Born and raised in England, Thomas Butler Gunn first worked as an illustrator for the famous British satirical journa
Covers the period from October 1, 1857 to November 5, 1858.
Gunn describes the meeting of Sol and Thomas Bailey Aldrich of the Home Journal, "Talking with Sol Eytinge the other day O'B spoke of Willis (N.P.) saying "He's rather sick – I dined with him yesterday." Subsequently Sol met Aldrich (of the "Home Journal") who casually mentioned that he had on that same yesterday introduced O'B to Willis! Only a few common places passed!"
Gunn describes a visit to Henry Clapp, "Wednesday. At evening with Cahill and Haney to visit Clapp, a newspaper man, living in this street. A sort of literary soiree. O'Brien, Bellew, Piercy, Arnold, Whelpley and Wilkins (of the Herald) were present, with a Mr Delanno – the only non-literary man present. Pipes, cigars, beer, puns and songs. Not a very successful evening" (35-36).
Gunn depicts Clapp, "Monday. In doors, Jerrolding, till sunset. At night with Clapp, O'Brien and Cahill in Haney's room. Clapp is an exceedingly ugly little man, with nothing particular in the way of a nose, and a beard. He is a "Come-Outer" of the most extreme description, having progressed from a starting point of Anti-Slavery propaganda ism, to the advocacy of "Free-love" and Fourierism, of the most ultra description. Withal he is a character, talks pretty well, and piques himself on studying people. In the talk I got antagonizing with O'Brien, who is, I believe, radically, inherently, and inevitably my opposite" (42-43).
Gunn states that O'Brien owes Clapp, among others, a supper, "O'Brien called in the afternoon. Incidentally, I have heard a characteristic thing of him. Underwood, one of the editors of the "Atlantic Monthly" being on here, O'Brien must needs give him, Wilkins, Clapp and Fry (of the Tribune) a supper at Delmonico's – some $30 affair or more. Splendid illustration of Erin go Brag!" (53).
Gunn has a discussion about money and rich men with Clapp and O'Brien, "Sunday. To Parton's. Found Haney there. He left in the afternoon, Parton accompanying him to New York, presently returning alone. I called at "Doesticks" at night. Found O'Brien and Clapp in Haney's room on my return, Cahill with them. Got into a sort of discussion with the two former about money and rich men, they railing at 'em after a common fashion, and at the supposed deference paid to them: I holding that such railing did not good, might originate in envy and bosh – that if you looked close enough you might find out a certain amount of right in everything, even in the popular respect for wealth – money representing, tangibly, somebody's labor, intellect and ability. Let the rich have fair play in talk – they do in life – and away with the pitiful clique cant against them because they are rich. (Gunn adds, "I'm not sure that they were her notes, after all. Feb. 16 - They were.") Clapp spake much on what he considered the false importance into which money had been elevated, drawing paralels [sic] between the cases of a man entering a friend's room and feeling no scruple of helping himself to cigars or wine &c and another considering it dishonorable to help himself to a small sum of money &c. He said he shouldn't mind receiving $100 or $500 from a rich man. We didn't have this objection to receiving money from the dead &c. Would I object to having a sum presented to me. I said and thought that I'd rather earn it. O'Brien launched out into laudation of generosity – that popular pseudo virtue he likes to holla on. I'd rather have Justice. An Odd Coincidence. Clapp and Whitelaw,two of the ugliest men I've ever known (not unlike in physiognomy too.) are both Socialists" (62-63).
Gunn documents a story from Clapp regarding Lola, "Here's a story or two of Lola, from Clapp who knew her in Paris and visits her now. In order to avoid the trouble of dressing her hair, which is, really, very good, she on one occasion before lecturing, clapped on a wig. Dressing once, while he sat talking to her in an ajoining room, she put out her head (in order to see if he were attentive) her face covered with soap suds and cigar in mouth! She smokes incessantly, making her own cigars. Being remonstrated with on the former indulgence by a railroad conductor, (Lola has got into innumerable rows from persistence in smoking in the cars) she put the comether over him by asking "Ye're from Oireland?" and describing herself as "a little girl from the auld counthry!" A Mr Ware called on me, this afternoon, having been preceded by an introductory letter from Damoreau. A Bostonian" (68-69).
