation is a vampire that loves to feast on the blood of a Nation’s heart, and to prey upon the vitals of an industrious population. It is an avaricious, grasping, griping fiend that places it finger on every morsel of food which enters into the mouth, on every article of clothing which covers the person, and on everything which is pleasant to behold, hear, taste, feel or smell! It interferes with our warmth- our light- our locomotion- the very paper which diffuses knowledge! It roams over the land to claim its share of the produce of our fields and our manufactures: and it awaits on the key of our seaports for the unlading of vessels bringing things from abroad. The moment that the industry or the intelligence of man originates something new, the fiend Taxation overshadows it with its loathsome bat like wing. It plunges it fang into the rich man’s dish and the poor man’s porringer: but the poor man suffers the more severely from this rapacious robber because he has but one porringer, whereas the rich man has many dishes. Oh! Insatiate is that Fiend; for he attends the deathbed when the will is made, and in the spiritual court when it is proven:- he has his share of the price paid for the very marble which covers the grave of the deceased-; and it is only there- in the grave- that the victim of Taxation can be taxed no more.

As the chapter is entitled The Two Apprentices and as they are apprentice weavers I suppose that touches off George’s tirades against war and taxation. His interpretation of the role of weaving in civilization manages to bring in a sort of evolutionary discussion of clothing. Just as a note of interest Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus appeared about this time, and that is a discussion of clothes so the popular imagination may have been drawn to the importance of clothes in these marvelous years of the Dandies, of which George was one, and the early years of discovery leading to the opening of the European mind.

George elsewhere brings up the arrival of the silk weaving on English shores as, as he says, forty thousand Huguenots exiled from France arrived in England and set up the industry.

The novels are full of interesting historical facts as George was a very well read guy.

A Personal Aside

 

I have now read nineteen titles of Reynolds’ novels. The major ones twice. The third and fourth series of Mysteries of London only once, all of the novels up to and including 1850. I own most of the rest. There is one novel that John Dicks lists titled Louisa, the Orphan, to which I can find no other reference.
Apparently George was really appreciated on the other side of the Atlantic in the US. Unable to get enough of George, publishers had writers write numerous titles under his name and this was being done into the1890s. I recently purchased a book titled the Countess of Lascelles or Self-Sacrifice, Part I, a sequel Bertram Vivian also in two parts published by Hurst and Company.

Here is a partial list of title, only a partial list, written and published in the US well into the eighties and nineties by a host of publishers: Caroline of Brunswick, Lord Saxondale, Count Christoval, Eustace Quentin, Banker’s Daughter, The Opera Dancer, Child of Waterloo, Robert Bruce, The Gypsy Chief, Wallace, Hero of Scotland, Isabella Vincent, Duke Of Marchmont, Life in Paris, Countess and the Page, Edgar Montrose, The Ruined Gamester, Clifford and the Actress, Queen Joanna, Ciprina or the Secrets of a Picture Gallery. I recently purchased a title called The Countess of Lascelles, a sequel to Bertram Vivian and which is followed by the two volumes of The Doom of the Burkers. Bertram, Lascelles and Burkers is a six volume series built around the same characters

This is very strange because George W. M. Reynolds was apparently very famous in his day in the US but has been totally forgotten in the history of American literature. How could this be? A firm, T.B. Peterson of Philadelphia published more that a dozen titles under Reynolds name some legit and some not. And that was in the 1880s. Another mystery to be investigated. Why is Reynolds’ popularity in US literature totally forgotten?

Now is the time for a little recapitulation.

The range of George’s interests and the seeming depth of his knowledge is quite astounding. One wonders what his sources were. I’ve mentioned many of his more obvious influences even doubling in some cases such as the Pickwick Papers as sources.

One title I have come across in six volumes is Charles Knight’s amazing title, London. I think it is pretty clear that Reynolds read the work. It was originally published serially then issued in book form when enough articles accrued to bind from 1841-1844. These were years when Reynolds wrote no novels although remaining active journalistically. I have the Cambridge University re-issue. I can do no better than to quote the Cambridge intro:

The publisher and writer Charles Knight (1794-1873) was apprenticed to his printing father but later became a journalist and the proprietor of various periodicals and magazines, which were driven by his concern for education of the poor. As an author, he published a variety of works, including The Old Printer and the Modern Press (also issued in the [Cambridge] Series. He claimed that this six volume work on the architecture and history of London, published between 1841 and 1844, was neither a history nor a survey of London, but looked at the Present through the Past and the Past through the Present. It relies on the skills of eminent artists to bring both the present and the past of London to life, and it is arranged thematically rather then chronologically or geographically. This is a fascinating account of what was the greatest city in the world.

The articles are by several different authors that lovingly describe the attributes of London past and present. George may have read the articles and then examined the sites himself in these four years in which he obviously absorbed much of the information he includes in his novels. Some details fascinated him. In Old London he mentions the Fleet Ditch which was uncovered in the 1720s.

The Fleet Ditch is what was once a stream that was turned into a muddy, foul ditch by the advance of civilization. It was later covered so that it flowed under the city itself. George mentions it here in Old London and then opens his The Mysteries of London with a description when Eliza Sydney was pitched into it by the criminals.

As fascinating as his stories are, acquiring background information then makes the stories more intelligible while opening vistas of what the deeper meanings of the works are. Fathoming the depths of Reynolds mind is important, getting the references. So while I began writing knowing little but the stories, I have worked to develop an understanding of what George saw and was describing.

The struggle or effort goes on. I am now about to begin reading the works of Reynolds mature years, those after 1850, while I have to reread The Mysteries of London, third reading, and The Mysteries of the Court of London, also third reading. It appears that the edition most people are reading of Mysteries of the Court is that published by the Oxford Society (of which there is no knowledge) in England and the Richard F. Burton Society in Boston, USA. It is an expurgated and partially revised edition. Apparently Reynolds was more racy and explicit in the original. In his The Parricide he gets really raunchy. Thus for the third reading I would like to obtain the original.

Just as Mysteries of London had a third and fourth series it is possible that John Dicks actually published a third and fourth series of Court of London. In five volumes each they were titled The Crimes of Lady Saxondale and The Fortunes of the Ashtons. Thus the Oxford edition of 1900 consists of twenty volumes containing all four series.

It seems apparent that the latter two series were not the product of Reynolds’ pen. They must have been written by others. It seems to me that Reynolds does the same thing as Charles Knight did, that is employ other writers to write according to his plan. Thus he might also have done as Alexander Dumas did and put his name on others writing. Certainly Court of London does not seem long enough to have taken eight years to publish it. The four series of The Mysteries of London are equally massive as the The Court of London and they took only four years to publish. The massive first two series must have been completed by 1846 leaving the shorter two series to finish the series by 1848 when Court began. Thus it is probable that Dicks went on publishing Saxondale and The Ashtons after Reynolds finished with George IV and the Regency. Reynolds says that he then abandoned George IV and the Monarchy years.

It seems to me that Reynolds does the same thing in relation to the Past and Present as Charles Knight did in his London and, indeed, that is the approach I am taking in my Time Traveling series.

Knight’s work in a way forms a template for Reynolds novels that in the main are historical combining the past and present. The current novel under consideration, The Mysteries of Old London pertain to the early eighteenth century just after the reign of Queen Anne and the beginning of the four Georges. More particularly does it involve the beginnings of the Hell Fire Clubs of the next hundred years from 1720-21. George specifically mentions that this story begins in 1721 and deals with the period of the historical Duke of Wharton and his Mohocks who terrorized the after dark streets of London during the period. Reynolds character Jem Ruffles certainly represents aspects of the Duke of Wharton as well, probably, of the arch criminal Johnathan Wild.

