Narrated by Sylvanus Beauclerk, a fictitious author who refers to himself as a 'Civic Antiquary.' Beauclerk's goal is to 'illustrate and adorn his beloved London,' and in his preface, he states the tales he's compiled are 'neither strict historical truth, nor yet entirely romantic fable; but partake of both. . . Sometimes they are pictures of ancient manners and places, and sometimes they are merely the history of what might have been.' Born in a hackney-coach, Beauclerk claims the particular distinction of 'traversing the streets long before he could speak,' and over the course, he is as fully developed and entertaining a fictional narrator as any reader could wish for. Prone to long digressions on various historical subjects pertinent to his stories, Beaucleark often details the trustworthy sources from which he's compiled his narratives, including interviews he's conducted with individuals such as Mattias Goosegrinder (an attorney), Abraham Buckskin (a currier), and Thady Nightlight (a night watchman). The stories, which are arranged chronologically from 1100 to 1769, are ingenious mixtures of history, folklore, and fiction.
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