Gunn talks about an article written by Clapp that is read aloud by Haney, "O'Brien had an article from the "Boston Transcript" puffing him tremendously as the author of the Diamond Lens, and giving a memoir of him, his literary & dramatic successes (?) &c. Haney read it aloud. It was written by Clapp. There were exaggerations in it amounting to lying. Talking of Picton, Haney says he's generally drunk within precisely fifteen minutes after the bank, wherein he's employed as cashier, closes!" (80).
Gunn mentions seeing Clapp with a woman, "Saturday. To Harpers with notions. 8 to do. To Frank Leslie's, Pic Office, Post Office. Met Moore, of the Times, and Ware the Bostonian, also Gun, Bellew's man. Phonography at night. Saw Clapp in Broadway with a woman – probably Lola" (99).
Gunn attended a burlesque with Clapp, "Wednesday. In doors all the drenching day. Chores, phonography, letter to Dillon Mapother. Gun playing cribbage with Haney at night, he a little boozy. Cahill with Clapp at Wallacks to see a new burlesque by Stuart, O'Brien and another. It was produced last night, not a success. Haney & Clapp called for the authors but the less interested audience requested them to "Dry up!" So a scene with three stuffed figures, prepared for the occasion, wasn't available!!" (158).
Gunn details Clapp's anecdotes of North, "Writing at night. An hour with Clapp, Gun and Haney, in the room of the latter. Clapp told some anecdotes of North, of his borrowings, improvidence and frequent talk of suicide. He got turned out of one boarding-house for not paying his rent, and though continued by Clapp not to incur the same risk in his next abode, loafed for two weeks, accepted money from Clapp to pay up, didn't do it but squandered the sum in a brothel and – got turned out again. He borrowed from everybody, never paying. Clapp made his acquaintance in England, knew him also in Paris. He would enter Clapp's room, announce his intention to commit self murder, bid him good-bye and go off – Clapp not even caring to remonstrate, knowing nothing would come of it. Clapp says he always made preparations for being interrupted. At the time of the suicide they were not friends, Clapp having objected to North's persisting in being third party to a friend's dinners, and further offended him by what the narrator characterized as "a joke." I must put it down, it is so suggestive of the men, the society the wretched suicide moved in. They were at a party. Said some one "I go against God!" "So do I!" chimes in North. "Gentlemen," replies Clapp, "that's not fair – it's two against one!" How much more terrible a tragedy is there in North's real life and death, than ^|in| the wretched bosh into which he idealized himself in fiction" (195-196).
Gunn says that Haney had gone to Clapp's, "Thursday. Writing hard all day, from 9 A.M. till midnight. O'Brien came up in the evening after Haney (who had gone to Clapp's), said he wanted a plot – had a three act comedy to write – Collins the actor wanted him to do it – he had "been modest" and asked $350 – Collins said he'd give $500. Erin go Brag!" (204).
Gunn talks about a new paper to be edited by Clapp, "Cahill is supposed to live with her, now. He collects or solicits advertisements for the Picayune, on commission – does nothing else. Haney says he had a real friendship for him, but that when Gun appeared – the man with money, who'd stand drinks & go to brothels with him – Cahill dropped Haney and chess playing. There's a new paper to be published, edited by Clapp, Haney business man – it is to be a la Home Journal – I opine every way weaker" (236).
Gunn includes a newspaper clipping and engraving by Cahill, providing advice for married couples for when single friends visit, in which he annotates: "Cahill's article, (got from Sol's domestic relations.)" (19).
Gunn says Haney brought Cahill home because he was drunk from drinking with Eytinge and Rosenberg: "While I was down stairs at dinner Haney brought Cahill home, he (Cahill) being exceedingly drunk. Took him up to his room and bed. He had been drinking with Sol Eytinge and Rosenberg" (38).