One of the studies of Charles Wright is of the locality of Spitalfields which was associated with weaving, silk weaving to be specific. The association began with the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 by order of Louis XIV by which the Huguenot sect was expelled. The Huguenots were Protestants who had evolved out of the Albigensian faiths of Provence and who were nearly exterminated in the thirteenth century. The Huguenots evolved from the earlier belief systems of the Albigensians and were in direct conflict with the Catholic Church. They were harder to deal with than the Albigensians and were constantly at war with Northern government of France. In the fifteenth century under Charles IX a truce was made with the Huguenots and their being invited to Paris to celebrate. This was a ruse and trick of Charles and the Huguenots were set upon by the Catholics and murdered in the celebrated St. Bartholomew’s Massacre. The remnant remained in their stronghold in Gascony in the South of France ruled by Henri of Bearn. Charles was murdered and replaced by his brother Henri III. At Henri III”s death he was succeed by Henri of Bearn, the Huguenot, who became Henri IV. He negotiated the Ediict of Nantes giving his Huguenots the protection of the crown. A little under a hundred years later the Edict was revoked by Louis XIV resulting in the displacement of their silk weaving industry to Spitalfields in London.

This history of the Huguenots was covered by Alexander Dumas in his novels of the Valois kings of France written in the mid forties that Reynolds would have read. Thus the mention of the Huguenots and Spitalfields in the quote from Old London. Reynolds repeatedly gives brief accounts of the various London districts such as Spitalfields following the Wright method of uniting the past and the present. Since his info is so similar to that of Wright one of his key readings must have been Charles Wright’s London.

Of course, Reynolds tramped the streets of all those districts he mentions and probably talked to old timers who may have remembered far back. As Wright lived to the 1870s one wonders whether Reynolds and he had any talks.

In the ending of the Oxford edition of the first two series of Court of London Reynolds says that he has tired of writing about George IV and chose not to follow him into his reign as monarch. He says he has other projects to follow. If those projects were Lady Saxondale and the Ashtons then he probably did hire other writers to compose the text according to his plan. Otherwise where the latter two series came from is a total mystery. The Mysteries of the Oxford Edition need clearing up.

Part XIa

Time Traveling With R.E. Prindle

 GWMReynolds

I have been having trouble finding a way into this chapter. Three efforts have been thrown aside; perhaps the fourth will succeed. I have been successful in finding a copy of The Youthful Impostor and added Vo. I of The Modern Literature of France. The latter is available under the title Georges Sand. A couple of quotes from those may possibly be a good lead in.

A preliminary quote is from David De Leon’s introduction to his translation of volume fifteen of Mystere’s du Peuple, Eugene Sue’s The Executioner’s Knife or Joan of Arc: A Tale of the Inquisition. De Leon:

Whether one will be satisfied with nothing but a scientific diagnosis in psychology, or a less ponderous and infinitely more lyric presentation of certain mental phenomena will do for him, whether the credit of history insists on strict chronology or whether he prizes in matters canonical the rigid presentation of dogma or a whether the tragic fruits of theocracy offer a more attractive starting point for his contemplation- whichever case may be (the career and novels of George Reynolds…) will gratify his intellectual cravings on all three heads.

Of course I have substituted Reynolds for De Leon’s quote of Sue. He pretty well covers the approach I am taking. The smooth or turbulent waters of a rolling river are what is meant by canonical waters, while the real history lies beneath the shining or muddy waters in the hidden river bed. With Reynolds it is necessary to penetrate the river’s surface and search beneath to understand the depth of Reynold’s thought.

Up to this time Reynolds has escaped the biographer’s pen. Fortunately for us Reynolds has left some pretty transparent clues in his writing making them fairly accessible auto-biography, more especially in the novels of his apprenticeship before embarking mid-stream as he began the fullness of his career with The Mysteries Of London. Two novels stand out in auto-biographical detail. The first is The Youthful Impostor first composed when he was eighteen in 1832 and edited before publication in 1835. The completely rewritten version of 1847 retitled The Parricide bears small relation to the first published version. The second work is his Modern Literature of France published in 1839 when he was twenty-five. The latter is non-fiction. In it he says in the introduction speaking directly to the reader p. XVII

The literature of France previous to the Revolution of 1830 resembled that of England at the present day; inasmuch as a moral lesson were taught through the medium of almost impossible fiction. Now the French author paints the truth in all its nudity; and this development of the secrets of Nature shocks the English reader, because he is not yet accustomed to so novel a style. To depict truth, in all its bearings, consistently with nature, is a difficult task; and he who attempts it muse occasionally exhibit deformities which disgust the timid mind. A glance at life in all its phases, cannot be attended with very satisfactory results; and while the age surveys much to please, it must also be prepared to view much that will be abhorrent to the virtuous imagination. The strict conventual usages of English society prevent the introduction of highly coloured pictures into works of fiction; and thus, in an English book which professes to be a history of man or of the world, the narrative is but half told. In France the whole tale is given at once; and the young men, and young females do not there enter upon life with minds so circumscribed and narrow that the work of initiation becomes an expensive and ruinous task. We do not become robbers because we read of thefts; nor does a female prove incontinent on account of her knowledge that such a failing exists. The pilot should be made aware of rocks and quicksands, that he may know how to avoid them; it is ridiculous to suffer him to roam on a vast ocean without having previously consulted the maps and charts which can alone warn him of peril. Such is the reasoning of French writers, who moreover carry their system to such a an extent, that they cannot hesitate to represent vice triumphant, and virtue leveled with the dust, for they assert that the former incredibly prospers, and the other languishes without support; whereas the English author points to a difficult moral in his fiction.

One might say that Reynolds plan of literature was formed in France while his five years there were the most significant and formative in his life. Whether he witnessed the three important days of the July Revolution that unseated Charles X is not important, what is important is that their import coalesced his own political outlook. Thus when he returned to England in 1836 it was in full revolutionary mode and remained so promoting the Revolution of 1848 by any and all means at his disposal. He directed his revolutionary effort toward ’48 by his involvement in the Chartist Movement in which he was ultimately successful. Coming from France where he believed that the July Revolution swept away ancient ways be violence, belief in violence offended the English agitators who believe evolutionary tactics the better approach. They belittled his contributions and diminished him personally. Notwithstanding his vision of Chartism triumphed changing English society and he should be rehabilitated and acknowledged as such.

Secondly the quote displays perfectly Reynolds’ literary ideals to present reality starkly as he saw it. I do not agree with many of his conclusions and in observing his usages do not necessarily endorse them in their entirety. Time has proven many of his observations fatuous and against human nature. To ignore them is to misunderstand his import. He is almost always going against the grain. Especially compared to Dickens and Ainsworth.

The French literature he discusses was prior to the effusion of the Forties, which was astonishing. In his critique he is referring to the theatrical or poetic works of Dumas and Victor Hugo. He apparently was an ardent theatre goer.

The tremendous events of the fifty years preceding 1830 were brought to a head in the July Revolution of France and the Reform Act of 1832 in England. The political and belated explosion in France in 1789 was only less significant compared to the Industrial Revolution of England and the subsequent economic reorganization. When the Napoleonic era ended modern society had been reorganized emerged complete.

Once again, Reynolds was keenly aware of changing customs and mores. This vision was held up starkly to him when he set foot in France shortly after the July Revolution. One should also note this was after the cholera epidemic of the same year. To quote him again: The +*-Modern Literature of France pp. XIII-XIV:

The literature of France since the July Revolution of 1830 is quite distinct from that under the fallen dynasty. A sudden impulse was given to the minds of men by the successful struggle for freedom which hurled the improvident Charles from his royal seat; and all aims—all views—and all interests underwent a vast change. Ages of progressive but peaceful reform couldn’t have accomplished so much, in reference to the opinions and tastes of a mighty nation, as those three days of revolution and civil war. The march of civilization was hurried over centuries; and as if France had suddenly leapt from an old into a new epoch without passing through the minutes, the hours, and the days which mark the lapse of time, she divested herself of the grotesque and gothic apparel, and assumed an attire which at first astounded and awed herself. And then men began to congratulate each other upon the change of garb; and now that they are accustomed to see and admire it, they look upon their rejected garments as characteristic of antiquity, and not as things that were in vogue only a few years since.

As a Chartist, other Chartists who were more evolutionarily minded disliked Reynolds because he was known for wanting drastic results by violent revolutionary means Reynolds retorts, p. XVI:

It is a matter of speculation whether the Reform Act (of 1832 in England) would have been even now (1839) conceded to the people of this country, if it had not been found necessary to keep pace as much as possible with the giant strides made by the French. Certainly a change has taken place in the literature of England since the passing of the Reform itself as well as that of France since the three days of July.

