Last Updated on January 19, 2017, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 160
Context: Old St. Paul's is considered one of the best as well as the most popular of William Harrison Ainsworth's historical novels. It is a romance set in London at the time of the great plague and the disastrous fire of 1666. Captain Disbrowe, young and impulsive, has been playing dice with Sir Paul Parravicin and Major Pillichody, an insolent bully. Since Disbrowe has lost all his money, Parravicin offers to stake double his winnings against Disbrowe's wife, a very beautiful woman according to the major, who claims to have seen and spoken to her. They roll the dice; Sir Paul wins; and Disbrowe, in desperation, draws his sword and attacks the knight. The young captain is disarmed and rushes out in a rage. The knight then turns to Pillichody:
"Is his wife really as beautiful as you represent her?"
"Words are too feeble to paint her charms," replied the Major.
"Shafts of Cupid! she must be seen to be appreciated."
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