Gunn describes Wood's opinion of Eytinge: "Going out for my morning's paper met Wood who spoke of Sol Eytinge, declaring it his opinin [sic] that Sol was "most damnably hen-pecked." There's corroborative evidence of this in the reports of Cahill. Allie was averse to Sol's journeying out picnic at Hoboken, which accounts for his bringing nothing in the shape of provant [sic], and intending to leave early" (41-42).
Gunn describes a letter from Alf Waud, in which he discusses Eytinge's idealization of himself: "Writes Alf: "I perceive in Frank Leslie's one of those unpleasant caricatures which Sol makes x x also several attempts at idealizing himself in illustrations of the Christmas poem. Sol must be rapidly getting a very heavy personage." The former is true enough. Sol always does idealize himself in his serious drawings. / The engraver Watson – Allie Vernon's former "protector"–is in Boston now" (47).
Gunn describes a letter from Alf Waud, in which he writes about Allie Vernon and Sol Eytinge's relationship: "He (Watson) boasts that if Allie knew he had money, and he was to try it on, she would leave Sol immediately for him. He gives her credit for mercenary feeling &c swears that she threw herself in his way, that he supplied her with money in considerable sums, employed her sister Joe x x paid $12 a week for Allie's board for some time before x x and that at that time she told him he need not have waited so long for her favors, intimating x x Finally he had to choose between her and his wife, so gave her up, upon which she sent to her husband an account of the affair, and he called on Watson for evidence to get a divorce from her, which he was obliged to give. W. declares it's all nonsense about his ill- using her, that he was quite fascinated by her &c." Elsewhere Waud adds, good naturedly, and with a charming obliviousness of his own position, "It's satisfactory to hear of Sols difficulties and domestic disarrangements – it serves him right. Sol's considerable of an oyster but he wont put up with "Allie dear" always" (54-55).
Wood tells Gunn of Allie Vernon's hoarding Sol Eytinge's money "Met Wood. He says Sol's prosperous, but never has any money (Allie's making a private purse for herself, in view of contingencies), that they're going to take another house and to get rid of Josey" (81).
Gunn describes Allie Vernon and her sister's visit to the the Thomson's, which has caused controversy: "Talking with Sol Eytinge the other day O'B spoke of Willis (N.P.) saying "He's rather sick – I dined with him yesterday." Subsequently Sol met Aldrich (of the "Home Journal") who casually mentioned that he had on that same yesterday introduced O'B to Willis! Only a few common places passed! There may be a jolly row apropos of Mrs Allie 'Eytinge.' She and her chaste sister Josey have got the entree to the Doesticks'. As Sol illustrates Mort Thomson's articles in Frank Leslie's paper, and as both live in Brooklyn, not far apart from each other, Mort talked of inviting 'Mrs'Allie; to avoid which undesirable contingency Haney told him her real relations with Sol. This was some time ago, maybe two or three months. How it fell out, who took the initiative, does not yet appear, but on going their last Sunday – Saturday evening, rather – Haney learnt that Allie and Josey were expected. Moreover Mort's good, sweet, innocent little wife had actually visited that brace of strumpets at Sol's house! Haney said he wasn't on speaking terms with Mrs 'Eytinge' and proposed to clear our, but didn't effect it before the arrival of the visitors. So he had to belie his recent assertion by shaking hands with Allie! Going to Parton's he told them what had happened. Fanny knows all about Sol's domestic relations (I sup- pose Haney told Parton, and he told her) and declared that she won't visit the Thomson's if these strumpets are liable to drop in, when her daughters are there. Quite right too, by Jove. Fancy that good, frank, honest-hearted Grace cheek by jowl with Allie and Josey! How Thomson can admit them to access to his wife I can't conceive. His mother is old enough to take care of herself, to be up to snuff generally, but that that dear little creature who is so good and innocent that its a delight to look at her, should be exposed to such contagion makes one's blood boil! I'd as soon cut my hand off as wink at it were I of kin to her. Thomson must have a moral flaw in him to stand it. Sol is very savage with regard to Haney – as of course the women got to talking of his remark about not wanting to meet Allie. In fact Sol, like the thorough fool he is, thinks that the connection 'twixt him and Allie will be permanent. He'd marry her if he could, they say! He don't dare to introduce her to his own family, but will willingly taunt other honest folks. Now Allie, like her sister, is inherently a harlot. She'll squeeze the hands of his male friends behind his back and, I believe, is as purchasable as the veriest drab that walks the streets. See the unguessable mischief that springs from such a connection. If love could anyway sanctify or palliate adultery, it might in Alf Waud's case" (86-87).