The change in literature in England was led by Edward Bulwer Lytton, William Harrison Ainsley, perhaps Charles Dickens, by Reynolds himself and quite probably writers like Pierce Egan and the Penny Blood and Dreadful writers as developments in printing and paper made ever cheaper editions possible making books of all qualities affordable to the rising literacy among the underclasses. Indeed by the 1850s, John Dicks, Reynolds printer and partner, would make available the complete Shakespeare for pennies. Of course, the type was so small they are virtually unreadable except to the most dedicated.

All of these writers were reformers, writing especially about the harsh penal laws.

The core attitudes of Reynolds remained unchanged from his introduction into France. It was in France that a very young eighteen year old wrote his first book, The Youthful Impostor.

-II-

Reynolds incorporates his entire life into his novels so this might be the right time to assemble a chronology of his life. For those who may have read my earlier chapters this account may seem familiar but it incorporates much new material, better organization and deeper thinking. Or so I think.

While George’s first novel, The Young Impostor was first composed in 1832 when he was eighteen the book was not to published until 1835 when he was twenty-one. There was some touching up for the 1835 version as he includes a chapter head quote from W. Harrison Ainsworth’s Rookwood that was only published in 1832 and couldn’t have been read for his original manuscript. He also chapter headed a quote from Bulwer-Lytton’s 1830 novel Paul Clifford. That novel was definitely an influence on The Youthful Impostor. The Youthful Impostor is highly autobiographical so we can form an almost biographical account of his early years. By the way the 1847 rewrite of the Impostor, The Parricide, bears almost no resemblance to the earlier version. It can read as an independent novel and not his best.

George was born July 20, 1814. His father, a naval post-Captain commanded a cruiser during the Napoleonic wars. Born in Sandwich, Kent of the Cinq Ports, the family was moved to the island of Guernsey when George was two. Six years later the family returned to Kent and its capital Canterbury. Reynolds has indelible memories of all this so references to his early life crop up frequently in his works.

Returning to 1822, at the age of eight he was saddened by the death of his father thus making him an orphan. Orphans figure prominently in his works. His mother died eight years later depriving him of both parents leaving him on his own at fifteen under the guardianship of his father’s best friend Duncan McArthur, hence George’s third name. He passed under that man’s guardianship after his father’s death. His mother was not his guardian.

His relationship with McArthur, if we judge from his writing, was not a happy one. There are other references but in 1854 writing in his novel, The Rye House Plot, which by the way is a superb novel, George had this to say about his guardian: Rye House Plot, p. 63,

This guardian of mine was a man of stern disposition; and I loved him not.

I think we can apply the quote to Duncan McArthur. He, himself, was an old Navy man, a surgeon. From the age of eight to sometime at the age of thirteen George attended a school in Ashford, a few miles from Canterbury which were happy years for him as he idolized his schoolmaster. Then, as George styles it, at the tender age of thirteen he

was placed in the Sandhurst Military Academy in Berkshire. Thirteen would indeed had been tender to have been thrown in with older boys of sixteen or eighteen and even young men heading into their twenties. Tom Brown’s School Days at Rugby by Thomas Hughes at roughly this time shows how difficult George’s situation probably was. He was impoverished while probably the majority of the cadets were from titled families having plenty of money. So from thirteen to sixteen when George was either removed or removed himself the years must have been unpleasant. The Youthful Impostor covers those years.

George’s mother died in March of 1830 when he was fifteen. He left the academy shortly after his sixteenth birthday in September. He left for France at the end of 1830, a greenhorn of sixteen. A sitting duck for sharpers one might say.

The question then is how much money did he have. Dick Collins think nothing but I think he had to have much more so I accept his statement to the adjudicator at his 1848 bankruptcy hearing when George told him that he had had seven thousand pounds. Where did they come from?

In The Rye House plot he discusses such an issue like this. His character General Oliphant is speaking. “Eighteen years ago, when I was a youth under twenty, I embarked with my uncle, Mr. Oliphant, on board a vessel bound for a Spanish port where he had some mercantile business to transact, he being engaged in commercial enterprises. Mr. Oliphant was my +

guardian, my parents having died when I was very young. I must observe that Mr. Oliphant being a man of reserved and stern disposition had kept me in the most perfect state of ignorance as to my own affairs; and although I had reason to believe that my parents had left some little property, which I should inherit on obtaining my majority, I had not the smallest conception of what amount or value it might be or what nature it was nor where situated or deposited.

As it turned out the inheritance was a couple thousand pounds payable at twenty-one. This coincides with Dick Collins researches in George’s finances. So, I think we can believe that George is describing his own situation in the above quote. While it is generally thought that George inherited twelve thousand pounds when his mother died, we can I think dismiss the account. Where, then, did George get seven thousand pounds. If The Young Impostor is as autobiographical as I think it is then George was involved in a substantial swindle and fled England in somewhat of a hurry at the end of 1830.

George does not often write about his military life but he does in YI and the Rye House Plot. The cadets were given a fair amount of liberty and traveled from the barracks to London frequently. This was George’s first acquaintance with London and it was overwhelming.

In Chapter VI of the Parricide a rewrite of The YI Reynolds quotes this verse:

Houses, churches, mix’d together

Streets unpleasant in all weather,

Prisons, palaces contiguous,

Gaudy things enough to tempt you

Showy outsides, insides empty,

Baubles, trades, mechanic arts,

Coaches, wheelbarrows, and carts,

-This is London! How do ye like it?

Sometime then at thirteen and fourteen he had his first introduction to the Big City in company with other cadets on the town. Breathtaking and terrifying. And that was my impression of London too. I’m sure he was stunned by his first vision as I was a hundred seventy years later.

He frequently mentions the Hounslow barracks. Highwaymen infested the highways from Hounslow to London and also in the vicinity of Bagshot.

Reynolds with little money in his pocket traveled from Sandhurst to London and back many times apparently following at times through Bagshot and Hounslow.

Now, as a young cadet, he has himself returning from London late one night when he is accosted by two highwaymen. Naturally he had little money and was being harassed accordingly when a third party appeared who dispersed the robbers and rescued him. It would seem apparent that as the robbers worked in parties of three that the third party also a robber who intervened for another reason. Reynolds names him as Arnold. Having read the story and reviewing it, it should be apparent that Arnold thought he had found a use for the young cadet and he and, actually the other two, were contemplating some large scale swindle but needed a naïve young man to complete the ensemble as bait. George may very probably have been that young man.

Reynolds has James, his character, and Arnold dupe a Jewish usurer named Mr. Nathanial. The amount George mentions was seven thousand pounds. This may be a coincidence or it may be where his seven thousand pounds came from when he absconded to France at the end of 1830.

It may have been at this time that Long’s Hotel became familiar to the young orphan. Long’s was apparently London’s most luxurious hotel at the time. Reynolds is almost breathless when he mentions the name. Long’s figures prominently in his pre 1844 works. Most often with criminal acts. And indeed, Reynold’s is familiar with endless hotel scams.

According to Collins there is some question as to young George’s integrity and George himself from time to time mentions that he has redeemed his youthful crimes, while swindles are frequently performed in his novels. That’s not proof of course but such a swindle would have provided the seven thousand pounds he said he had plus an incentive to leave England just ahead of the Bow Street Runners. At any rate we know that he showed up in France at the end of 1830 and we’ll take his word that he had seven thousand pounds.

If George was associated with this ‘Arnold’ who was part of the criminal underworld he must have been inducted into that society in some capacity. In that capacity he would have learned something of criminal ways of which he seems to be fairly familiar and according to Collins he did do some prison time while he went through a bankruptcy just before returning to England from France.

If I am correct, then George benefited by his and ‘Arnold’s’ swindle and absconded to France. Collins also records that he was arrested in Calais for playing with loaded dice. In Mysteries of London, first series, George gives a detailed description with diagrams of how to load dice. Of course, that may have been taken from a manual.

So, at the beginning of 1831 George landed in France where he would remain until 1836. From Calais he went straight to Paris where he remained either residing at Meurice’s Hotel or hanging around the

environs as may be indicated by his book of Pickwick Abroad. When he married he resided in different places as Collins’ research accords.

