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The remarks of Mark West: In Smith. Leon Garfield explores the underside of eighteenth-century England, it is a book about pickpockets, prisoners, and an array of other characters who exist on the fringes of society. In The Strange Affair of Adelaide Harris, published In 1971, Garfield returns to eighteenth-century England, but this time his characters are a bit more affluent if not more respectable. The central characters are two twelve-year-old boys: Harris, a clever but mischievous son of a prominent physician, and Bostock, a not-so-clever son of a retired ship captain. Like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, Harris and Bostock have a close but somewhat lopsided friendship. The two are nearly Inseparable, but it is usually Harris who takes the lead. One day their teacher happens to mention that the Spartans sometimes exposed their unwanted infants to the elements, and Harris finds this Idea Intriguing. He decides to try it out with his baby sister, Adelaide, it is not that he wants to dispose of her, he explains to Bostock; he just wants to see if she will be taken ki by a kindly wolf or some other wild animal. They leave little Adelaide in a wooded area where she is soon discovered by a young woman and her suitor. Much to the suitor's chagrin, the young woman decides to rescue Adelaide. What follows is a hlarious comedy of errors complete with a duel, a love affair and a mysterious private investigator who misinterprets every clue he unearths, it is a lively and amusing book about two Hvery and amusing boys. Eight years after the publication of The Stranoe Affair of Adelaide Harris. Garfield published a second book about these boys. The English edition bears the title Bostock and Harris while the American ├ędition Is called The Night of the Comet. In this book, the boys have aged a year and are beginning to take an interest ki girls. Bostock has a crush on Harris's sister Mary, but he has no idea how to win her affections. Harris agrees to help his friend for a price. Bostock's father owns an expensive telescope which Harris wants ki order better to see a comet that will soon pass over England, and he Insists that Bostock give him the telescope as payment for his advice. As it turns out, though, Harris's advice is not worth much. Everything he knows about courtship is from an article about the mating habits of animals, and the boys soon learn that girts are not necessarily attracted to the same things that attract females of other species. Like The Stranoe Affair of Adelaide Harris, the book Is filled with ridiculous situations and complicated plot twists, but through it all Harris and Bostock somehow manage to preserve their friendship. Garfield has clearly mastered the art of telling a comedie tale, but not all of his books belong to this genre, and The Apprentices is one that does not. First published in 1976, this book consists of twelve loosely connected stories, ail of which deal with the experiences of apprentices living ki eighteenth-century London. These young people work for a variety of masters, including a lamplighter, a midwife, and a pawnbroker. Most of these apprentices are not quite as destitute as Smith, but they tend to have more in common with Smith than with Harris and Bostock. Uke Smith, they do not have happy and carefree childhoods. For seven years, they must spend most of their time at work. Still, as Garfield makes clear, they are more than the jobs that they perform. They are also emotional beings, and K Is upon this aspect of their lives that most of the stories are focused. In "Moss and Blister," for example, Garfield describes the bitter disappointment that one ambitious apprentice feels upon learning that his master's wife has finely given birth to a baby boy. The apprentice had planned to marry one of the master's daughters and eventually inherit the business, but with a son ki the picture his hopes for a secure future instantly evaporate. In al three of these books, Garfield shows that he Is as...


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