Wood tells Gunn that Allie is taking Eytinge's money as fast as he earns it: "Met Wood. He says the Thomson's and Allie & Josey interchange visits, are quite intimate. Sol never has more than a dollar or so, let him earn what he will – hands it over to Allie, who, of course, is making a purse for herself" (96).
Gunn describes Mort Thompson's reaction when he discovers the truth about Allie and Sol Eytinge's relationship: "Mort inquiring about Allie Vernon. He'd been to Partons and Fanny had told him Allie wasn't Sol's wife. Whereupon, going home, his dear little wife had cried for an hour about it on his shoulder. Thomson says he has but a confused recollection of Haney's informing him how matters stood and he,certainly, wouldn't have permitted the intimacy if he hadn't thought Mrs Allie "Eytinge" wasn't what she assumed to be. She suggested it, in Sol's absence. He "always detested that style of woman," but his wife was friendly to her, living so near together. Of course he's going to stop further intercourse. Good for Doesticks! I'm glad to think he's all right, for his own, as for innocent little "Chips" sake" (98-99).
Gunn talks of Sol Eytinge's intentions to marry Allie Vernon: "To Frank Leslie's. Sol was talking with Nast and the German artist at the end of Leslie's desk, so I gave him good day, to which he responded sulkily. So I knew he implicated me, about the Allie expose at Thomsons. To the Pic Office. Gun installed, Woodward out. Bellew came. O'Brien. To Haney's and Post Office. Return. At 4 in the afternoon Cahill came home, and three hours subsequent I found him in his room on the bed, in a generally wretched state, he having got extremely drunk after dinner, commencing it with Sol Eytinge at Mataran's. Sol's savage and denunciatory, talks of licking people &c, and is going to marry Allie! Of course that persecuted vestal was "broken-hearted" at the receipt of "Chip's" letter. Cahill's good will loosened his tongue about Sol's threats towards me. He expects he will eventually get into an awful row with Sol, having been on the verge of it often. 'Twould be a cowardly business in Eytinge's part as he's the stronger man, but Cahill has pluck and some science and knows that Sol would howl at pain. I am not afraid of him, shan't do anything to provoke a row – if he does let him look out. He has had words with Haney. I suppose – indeed am sure – that Thomson must have told him Sol all that he learnt from us about Allie. His infernal folly will punish itself sweetly by a marriage with the mischievous strumpet. Of course it will be bigamy – perhaps double bigamy – on her part. I don't think it's a matter for lamentation. Morally, she's no worse than her dupe. Cahill went round to Arnold's for an hour and then came back to bed" (109-110).
Gunn describes a conversation with Wood and Watson regarding Sol Eytinge and Allie Vernon: "He called on Clarence Eytinge, saying that Sol had threatened to shoot him, and inquiring if he meant it. 'Twas about Allie, of course, Sol being enraged at Watson's talking about her. Banks has shaken hands with Bellew, making the advances himself. He lives now at a French house in Lispenard St, having left Stammer's. "Stammers" says Banks "is, bai Jove, such a d____d old fool!" He heard a devil of a row over head one night, went up stairs and caught Banks in his red flannel shirt among the Biddies! The Juanic Banks – in spectacles and a red shirt! Stammers didn't like it, so Banks left. Wood talked of Sol's domestic economy. Allie, or Meg, as he now calls her, is rather slatternly. She don't wear her spectacles always, as Sol don't like it. She squanders his money in taking lessons in German – she did try French, but dropped it. Sol hasn't much conversation in him, lolls about occasionally singing a bar or two of opera music, some times toying with Allie. So visitors find it very dreary. Sol works pretty hard, now, making $40 weekly. Yet he never has much money in pocket. Probably gives it to Allie and she, like a prudent creature, makes a little private purse for herself, in view of contingencies" (117).