Evidence indicates that he did explore areas of France. At one point he laments never have been to Belgium, the closest he came was four miles from the border. Since one can only write about what is stored in one’s mind and one’s experience it follows that Reynolds must have been at the places he writes about or had read about them. As he frequently writes about Italy one does question his presence there. In his book Wagner, the Wehr Wolf his descriptions of Florence don’t seem to ring true so he may be working from from written accounts or pure imagination although his descriptions do resonate with the Italian period in Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. Otherwise he may have traveled about quite a bit.

As a green, but initiated, sixteen year old in 1831, perhaps with money, he would have been prey to various spongers and swindlers. It is difficult to envision a sixteen year old boy brazening his way through a foreign capital but he very obviously did for five years. One imagines his first six months must have been intense orientation. Yet he says that he completed The YI in 1832 and had been able to obtain a copy of Bulwer-Lytton’s Paul Clifford, read it and incorporated it in his first novel. We’re talking of a bit of a phenom here. He must have gravitated into journalistic and literary circles, possible theatrical, very quickly in his career, and he is merely a boy not attaining his majority until the year before he left France. I find this fairly astonishing.

He says he wrote The Young Impostor in 1832 so he must have been considering the story from his very landing in France if not before. As an eighteen year old It could only portray his experience up to that year. The novel itself in excellent and precocious for an eighteen year old; nor was it ignored. The copy I have is a reprint of an 1836 US edition published by E. L. Cary and A. Hart of Philadelphia. Thus within a year of its French publication it was published across the Atlantic. Why a Philadelphia company would appropriate an unproven title by an unknown author isn’t clear to me.

According to Collins within these two years he also met, courted and married his wife Susannah Pierson. (Collins say that Pierson is the correct spelling not Pearson.) She was apparently moving in literary circles as Collins describes her as a writer. She would later, in the 1850s, write a novel titled Gretna, which is available. Gretna refers to Gretna Green across the Scottish border where those wishing to elope repaired to. In 1745 a law was passed forbidding underage couples to marry without parental permission so that couples flew to Gretna Green for their nuptials. I was something like going to Las Vegas. It’s a good story.

In The YI A Pearson who was unmarried, while having a fairy like persona, not unlike Huon of Bordeaux, took him under his wing and instructed him in seedy practice. Whether he was related to Susannah isn’t known. So, by eighteen George was married and remained so until his wife died in 1854. He apparently never remarried.

According to all the references to books George makes in his writing he was reading voraciously. Here may be an appropriate time to discuss aspects of the literary situation in England and France during the thirties and forties.

The base for the writers in both England and France was the novels of Walter Scott and the Gothic novelists along with Byron. I would say that all the English and French writers were inspired by Scott. Scott died in 1832 at the young age of 61 thus missing the joy of seeing his influence on succeeding authors, except for William Harrison Ainsworth. Ainsworth who published his Rookwood in 1832. That book is almost an homage to Scott but lacks Scotts consummate style, complexity and depth. Ainsworth followed that up in 1835 with Crichton and then began an outburst of historical novels from 1839 with Jack Sheppard and a dozen more in quick succession through about 1845. At that time Reynolds was quiescent but he read all the titles and they influenced him greatly.

Of course Charles Dickens began his career in the late thirties and turned out a few titles in the forties. Dickens wasn’t that prolific but he made the most lasting impression of the novelists of the era. It is needless to say that he made his impression on Reynolds. George despised Dickens as a lightweight, and Dickens novels are lightweights. For me they are unreadable.

Lastly comes Edward Bulwer-Lytton. He was an important writer for his period and has survived into the present as an occultist. His novel The Coming Race is a must read for any esotericist. The idea of it seized H.G. Wells mind and he used it for his excellent novel The Food of the Gods. Bulwers’ Rienzi and The Last Days Of Pompei may still have a readership. He’s not a particularly good writer however. His opening line for Paul Clifford ‘It was a dark and stormy night’ for some reason is found hilarious by a certain type of reader. A contest is held each year to see if anyone can match this imagined terrible sentence. Reynolds uses it occasionally in his books. Bulwer maintained a fair reputation at least up to the 1950s while Reynolds was heavily influenced by him. And of course Byron. George even attempted ‘A Sequel To Don Juan’ but he was no Byron. He did get it published and it did find readers. Fortunately Byron was dead by that time and unable to the show the umbrage that Dickens did.

And then there are the magnificent French writers of the Forties and into the Fifties. The incomparable Alexander Dumas, pere inspired by Walter Scott began turning out his French historical novels in machine gun style, writing so fast that he had multiple serialized novels being published at one time. And what novels! Few novels can compare to The Three Musketeers or The Count of Monte Cristo. And, of course, Dumas is popular to this day.

At the same time Honore de Balzac was publishing his Human Comedy collection of novels. Strangely compelling, Balzac’s brain had an odd construction. Love him but I always wonder: Why am I reading this? Balzac too is read widely today. My favorite story in the novella The Girl With The Golden Eyes.

Victor Hugo, also widely read today, is not a favorite of mind. I will concede that Notre Dame de Paris – The Hunchback of Notre Dame in the US, is compelling and could possibly be a great book. The US title switches the focus of the book from the architectural edifice of Notre Dame to the character of Quasimodo, the Hunchback. The movies were essential to changing the emphasis from the edifice to the Hunchback. Les Miserables is an OK read but doesn’t impress me. Hugo was a Communist and in his novel 1793 actually advocates murdering all the Royalists because they would never accept the New Order. Don’t go away because you read that; it’s just my opinion.

And then we come to the incredible Eugene Sue. Not quite as prolific as Dumas but a non-stop writer. Not quite as concentrated as Dumas, his style is more diffuse but always interesting. His two key works, neither widely read today are The Mysteries of Paris and the Wandering Jew. Both are terrific books and very long. Both books were models for Reynolds Mysteries of Paris. The Wandering Jew may have resonated especially with him because it takes place in 1830, the year of the July Revolution and the cholera epidemic.

And now I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that another key influence might have been the American Edgar Allen Poe. While Poe didn’t have that many pages to his credit, he was a prolific writer of short stories and the short stories are amazing. Mind boggling. Inventive. Concentrated. They would be very difficult to top. They crossed the Atlantic quickly and were received with open arms in France and England. I may be reaching but I find evidences of Poe in his story of Grand Manoir in his Master Timothy’s Bookcase and we are going to look more closely at that shortly.

And, of course his mind is obsessed with the works of the Marquis de Sade. He must have read De Sade’s two great studies Justine and Juliette shortly after arriving in Paris. De Sade believed that following virtue would lead to an unhappy life while pursuing vice would lead to worldly success. The contrast of vice and virtue then informs almost all his works, but he wishes to reverse De Sade’s conclusions.

To really understand Reynold’s, one must be familiar with these authors. But he was so influenced by his wide reading that I’m sure these authors are just the tip of the iceberg.

In Pickwick Abroad George is familiar with all the sights of Paris. He must have at least visited all the prisons and insane asylums both in France and England. We get tours of many. Of course George was very interested in psychology. While Phrenology and Physiognomy may not be considered psychology, they are. Phrenology, an idea of the German, Franz Gall, was a crude attempt at brain anatomy and if risible today it was more because of the misuse by ununderstanding users than Gall’s idea itself that led to its discreditization. The notion was made on the right idea, different areas of the brain control different functions, it’s a moot point today but Gall deserves more credit that he gets, Reynolds entertains an interest in both ideas, especially physiognomy He was apparently a great reader of facial expressions.

Apropos of that, a very interesting novel is the novel Master Timothy’s bookcase published in 1840.

-III-

Master Timothy’s Bookcase is very serious and it is a major book. Interestingly the book begins in Kent, then follows Reynold’s career to Berkshire and London and then to France while ending with his return to England ending in the shire of Kent.

