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The Digressions of V., Written for his Own Fun and that of His Friends, by Elihu Vedder; Containing the Quaint Legends of his Infancy, an Account of his Stay in Florence, the Garden of Lost Opportunities, Return Home on the Track of Columbus, His Struggle

Vedder, Elihu. The Digressions of V., Written for his Own Fun and that of His Friends, by Elihu Vedder; Containing the Quaint Legends of his Infancy, an Account of his Stay in Florence, the Garden of Lost Opportunities, Return Home on the Track of Columbus, His Struggle. Boston & New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1910.

People who Created this Work

Vedder, Elihu author

People Mentioned in this Work

Mallen, Edward [pages:218-220, 241]

Characterizing Mullin's art as "forgotten gems" which once adorned the pages of Vanity Fair, Vedder dryly observes, "It may be imagined that Mullin's hand was unsteady, but by concentrating his will and taking good aim he managed to hit the spot every time; and being a good artist this very unsteadiness gave a delightful freedom and a style of his own to his drawings which were veritable little gems and offered the greatest contrast to the drawings of all around him" (220).

Vedder, Elihu [pages:FP(ill.), 191(ill.), 335(ill.), 385(ill.)]

Talks about trying to make a living drawing for Vanity Fair (198).

Joined the Athenaeum club in NYC (201).

Describes about Ned Mullin: “Mullin was ‘a holy terror’ --- at least so he was described by good little Miss Van Dusen with whom he once boarded...He was anything but neat, except in the matter of whiskey: he always took that neat. For one who treated himself so generously to that article, he was singularly abstemious / with regard to his friends, for his never treated any one but once, and that happened in this way” (218-9); “If Mullin treated himself well to whiskey, he treated himself badly enough in other respects, judging by his appearance when he turned up after an absence. He was frequently absent” (219); “How he died or when he died I never knew. He simply faded out of my life; yet I would very much like to hunt up in the pages of ‘Vanity Fair’ those forgotten gems of his” (220).

Describes Mullin meeting Winslow Homer, another Pfaffian: “Mullin, meeting that best of painters, Winslow Homer, was asked by the latter if he would have a drink. This jumping with Mullin’s usual mood, he accepted at once. Homer then explained that he had tickets for drinks at Hanbury Smith’s, which was then the very fountain-head of mineral waters in Broadway. Mullin, who never drank water, took Saratoga High Rock, as he told me himself, and it gave him the stomach-ache, but he said nothing and bided his time. It came. He met H., and inviting him to take a drink, led him to an apothecary’s, where he said to the clerk: ‘My friend wants a drink. Will you please give him a drink of --- castor oil” (219).

Describes encounter between Mullin and Fitz Hugh O’Brien: “Once when Mullin was eating (he never dined) with Fitz Hugh O’Brien, the latter said to the waiter, asking him to bring him a plate for his bones. This was too much for the democratic Mullin. ‘A plate for your bones, forsooth! -- What frills be these? -- since when, I pray?’ (219).

Describes where he lived when he frequented Pfaff’s: “The room my good stepmother found for me were on the corner of Bond Street and Broadway, and therefore near Pfaff’s” (226).

On becoming part of the Pfaff’s crowd: “As every question started in the Studio ended with, ‘Let’s go over to Pfaff’s,’ I became for a time one of the Pfaff crowd of the Bohemians, as they were then called” (226).

Description of Pfaff’s: “Pfaff’s was situated in a basement, and the room under the sidewalk was the den where writers and artists -- the latter mostly drawers on wood but not drinkers of water -- met” (226).

On Whitman at Pfaff’s: “There I saw Walt Whitman: he had not become famous yet, and I then regarded many of the Boys as his superiors, as they did themselves” (226).

On Pfaff, the owner: “I really believe Pfaff himself loved the Boys. The time came when he retired to the country, well off but then the time also came when he returned and started another place further up-town. I saw him in his new place and asked him about it. He said he was well off, but that he could not stand the country; he had to do something; but then he said, ‘It is n’t the same thing; dere’s no more poys left enny more.’” (226).

On George Arnold: “George Arnold was one of the Boys. He lived near me and used frequently to come and sit by me while I was painting” (227); “I can recall his gentle, sad smile yet. Gentleness was his great charm. We both lived near Pfaff’s, and it was there he read me his poem, shortly after it was written -- ‘Here I sit drinking my beer’” (228); “He died young; I do not know of what he died, but he seemed to be worn out even when I first met him. All the Boys attended his funeral; there was but one woman. Who she was and what she was made it all the more touching; her grief was honest and sincere” (228); “He thought his life a wasted life; it was with him a gorgeous romance of youthful despair; but into that grave went a tender charm, great talent, and great weakness” (228).

Talks about Henry Clapp (232).

On Homer Martin:“What cosy studio and tavern times I have had with Homer Martin. He was a Bohemian if you will (240).