Gunn provides detail on Sol Eytinge's wedding: "From the last I learn that Sol Eytinge got married on Monday, (the 7th) night. The bride's sisters – two of them; Thomson and his mother were present, H. Ward. Beecher officiating. Wood sys Sol's mother knows of the marriage and had visited Allie previously. Allie playfully suggested to Wood that he should marry Josey at the same time" (160).
Gunn describes Sol Eytinge's appearance at dinner: "A Broadway walk at sunset, and then to writing again, which I kept at till midnight. Sol Eytinge appeared at the dinner table today, brought hither by Cahill. Sol looks well, as if matrimony and petticoat rule agreed with him. He is streadier, I fancy, than heretofore" (181).
Gunn describes Sol Eytinge's dissatisfaction with Allie's inability to have children: "To Haney's office, then Frank Leslie's. Met him at door, into lager bier place where Sol Eytinge and Ottarson sat drinking. Alf saw Sol yesterday when he was invited to make his home, during his stay, at the house of the latter. Sol is dissatisfied with Allie's incapacity to bear children and hints that if he can't have one at home he will elsewhere. His mother visits them. He's at feud with Haney since the Doesticks expose. Clarence Eytinge has followed in the track of more than one of his brothers and gets his living at the gaming table. One of them keeps "a hell" – was shown up in the papers a year ago. Left Alf with Leslie & Sol and to Bleecker St, where he joined me us at dinner; then said good bye" (203).
Cahill tells Gunn about his night out at the opera with Eytinge and Thomson: "Cahill had been to the Opera with Sol Eytinge and Thomson; all of the party – so Cahill says – were drunk before they went there. Doesticks went into the Tribune office – the sale room – wanted to borrow $5, bullied the pay-master on his refusing, got the money – had a friendly boxing match with Sol in the street, rode up town with the others in the omnibus and flared up generally" (206).
Gunn says that Eytinge wanted to sketch the fight between Heenan and Morissey, but demanded too much money, so Nast went instead: "Sol Eytinge wanted to go to sketch the fight – for the so-called championship, between the Americo-Irish pugilists hight Morrissey and Heenan – which is making a great sensation Here – but Leslie wouldnt come down with $100 which he demanded for expenses. So little Nast went" (238).
Fry is among the men owed a supper at Delmonico's by O'Brien, "Underwood, one of the editors of the "Atlantic Monthly" being on here, O'Brien must needs give him, Wilkins, Clapp and Fry (of the Tribune) a supper at Delmonico's – some $30 affair or more. Splendid illustration of Erin go Brag!"
Gunn writes about Herbert's suicide, "Haney came home to dinner with news of Herbert's suicide...Talking of Herbert Banks said he had avoided being introduced to him! This I think – of course not crediting it – the severest thing that will be said about the wretched suicide – God forgive him!" (150).
Gunn reflects upon meeting Herbert, his character, and his death, "I was introduced to Herbert in 1849, on coming to this country, at Stringer and Townsend's the publishers. Having seen a portrait of "Ned Buntline" and not knowing the fellow's character, I fancied Herbert the man and thinking the recognition might be a compliment (!) said so! The publishers roared but Herbert got rather excited, exclaiming "For God's sake don't take me for that scoundrel! – call me Burke or Hare, or Thurtell, but not Ned Buntline. I have seen him more than once subsequently, and remember him at the "Sachem" office door with Picton and others about him. He impressed me as a very overbearing, self willed man. As an instance of his passionate nature, he once drew a bowie knife in Stringer & Townsend's office, set a box wood block up edgewise and chopped it to pieces. He had made a drawing on it which wasn't wanted, and which they demurred at paying for or something of the sort. One of the publishers was horribly frightened. Herbert's death, like North's, exhibits the dreadful egotism commonly attendant on suicides. Most men seem to think their death's by their own hand will produce a very great sensation. Herbert's prayer wont be respected by the press, but Silence will settle down upon his memory soon enough" (151 & 153).