As Reynolds was only twenty-six in 1840 his mental acuity is actually astonishing. He had what one might call a four octave mind. Reynolds quite often resorts to supernatural or, perhaps, proto-scientific elements. In this book the hero Edmund Mortimer is the seventh son so-to-speak of a family founded six generation earlier. The ‘genius’ of the family appears to each member and offers them the approach to life that they think will make them contented and happy. They choose wealth, success et al. and all end up unhappy. Edmund Mortimer chooses Universal Knowledge. This choice, of course, reflects Reynolds ruling passion. George, himself, seeks Universal Knowledge and does a good job of it. However, even he at only twenty-six, he realizes that universal knowledge does not lead to happiness as knowing all displays mankind at its worst.

The more Mortimer, and we may assume Reynolds, learns about human nature, the more disgusted he becomes and regrets his choice. His peregrinations take him through several adventures and episodes.

The ‘Genius’ then gives Mortimer a supernatural bookcase that only he can see and is always with him. Whenever Mortimer is perplexed by a situation concerning the motivations or activities of the participants he he turns to the bookcase that provides him with a manuscript that explains the true situation all its manifestations he has only to ask. However, his bookcase cannot predict the future.

Mortimer’s uncanny ability to know the complete past history of people he has only just met will have consequences because he can produce no evidence as to how he acquired the knowledge. This becomes clear in the episode of the Marquis Delaroche. Without going into inessential details in this very clever story the Marquis neglects the wife of his dead brother whose fortune had been entrusted to him. Mortimer becomes acquainted with Athalie d’Estival, her name and confronts the Marquis Delaroche, to whom he is a complete stranger, attempting to shame him into supporting his sister-in-law.

The Marquis is old and the epitome of deviousness. When Mortimer butts into the Marquis’ life and proves to him that he has misappropriated his brother’s inheritance the Marquis sets Mortimer up. He opens his safe, leaving the door open, and gives Mortimer a casket containing his wealth refusing to give a proper written authorization for Mortimer to be in possession of the casket and expels Mortimer from his house. Immediately then, with his safe left open the Marquis commits suicide by slashing his throat. His servant accosts Mortimer leaving the house with the casket under his cloak and assumes the Mortimer stole it. The dead body is then discovered and circumstantial evidence indicates Mortimer to be both a murderer and thief.

Reynolds thoroughly dislikes the authority of circumstantial evidence, and with good reason, so this story gives him an opportunity to display its fallaciousness.

Because of his ability to know personal details of other people’s lives Mortimer’s friends consider him not only eccentric but insane. This is confirmed to the judge when he interrogates Mortimer. I will quote a passage because it indicates Reynolds brilliance and knowledge of psychology at only twenty-six years of age.

The Judge of Instruction commenced the usual system of catechizing; and for some time our hero replied with calmness and precision to the various question put to him. But at length, as those questions gradually touched more nearly on the dread event itself, he became confused- his ideas were no longer defined and distributed in their proper cells in his imagination, but were collected into one heterogeneous and unintelligible mass; and, yielding to the impulse of those sentiments which were uppermost in his mind, he commenced a long exculpatory harangue, the principle subject of which was his race. The Judge listened patiently for some time, and at length shrugged up his shoulders to imply his utter ignorance of the meaning of the prisoner’s speech. At length, exhausted by the long flow of verbiage in which he had indulged, Sir Edmund sank upon a seat, almost unconscious of what he had been saying and where he was.

That’s a pretty acute description of a state of mind. Reynolds was deeply interested in psychological studies. One must bear in mind that this period was the beginning of the great opening of the European mind. I doubt if there were many who could have reproduced that analysis. The description of the whole interview is masterful and that at only twenty-six.

In any event Mortimer was convicted of murder, declared insane, and committed to the Bicetre insanity wing. George was familiar with, at least, the outside of the building, this massive Bicetre structure housing criminals, the insane and others.

It seems obvious that George toured all these insane asylums and prisons. He was up on recent developments of the treatment of the insane. He was aware of Dr. Phillippe Pinel who had very recently begun the humane treatment of the mentally afflicted.

The people of the time were placed under unbearable distress and hardship, especially women. One reads of the women that Dr. Jean Martin Charcot at the Salpetriere of Paris in the 1860s, 70s and 80s treated and their mental sufferings were appalling. Their history of abuse was incredible. Nor were all asylums as enlightened as those of Drs. Pinel and Charcot and, remember, these were pioneers.

Whether George’s description of the Bicetre is accurate is beyond me to determine, he does however tell an interesting story of one of the inmates. The story sounds like it may have been true, but, read on: Mortimer has been declared guilty but insane. Committed to the Bicetre insane wing he domiciled with three other monomaniacs. The three stories are actual psychological evaluations of the inmates. The one the interests us most is the first. The story is a Frankenstein type.

The first was an old man of sixty-five with long grey hair flowing from the back part of his head, the crown and regions of the temples being completely bald. He was short in stature, stooping in gait, and possessed of a countenance eminently calculated to afford a high opinion of his intellectual powers, he was however a monomaniac of no uncommon description. Bred to the medical profession, he had given, when at an early age, the most unequivocal proofs of a vigorous and fertile imagination. He first obtained attention towards the singularity of his conceptions by disputing the rights of the Englishman, Dr. Harvey, to the honour of having first discovered the circulation of the blood. He maintained that Harvey merely revived the doctrine, and that it was known to the ancients. This opinion he founded upon the following passage in Plato: – “The heart is the centre or knot of the blood vessels, the spring or fountain of the blood, which is carried impetuously round; the blood is the food of the flesh; and for the process of nourishment the body is laid out in canals, which is like those drawn down through gardens, that the blood may be conveyed as from a fountain, to every part of the previous system.”

William Harvey published his treatise on the circulation of the blood in Frankfurt Germany in 1628. He did not come out of the blue as others were working on the same problem. Even he was assailed by skeptics and for a time lost reputation. I have no doubt that Harvey had read Plato and unless his memory was defective he probably retained an impression of Plato’s statements.

But to the point, Plato’s description is prescient. He understood the matter which he explained in literary, not scientific, terms so the imprisoned doctor was essentially right that Harvey could not claim to be the first to understand the role of the heart in the circulation of the blood. He was the first known physician to describe the issue completely in scientific detail or nearly completely.

The young physician was laughed at for venturing to contradict a popular belief, and was assailed by the English press for attempting to deprive an Englishman of the initiative honour of the discovery. He was looked upon as an enthusiast, and lost all the patronage he had first obtained by his abilities. Being possessed of a competency, he did not regret this circumstance in a pecuniary point of view; but his pride was deeply wounded, and he resolved to accomplish some great feat which should compel the world to accord him those laurels which had hitherto been refused. He was deeply skilled in the science of anatomy; and his intimate acquaintance with the human frame led him to fashion two beautiful anatomical bodies in wax. The one was a perfect representation of the form of man, with all the muscles and nerves laid bare; and the second; which took to pieces, was the image of a female in the last stages of gestation. These models were applauded as specimens of art, but obtained no praise as evidences of Anatomical skill. Again disappointed and disgusted at the coldness of a world that knew not how to appreciate the merits of his labours, the physician urged by the perpetual contemplation of his wax models and considering himself to be sufficiently practiced in the minutiae of the human frame by the manufacture of these representations of life, resolved in attempting a more sublime task. His elevated imagination aimed at nothing less than the fabrication of an animate being! For weeks- for months- for years in the solemn silence of a chamber fitted up for the purpose, and into which he never permitted a soul to enter, did the enthusiast study his project, without being fully aware of the way in which he should commence it. At length his intellect became so far affected by his strange meditations, that he felt convinced in his own mind that his experience could never be sufficient to encompass his lofty aim, unless he examined the fountains of life in the bosom of an expiring human being. Dead to all other feeling save the morbid one which urged him on to this study, he calmly resolved to choose some victim as a model for his projected work. He one night issued forth into the streets of Paris, in the midst of a horrible winter and accosted a young man whom, by his condition he supposed to be homeless and starving. He was right in his conjecture, and with kind words he enticed the unsuspecting mendicant home. He gave him food, and then caused him to imbibe a cup of generous wine, in which he had previously infused a powerful narcotic. The mendicant fell into a deep stupor; and the physician without a single sentiment of compunction hastened to perform his diabolical operation upon the lethargic victim. He bled him in the jugular vein; and, while the poor young man’s life was ebbing away, the anatomical speculator proceeded to hack away, with his unsparing knife, at those parts which he wished to lay open and examine at his own brutal leisure. In his hurry to accomplish his mysterious designs, he had forgotten to make fast the door to his study; and the curiosity of his old housekeeper led to the detection of his crime. The woman excited an alarm in the house; and his atrocious deed, with all its circumstances, was exposed. He was tried for the murder, and was condemned as a monomaniac to perpetual imprisonment in the Bicetre. At that time Mortimer became acquainted with this singular individual, he had been an inmate of the prison for upwards of thirty years, and never lost an opportunity of declaring that, if he were provided with the proper implements and materials, he would form a human being, far more complete, and less liable to organic derangement than man.

