Here is a post I wrote on Reynolds’s highwaymen Thomas Rainford, alias Mr Hatfield, who is one of the most fascinating characters in the Second Series of The Mysteries of London.
By Stephen Basdeo
This post discusses a character in Reynolds’s masterpiece The Mysteries of London, although I do not focus on the oft-studied and well-known “First Series” but instead on the little-studied and unfairly neglected “Second Series” (and Reynolds scholars should indeed study the second series; there is absolutely no evidence to say that the first serial was more widely read than the second). As much as I like Richard Markham and adore Ellen Monroe in the first serial—I also have a sneaking admiration for the “Old Hag”—Reynolds created a number of characters in the second serial who were just as fun and interesting. In another life, I am also a historian of highwaymen, the first character who struck me on reading the Second Series was the highwayman Thomas Rainford alias Tom Rain, alias Charles Hatfield. Hatfield’s career and character bears a passing resemblance to that of another, more…
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