Gunn annotates a newspaper engraving of Herbert, "[newspaper engraving] Not by any means vicious- looking enough. Face less strongly marked" (152).
Gunn mentions attending a lecture by Lola Montez, "With Haney to "Hope Chapel" intending to hear Lola Montez lecture, but the place was already filled. So went to Edwards'. The talk ran on the feeling entertained by this country towards England. I hold it to be antagonistic, and think when Englishmen try to believe the reverse they indulge in a mischievous delusion. No country loves England, but she'll hold her own in spite of them, for she is better, braver and freer than they are" (65).
Gunn details his attendance of Lola Montez's lecture, "Cahill came in at night with tickets for Lola Montez lecture, so we all went. The place, Hope Chapel, was cram jam full, so we did a bit of impudence, pushing our way towards the rostrum and trusting to chances. An attendant got seats for Haney and Cahill; I esconsed [sic] myself on the steps beside the lecturer, where I was closer to her (and more generally prominent) than the rest of the audience. So I had a good look at Lola. She must have been exceedingly handsome, is now a trifle passee, has very fine dark eyes, nose just a little bit acquiline [sic], good profile, beautiful throat and black hair. She was drest in exquisite taste, black velvet, not low in the neck, with white-lace berthe or collar, or whatever the women call it. The graceful slope of her back and full- though not crinolinelyvulgarized- redundant-swell of skirt was as Parisian as though she'd stept [sic] out of Gavarni. She has a pleasant voice, indicative, though, of latent shrewishness when she grows excited; and speaks with a French accent. The lecture "On the Wits and Women of Paris" was amusing, discursive, ungrammatical, immethodical [sic] and anecdotal. You could read the woman very well through it. (She does write her own lectures.) Her admiration of Dumas, Mery &c and their free and easy lives, gettings into debt and theatrical generosities was very characteristic. She quoted a very ^|un-|equivocal answer of – I think – Dejazet's the actress, who being questioned as to how she had acquired such formative, jewelry &c said It was the result of a thousand and one nights. The audience were hardly quick-witted enough to catch this. She pitched into American ladies respecting there love of dress – whereat some of them scowled and the men applauded. Parton, Fanny Fern & her daughter were present in the gallery, though we didn't perceive them. Here's a story or two of Lola, from Clapp who knew her in Paris and visits her now. In order to avoid the trouble of dressing her hair, which is, really, very good, she on one occasion before lecturing, clapped on a wig. Dressing once, while he sat talking to her in an ajoining [sic] room, she put out her head (in order to see if he were attentive) her face covered with soap suds and cigar in mouth! She smokes incessantly, making her own cigars. Being remonstrated with on the former indulgence by a railroad conductor, (Lola has got into innumerable rows from persistence in smoking in the cars) she put the comether over him by asking "Ye're from Oireland?" and describing herself as "a little girl from the auld counthry!" (67-69).
Gunn recalls a quote from Lola Montez's lecture, "A man would be an ass to affect any impossi- bly high moral standard in judging his intimates – "nobody expects men to be moral" as Lola Montez said – but don't let us help to make women as bad as ourselves" (87).
Nast calls before Gunn leaves for a charity ball: "Tuesday. Working. Down town in the afternoon, to the Post Office &c. Found a note from Frank Leslie on my return, requesting me to go to the Charity ball at "the Academy," in order to write a comic article about it. Nast, a young artist called, at at about 10 we went" (40).
Cahill tells Gunn that Eythinge, Thomson, and Nast went to the Opera intoxicated: "Cahill had been to the Opera with Sol Eytinge and Thomson; all of the party – so Cahill says – were drunk before they went there. Doesticks went into the Tribune office – the sale room – wanted to borrow $5, bullied the paymaster on his refusing, got the money – had a friendly boxing match with Sol in the street, rode up town with the others in the omnibus and flared up generally. Little Nast was with them – drunk also. How they separated
Cahill couldn't recollect" (206).