I consider that quote quite astounding writing and the template for numerous horror films in the twentieth century. One wonders if Reynolds had experienced this situation while he could not possibly have. His residence in France doesn’t leave time, however this story must be based on real events that he either read about or was told. Throughout his way to 1851 which is all I can attest to at this time Reynolds returns frequently to stories of physicians of which he seems to have intimate knowledge of his various descriptions. Of course, his namesake, Duncan McArthur was a physician and if Dick Collins was right did operate on cadavers as fresh as he could get. It is a small step from that to imagine a doctor working on live specimens but still the psychological description of the man in Bicetre is so complete and convincing that Reynolds was a very accomplished at the age of twenty-six.

He wrote circles around Bulwer-Lytton, Ainsworth and Dickens, his contemporaries while being far more accomplished than writers who followed him like Trollope and Willkie Collins as accomplished as these writers and their fellows were. They all must have been influenced by him to some degree.

Certainly Dickens and Ainsworth were, as he by them, but the quality of his mind is much deeper and more highly developed. Ainsworth who began an amazing sequence of historical novels in the early forties when Reynolds was quiescent tried to explore historical topics in a deep way but his mind was a little light, he takes a more academic style. A comparison between the two can be found in Reynolds 1854 novel The Rye House Plot.

Both Ainsworth and Dickens gravitated toward George’s style in their later works. Reading Ainsworth’s South Sea Bubble written in the 1860s is very close to his style.

George, of course was influenced by all three writers, among many, Bulwer-Lytton, Ainsworth and Dickens. Ainsworth who had a literary salon in the late forties and through the fifties excluded Reynolds from his coterie. He and Dickens were tight and getting Dickens and Reynolds into the same room would have been hazardous.

While Ainsworth’s Rookwood and Jack Sheppard were favorites of George and Dickens interestingly all three were in decline. The social conditions that had produced them had disappeared and a new crop of writers responding to new conditions replaced them. For my own tastes I prefer these Late Georgian to early Victorian authors to what followed.

There is a charm in the three and the sporting novels of R.S Surtees and Captain Marryat and the rest, William Makepeace Thackery, who can forget him, that is lacking as the epoch changed. Still we see a certain loss of innocence as advancing knowledge turned the world more serious and complex. The greatest of historians and histories, Edward Gibbons and the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire couldn’t have been written in the same way after Darwin’s Origin of Species. Maybe the big change occurred even earlier in Prince Albert’s Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1851. The exhibition of all those machines and advance screamed: Hello to the Brave New World, as brave or maybe even braver than Aldous Huxley’s. Exhibitions became the rage until the great Columbian Expo of Chicago crowned the whole movement. What could ever top that? Nothing. Fade to modernity.

To return to George Reynolds. As I say, it was almost a tragedy that Reynold’s titled Master Timothy’s Bookcase after Dickens’ Master Humphrey’s Clock. The Magic Lantern Of The World, the subtitle, would have been much better. The Bookcase is very readable both as a novel and as a collection of stories with a great deal of philosophical matter pertinent to understanding the mind of Reynolds himself. As Dick Collins say, there is much autobiographical material in the novels and Bookcase is full of it.

End of Part XIa, Part XIb follows.

Part X, Time Traveling With R.E. Prindle

A Review

Geo. W.M. Reynolds’ The Necromancer

by

R.E. Prindle

Reynolds’ writing system was such that he could write each installment of the Mysteries of the Court of London in seven hours leaving the rest of the week open. Thus he had a seven hour work week leaving time to do a myriad other things including writing other books. He says his mind was bursting with ideas. He had a powerful compartmentalized mind so that he could keep two or three novels going at the same time so that in the year of 1851 he wrote his installments for the Court of London and The Seamstress, Pope Joan, Kenneth and the Necromancer, the last two extending into 1852. We are going to examine here his very fine novel, The Necromancer, or perhaps one might rename it the Magician.

If as seems evident that every novelist is writing his own life whether consciously or unconsciously, it is also true that the novelist reflects his own time. Ostensibly the Necromancer takes place in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries but I think we can abstract a story about what was happening currently in his day. This will require much background work.

As is uppermost in every twenty-first century White mind the question of is the author in any way anti-Semitic, non, Feminist, a racist, and as it is expressed a Homophobe. We are going to explain the Necromancer as an explanation of Semitism in the England of Reynolds and ignore the other bete noirs. You have been forewarned.

Whether you consider Semites, that is Jews, as a religion, a nation, a people or whatever they are an economic, political and social force working solely for Jewish interests to the exclusion of all others. Jews consider themselves a nation and a people. The period from 1814 through the nineteenth century saw the rise of the Jewish people as the pre-eminent people of Great Britain. The rise was especially prominent from 1815 to 1860, the period most important of Reynolds novelist life.

It is not possible that he didn’t note the situation and if he didn’t mention it directly, which he doesn’t, then there must be a reason. Why would he have to resort to a parable such as The Necromancer? The answer was that even at that time there were penalties to writing ethnographical studies such as Reynolds’ that did not show Jews to critical advantage.

If one found it necessary to include Jewish characters they must be portrayed in the most benevolent light. Reynolds does mention Jewish characters but in a peculiar way. He lauds them as long suffering, unfairly victimized as a people but then he invariably displays them as what are called anti-Semitic stereotypes. Thus the pawn broker in Wagner, the Wehr Wolf.

He is depicted as a totally inoffensive person, obsequious to the extreme as a persecuted member of the bedeviled people. After these laudatory comments Reynolds then pictures a character bearing all the so-called Semitic tropes. He changes the stones on the pawned diamonds to paste, which Reynolds justifies by his peoples ages long persecution, as well as other criminal acts. It would seem that Reynolds knew the score.

The odd thing, since Jewish activity was at a height is that Reynolds makes no reference to Jewish economic or banking activities. Let us do a brief survey of where matters stood at the time. In 1815 Nathan Rothschild seized control of English currency and the Bank of England.

To explain:

A famous European and Jewish canard is that of father Mayer Amschel Rothschild and his five arrows, that is, his five sons. They were dispatched to European capitals to form a powerful network covering the continent and England. Nathan Rothschild was sent to Manchester to engage in the booming textile industry. Nathan was no businessman and could not succeed in textiles. He therefore turned to crime becoming a smuggler which would turn out to fortuitously make his fortune.

In 1806 Napoleon was conquering the German States, moving in on the Margrave of Hesse-Cassel. The Margrave was fabulously wealthy. He wanted to conceal his wealth from Napoleon who was more than eager to appropriate it. The Margrave then employed his Court Jew, Mayer Amschel Rothshild, to conceal it. Mayer sent a substantial portion of it to Nathan who by this time was floundering around as a banker. The money immediately established Nathan as a financial force. At that time the British were engaging Napoleon in the Iberian Peninsular War. Wellington the British general in the Peninsula needed cash desperately but the usually inventive English didn’t know of a secure way to get the money to him. Nathan was then used to transport the money. Using his, by this time, well developed smuggling skills in conjunction with his brother arrow, James, in Paris, they delivered the mail.

This was known to the French authorities as Fouche, the very clever Minister of Police, was aware of exactly how it had been done. The method is well demonstrated in the German Movie, The Rothschilds. So Nathan and his fellow Jews scored a bundle on that caper.

