Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

Another literary gem that keeps niggling at me is Harrison Ainsworth's all but forgotten historical blockbuster- Old St Pauls.

I read it as a kid- when Ainsworth and others like him were still considered "classic".

The villains- Anselm Chowles and Mother Malmaynes and other deplorables (Ainsworth had a Dickensian flair for names) are partying in the crypt of the cathedral, celebrating the wealth they've accumulated and the fun they've had by behaving badly during the Great Plague- when, unbeknownst to them, the Great Fire of London begins, the cathedral burns, its roof melts and the molten lead rushes down the stairs and engulphs them....

The illustration is by the great George Cruikshank.
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