Nast went to sketch a fight between Morrissey and Heenan: "To Frank Leslie's, saw Wood. He's been to Canada of late to visit a brother. Sol Eytinge wanted to go to sketch the fight – for the so-called championship, between the Americo-Irish pugilists hight Morrissey and Heenan – which is making a great sensation Here – but Leslie wouldn't come down with $100 which he expenses. So little Nast went" (238).
Gunn journals about O'Brien's life stories, "O'Brien and Bellew with us in Haney's room at night. The former talked much of fast men in London and New York, of lorettes and actors. He told some goodish stories. I suppose his life has been such that he hasn't a friend in the world" (12).
Gunn saves a newspaper clipping about a fight between O'Brien and Wilkes (13).
Gunn describes a picnic at Hoboken with New York artists and journalists. O'Brien is among them and Gunn describes his drunken behavior, "There was enough and to spare. O'Brien had bidden his landlord cater for him, and the man had put up the roast fowls, the major part of a ham, pickles, bread, condiments, a gallon of cold- whiskey punch – as strong as raw spirit – and a bottle of brandy... Soon the fellows got to boxing – we had brought the gloves. Cahill and O'Brien had a spar or two in which O'Brien did not come out best. Then, three boys appearing, one with a gun, we fell to taking sixpenny shots, at caps, hats or trees. This continued for a long time everybody scattering about among the rocks and trees promiscuously..." (23-25).
Gunn says O'Brien was very drunk and taken to Davenport's, "The other fellows, after their boat had started heard the noise of the fight and were impatient not to be present. After taking O'Brien, who was very drunk to Davenport's, in Broadway, they came round to Bleecker St to learn our fortune" (26-27).
O'Brien informs Gunn that his piece won't appear in the paper anymore, "O'Brien up in the evening awhile. His "Man About Town" won't appear in Harper's any more. He attributes it to Bonner's enmity" (28).
Gunn describes a conversation with O'Brien, "By the way O'Brien said a characteristic thing to me today. Doesticks' wife was mentioned. "Did he get any money with her?" asked he. I have rarely met an Irishman who didn't think a man's marriage a failure if it didn't bring pecuniary profit. Very few Englishmen – especially young Englishmen – would have asked such a questin" (31).
O'Brien was of those who visited Clapp, "At evening with Cahill and Haney to visit Clapp, a newspaper man, living in this street. A sort of literary soiree. O'Brien, Bellew, Piercy, Arnold, Whelpley and Wilkins (of the Herald) were present, with a Mr Delanno – the only non-literary man present. Pipes, cigars, beer, puns and songs. Not a very successful evening" (35-36).
Gunn describes O'Brien's habits and personality, In the talk I got an- tagonizing with O'Brien, who is, I believe, radically, inherently, and inevitably my opposite. And I think both of us feel this. He is a clever man, is O'Brien. A man of more than Irish assurance, of indomitable conceit. Radically a selfish man, whose theory of life commences and ends with selfindulgence...." (43-46).
Gunn annotates a newspaper clipping, seeing it as a slap at O'Brien (44).
Gunn says O'Brien owes people a dinner, "O'Brien called in the afternoon. Incidentally, I have heard a characteristic thing of him. Underwood, one of the editors of the "Atlantic Monthly" being on here, O'Brien must needs give him, Wilkins, Clapp and Fry (of the Tribune) a supper at Delmonico's – some $30 affair or more" (53).
Gunn reveals details of O'Briens financial crisis, "A middle-aged, shabby man came up to inquire about O'Brien, and told us how he had been his landlord in Great Jones Street, how O'B had had the best room in the house at the rent of $12 per week, with food, attendance, gas and whatnot; how O'B owed him upwards of $180, how he and his family were turned out of the house in consequence of O'B's not paying up; how O'B owed $80 and upwards at his Broadway boarding-house, $200 elsewhere and the like old news. The man had been to Harpers, who'd sent him to the Picayune. He knew O'B lived in Jersey city, said the last time he'd encountered him, O'B was drunk, in the Bowery. Furthermore he spoke of O'B's giving a Delmonico dinner at his lodgings, half at his landlord's cost. Cahill was a little inclined to be rude to the poor devil, Wilbur to chaff him, I thought it a hard case and let him talk as much as he liked – and he did like to talk a great deal. This heavy- swell Bohemianism has very dirty corners to it" (56).