Nathan’s most outstanding feat that brought England to its knees was his capture of the currency after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. He spread the rumor that Napoleon had won Waterloo causing a stupendous sell off that drove prices far down. While others sold Nathan bought. Then his special couriers raced to London to carry news of the English, or allied, victory. Prices bounced back but by then using the fabulous wealth of the Margrave of Hesse Nathan owned huge amounts of securities that he sold at magnificent profit thus securing the base of the Rothschild dynasty, still going strong eight generations on.

To report this astonishing feat in history tends to mitigate the reaction of the Brits when they learned how they had been diddled out of the ruling of their country for Rothschild had pulled an astonishing cheat. Reynolds who was very well informed across the board must have known this but was constrained from portraying it for fear of Jewish retaliation which even was formidable.

We are now moving to the 1840s and Nathan who had passed was succeeded by Lionel Rothschild as the scion of the family. A most formidable and dangerous antagonist.

At this time young Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81) was attempting to establish himself as a literary wizard before entering politics. He had already written many novels when in 1844 he wrote Coningsby, Sybil in 1845 and Tancred in 1847. In Coningsby he laid bare the Jewish influence in European affairs when he wrote that the world was actually governed by different people behind the scenes than the public imagined. Thus he led the reading public to believe that the apparent rulers were mere operatives of others, that is, the Jews.

These three political novels made more of a stir than his earlier romances had so that it seems reasonable that Disraeli, Coningsby at least, had been read by Reynolds by 1851. In Coningsby Disreali lauds his Jewish mastermind as the most astounding human being since Adam. The character was based on the real life Right Honourable Lionel Freiherr Rothschild. (1808-1879) Named Sidonia in the novel.

Lionel, Lion-el means Lion of the Lord or God, what we might say, Defender of the Faith in Christian terms.

The Jews since Nathan had owned the State of England but they as a different religion from the Anglicans suffered political and religious disabilities. It was Lionel’s mission to remove them in which mission he was successful.

In 1847 he was the first Jew to be elected to Parliament. This was success but it would also have absorbed Lionel as just another member. He wanted more. He in essence did not want to be absorbed as an English member of the House of Commons but as an autonomous Jew. To be sworn in he had to take an oath of Christian formulation. This he refused to do wishing to be sworn in as a Jew.

In order to accommodate him this would have required a changing of the rules with long term consequences. Accordingly Lord Russell introduced a Jewish Disabilities Act to change the rules. In 1849 when the Act failed the German-Jewish Baron Lionel Rothschild resigned his seat. But still determined he won a bye election to keep his campaign going. Returning he still refused to swear on the New Testament demanding the Jewish or Old Testament. The oath still required him to say: ‘Upon the true faith of a Christian.’ He refused to do so on the grounds that Christianity was not the true faith, Judaism was. Once again he was compelled to resign his seat.

In 1852 he tried to bull his way through but once again was denied. Finally in 1858 Lionel Rothschild forced through the oath changes. Refusing to be bareheaded as required by English custom he demanded to wear his yarmulke or skull cap and instead of saying ‘on the true faith of a Christian’ he was allowed to say ‘so help me Jehovah.’

Thus he became the first Jewish member of the House of Commons but the first Jew in the House rather than an English member of the Jewish faith. Thus in this long battle to be seated Lionel changed the nature of the country into a country of Englishmen and nearly autonomous Jews. Already in control of English currency the Jews would now aspire to political power while moving freely through society ostensibly equal but actually superior having all English rights as well as autonomous Jewish rights that were denied the English.

Thus Disraeli’s astonishing Sidonia/Lionel cleared the way for Disraeli to serve in the Commons but also to become the Prime Minister; the intermediary between the English people and their Sovereign.

These activities were not carried on in a vacuum or beneath the observance of interested parties of which Reynolds was one. While he was only observing the struggle up to 1851-52 when he wrote the Necromancer the writing was on the wall. No doubt Reynolds had read Disraeli’s Coningsby and had watched Lionel Rothschild’s maneuvering. Being a novelist it was easy for him to shadow forth the denouement that occurred in 1858.

My reading of the Necromancer reflects Reynolds’ version of what was happening. Thus his protagonist Lionel Danvers is Lionel Rothschild. As an historical novelist he then creates a fictional history of the Danvers/Rothschild story. He combines the five arrows into one. As was commonly thought at the time the Jews were Satanic thus Danvers had sold his soul to Satan for a period of a hundred fifty years so and with the due date imminent it was necessary for Danvers to honor his commitment to Satan to redeem his soul.

Danvers existed under several names and guises as he was able to shape shift to any age at any time. Thus at various periods he was the middle aged Walter, a mature Lionel Danvers and a boyish Reginald or Conrad.

Even though he had sold his soul to the devil, Satan had given him an escape clause in that if he could find six virgins who would do anything for him, even die, he would take those six souls in exchange for Danvers’. For some reason I always read Danvers in the French form of D’enfer. Thus Danvers becomes The Lion Of the Lord of Hell. Whether correct or not it certainly fits.

Now, Lionel Danvers to use that name of his existence, had all the wealth of Europe at his command. While ostensibly an English Lord he spent all his time on the continent where he had the greatest concentrations of wealth in addition to his very large holdings in England. For him money had no other meaning than to buy power in whatever form it took by any means necessary.

In his Walter incarnation, his first, as the clearest example, Walter shows up in Genoa where he befriends the scion of the Landini trading family. He then bestows, not as a loan but for safe keeping interest free, an incredible fortune that Landini can use without any restrictions for his own benefit on the condition that whenever Danvers appears the Landinis are to return his money in full on demand or they become his slaves.

Naturally the Landinis being astute traders enjoy enormous success for several generations. Even though Danvers has never returned they still maintain his fortune. Each successor has been made aware of his obligation so that not only the trust is available ready to honor at any time but also interest. However suddenly the worst fortune descends on them and all their deals begin to sour, whole argosies are lost at sea. Danvers chooses this moment to return and demand his money. The demand can’t be honored.

But, the Landinis have a beautiful virgin daughter, Bianca. Danvers courts her, wins her heart and they set a date to be married. In the meantime, as debtors to Danvers, the Landinis have become his slaves. They are ordered to go to London and start a jewelry house, which they do.

Before leaving the marriage is arranged between Walter and Bianca. Before the marriage Danvers carries Bianca off to no one knows where. They both just vanish. Bianca becomes the first of the virgins sacrificed to Satan by Danvers. But, of course, the details that can be revealed here are mysteries to the reader.

Bianca had been abducted to Danvers ruined castle on the Isle of Wight. In the secret chamber where Danvers murders the women a score card is on the wall in fiery letters, thus Bianca becomes virgin soul #1, five more to go.

As the story opens Lionel Danvers is sacrificing his fifth, Clara Manners.

One of the deepest mysteries in this astonishingly deep book is the problem of Musidora Sinclair who Lionel has selected as his sixth victim. He seems to have had a singular attachment to the girl. Musidora had been a charming girl but at the age of seventeen she became of a very icy temperament unmoved by anyone or anything. As it turns out Lionel had attempted to lead her to his secret chamber, she lived on the Isle of Wight, but she got cold feet on the way to the chamber and fled. This event turned her heart cold. Now, after having despatched Clara Manners he decides to try again to make Musidora his final victim.

I take Musidora to mean Golden Song or music. Whether right or wrong, she is.

Lionel now has a problem because Musidora won’t allow him near her. Fortunately Lionel has a plan B. He will impersonate King Henry VIII, during whose reign the story takes place at this point, and wed her. Unfortunately her beauty overwhelms him and he impregnates her (another mystery) thus destroying her virginity. Even Lionel Danvers was not so stupid that he didn’t know that it was impossible to diddle Satan.

For Reynolds the story of the impersonation of Henry III is the central point of the story. Between Nathan and Lionel Rothschild a shadow government had been forming in England. While Queen Victoria was the apparent ruler at this time the actual rulers were, as Disraeli had written, other than the seeming rulers. Lionel lived till 1879 when he died at the age of seventy.

Granting that Disraeli was accurate then whatever power the shadow rulers had at the time, their power has gone on increasing to the present day when Evelyn Rothschild wields the power behind the throne. Prior to the Communist Revolution of 1917 Rasputin was deemed the power behind the Russian throne. He was also thought to be conspiring with the Germans. As it happened Rasputin had a Jewish secretary and we must suppose that the secretary had ties to other Jewish revolutionaries so that he was able to pass information to them much as Dreyfus had done in France in the 1890s.

