The definitive annotated, explicated London Doll and it's still a good story. Richard Horne's slightly pseudonymous (""edited by Mrs. Fairstar"") early Victorian (pub. 1846) nougat is appreciatively and informatively introduced by Margery Fisher, who also footnotes proper name references in the text. The four full-page illustrations from the first edition, printed on pink mauve stock, form the endpapers; the title page is set in the style of the original and the body type, although contemporary-legible, has strong nineteenth century antecedents. In appearance, then, an accessible antique; by nature, a historical/scholarly acquisition. . . but what's in this doll's memory of successive mammas to attract little girls today besides their lamentable (?) weakness for articulate dumb creatures and for sentimental noblesse oblige? Firstly a quick-step plot that pauses only for eye-filling, mouth-watering descriptions. Maria Poppet's Mammas range the social register from apprentice milliner (seamstress) Ellen Plummy and merry Italian organ-girl Brigitta to elegant, impatient Lady Flora and well-brought-up Lydia Thomson; each loves Maria in her own way, each is loved in return but not lamented. And each provides entree to a particular aspect of London life, from the Lord Mayor's procession to a Christmas pantomime. (Equally integral is the greedy ""old Jew"" merchant.) Child-centered storytelling with a shrewd perceptivity that prefigures Dickens.