In all probability the German agents Rasputin was thought to be conspiring with was actually being done by his Jewish secretary. The secretary would have been very intimate with Rasputin and would have had strong control over what information Rasputin received while having access to all or most of Rasputin’s info and plans. Thus Through Rasputin the Jews would have been able to influence the Czarina and through the Czarina the Czar.

In the US during the same period, the Wall Street speculator Bernard Baruch would become the actual co-president of Woodrow Wilson free to issue commands on his own authority subject only to correction by Wilson himself and he and Wilson were of like minds. So, at the crucial time of the Revolution both Russia and the US were subject to Jewish discipline.

Be that as it may, is it any coincidence that Lionel Danvers and Lionel Rothschild bore the same Christian name? I think not. Reynolds is trying to tell us something. So Lionel Danvers having circulated rumors that he was dead or on the continent set about to realize his lust on the body of Musidora Sinclair while posing as Henry VIII.

It will be remembered that at this time Henry was seeking a divorce from his Spanish wife Catherine, but it had not yet been achieved. Danvers has to fool Musidora into believing he, impersonating Henry, had succeeded in obtaining that divorce. First Danvers has to lure Musidora from her retreat on the Isle of Wight. He has a relative couple of Musidora living in the royal city of Greenwich invite Musidora to come for and extended visit to their castle. Then he finds a probable excuse for Henry to be a guest of the Earl and Countess Grantham, Musidora’s relatives.

There is some hint that Danvers magically transformed himself into a duplicate form of Henry. I don’t think that was necessary. At this point in history but few people would have seen Henry. So, all that Danvers would have had to have done is bought some clothes royalty would have worn and developed the persona. Of course Musidora knew Danvers well as a young girl and ought to have been able to identify his voice. But, this is Reynolds’ story and the disguise was complete although their was some uncertainty accepting face values.

Nevertheless Henry/Danvers showered Musidora with expensive gifts including a set of very expensive diamonds. It will be remembered that the Landinis from Genoa had been running a jewelry shop in London for about a hundred years.

Eventually, with continued prodding from the Granthams, who were completely fooled, Danvers/Henry break Musidora down and she agrees to marry the faux monarch. However suspicions remain and the strictest safeguards are taken. Musidora demands to see the papal bull nullifying Henry’s marriage to Catherine which matter was not resolved at the time.

Danvers has one forged. As three papal seals are needed Danvers obtains authentic seals.

As a political operative he has suborned numerous members of Henry’s household putting them on the payroll and so has one obtain seals from an authentic papal communication. The officiating priest is fooled and really has no choice but to marry Musidora and Danvers/Henry. Danvers cannot allow Musidora to circulate or talk about her marriage so he swears her to secrecy about the whole affair.

Nevertheless Henry learns of the fraud and swears his informers to secrecy because he doesn’t want the public to know that a shadow King Henry is loose in the kingdom. Reynolds here is describing the actual political condition in England that a second monarch is running the kingdom by secretive measures. This answers to Disraeli’s claim that others than the seeming rulers are directing affairs.

In fact Disraeli himself will become Prime Minister and facetiously and destructively make Victoria the Empress of India. Disraeli was ostensibly a Christian having changed from Judaism to Anglican at the age of thirteen. Thirteen is when a Jewish lad takes his Bar Mitzvah becoming a young man with a man’s prerogatives. It is very likely the change to Anglicanism was deceitfully made with political motives in mind. Disraeli became a Jew disguised as a Christian.

While there may be some objectors to my analysis one should note that Sir Piers Dunhaven the father of the second female victim had once had an extensive property in Cumberland but he had lost most of his property to usury. As Christians were forbidden usury it follows that Jews using their monopoly in usury had stripped Sir Piers of his property. There are subtle hints such as this to Lionel Danvers nationality.

What we have here then is an allegory of the subjection of England by the Jews according to Reynolds. On that level this is the shadow meaning of the novel.

On another level this is a near perfect Gothic novel. One is reminded of The Mysteries of Udolpho by Mrs. Radcliffe. As he was an old admirer of Mrs. Radcliffe I’m sure that Reynolds had Udolpho in mind as he wrote this. The story is also first class mystery and would beat out Willkie Collins for longest mystery story. And, Reynolds keeps the mystery going to the very end. Who could have guessed that Marian Bradley, Danvers last possible chance to beat the devil was his and Musidora’s daughter? Didn’t see that one coming did we?

The story is plotted out perfectly.   When we are shown the glowing signboard with the illuminated names and the blank spaces we have to wonder. That was the first mystery and the finest first mystery explained. This list of victims also gave Reynolds his opportunity to tell six tales and he loves to tell those tales.

Then there is the mystery of Danvers and where he gets his inexhaustible supply of money. His fortunes, not just a fortune but fortunes, come from over all Europe and England. An historical question often asked is how do Jews when expropriated and expelled out of one locality show up in a new one and immediately, as it seems, regain their wealth. The solution to that one is easy—usury. Aware that they may be expelled on short notice they kept jewels and portable wealth sewn into garments so that they could leave on amoment’s notice to resurface as wealthy elsewhere.

The Catholic Church and its opinion on money making money, that is usury, which is the objection to loaning on interest, penalized its own adherents and enfranchised the Jews who it politically disenfranchised. Interest in those days wasn’t six or seven percent either. Usury laws only came into existence much later. In those days interest was as much as fifty percent compounded daily or more so you can see how the money lenders, Jews, cornered the money supply wherever they were. The Danvers unlimited, renewed wealth must have come from usury, that is, legalized theft.

And Danvers applied his wealth artfully. The ruse of entrusting money to someone to be reclaimed whenever on no notice is a sure way to entrap the party. Reynolds was no dummy when it came to understanding ruses and ploys. He studied hard. The ploy that the Marquis of Leveson used to entrap Venetia Trelawney was classic.

The Marquis wanted sex from Venetia that she didn’t want to give. Not unlike Danvers, Leveson had unlimited funds that he didn’t mind losing so long as he obtained his desire. So he presented Venetia with a magnificent string of pearls. He told her he would redeem one or all at a time at a thousand pounds each on demand and with the last pearl she was his. Venetia then accepted what she thought was a guarantee that she would never be in want and never have to succumb.

However the wily Marquis set a series of matters in motion to compel Venetia to redeem the pearls. Borrowing from Eugene Sue’s Wandering Jew he has accomplices debauch the formerly steady husband of Venetia so that he turns to dissipation and gambling thus having to be bailed out frequently. Venetia soon has to bed the Marquis. The mysteries are usually tragic stories if you compassionate with the characters.

In this novel, while none of the characters has the memorability of the Resurrection Man from Mysteries of London, the whole ensemble of characters all work well together to create a memorable story.

The Necromancer is one of series of Satanic novels that Reynolds wrote from 1847 to 52. The first being Wagner the Wehr Wolf, 1846-47, Faust in 1847, The Bronze Statue in 1849-50 and then the Necromancer in 1851-52. Each is a beat the devil attempt on the part of the protagonist. Satan is a tough customer and none succeed.

The end of Danvers is a classic much exploited in novels and movies. Lionel (Walter, Reginald and Conrad) has lived for a hundred fifty years. When his attempt on the sixth maiden fails and Satan comes to receive his due, Danvers shrivels from a handsome young man into a withered old man bursts into flames and disappears.

I don’t know whether Reynolds was the first to use this dodge or not, but it becomes a classic dodge thereafter.

The estimable critic Dick Collins considers the Necromancer to be his favorite Reynolds. While I have now read twenty-five volumes of Reynolds I can’t place the volume ahead of the massive novels of The Mysteries of London, The Mysteries of the Court of London, nor, for that matter, The Mysteries of Old London. The last has a special place in my esteem; yet, as I have said, The Necromancer as a super-natural Gothic novel I think it may be near perfection. I’m sure that Mrs. Radcliffe would have been pleased with George’s effort.

Par XI of Time Travels With R.E Prindle follows.