Gunn describes the contradiction of O'Brien's plagiarism, "Apropos of O'Brien it's said that he plagiarized the idea of his "Diamond Lens" story from North. Somebody writes to the Post that Briggs of the Times and Courier heard North read a story to the same effect from M. S. Now one of O'B's characteristics is detecting or affirming plagiarisms in the writings of others. "My dear fellow it's been done!" is commonly on his lips. Tell him a proposed plot of anything and he's sure to have read or done it – or intended doing it. So well was this understood that Cahill and Arnold used to amuse themselves by suggesting wild, improbably plots for plays and farces, for the purpose of eliciting the "My dear fellows, it's been done!" (63).
Gunn writes about O'Brien's plariarism controversy, "Also he spake of the "Diamond Lens" controversy, which turns out disasterously for O'Brien. Both Merrick, Seymour, Picton & Guernsey depose to having seen North's M.S. – the original story. Picton's out in a letter to today's Times about it. Apropos of O'B, his last excentricity consists in walking up Broadway with a gaudily striped umbrella, such as shops use for signs. On a former occasion he and a companion sold strings of fish and Sunday papers – just as folks were coming out of church. They met Guernsey and offered him some. They were sober at the time. O'Brien was drunk during the umbrella display" (76).
Gunn annotates a newspaper clipping regarding O'Brien's alleged plagiarism, "Guerney told me the contrary of this &c. T Bellew told me – also Cahill – as he, I have no doubt believed, that the idea of the story was his originally. And O'B's narration of his proposed plot for the story to myself and others, before it appeared – was exactly similar to North's Microcosmos – as described by Seymour" (77-79).
Gunn provides more detail on the O'Brien plagiarism controversy, "O'Brien had an article from the "Boston Transcript" puffing him tremendously as the author of the Dia- mond Lens, and giving a memoir of him, his literary & dramatic successes (?) &c. Haney read it aloud. It was written by Clapp. There were exaggerations in it amounting to lying. Talking of Picton, Haney says he's generally drunk within precisely fifteen minutes after the bank, wherein he's
employed as cashier, closes! O'B said he didn't know Picton had any feud with him. Last time they met they took sundry drinks together and Picton confided some grievance of his to O'B. It's edifying to see how dearly "literary gents" love one another!" (80).
Gunn attaches a newspaper clipping and engraving of a cartoon depicting Charles Seymour and a letter written by Fitz James O'Brien as "Henry Ward Beeche" (82).
Gunn journals about O'Brien stealing North's story, "She figures in his Novel, the "Slave of the Lamp" as Mrs Normer, and so, if I recollect rightly, does the dog. It's not particularly recognizable, unlike his O'Brien 'Fitz Gammon O'Bouncer.' By the bye, if North could only have known how, four years subsequent, O'B would filch his story – one he especially prided himself on!! O'B might have chuckled as he did it that "the whirligig of Time brings it's revenges." (91).
Gunn describes a game Arnold and Cahill would play with O'Brien, "This is an old dodge of O'Brien's. His wide-eyed, confident "My dear fellow, it's been done before!" or "I had precisely the same idea!" was so well known that Arnold and Cahill used to play upon it by informing him of improbable plots for plays which they (never) intended to write, when it always appeared that O'B's luxuriant imagination had anticipated them! Not that the idea of sketching the eating-houses of New York is a very out of the way one – anybody might have hit upon it. But 'tis a pet trick of O'Brien's" (140).
Gunn says O'Brien is writing a burlesque, "Returned up town, passing O'Brien and a companion of his. He rather swellishly dressed and his whiskers of lighter color than usual. (He is writing a burlesque, in conjunction with Stuart (alias O'Flaherty) and another, to be produced at Wallack's" (147).
Cahill and Clapp went to Wallack's to see a burlesque by O'Brien and Stuart, "Gun playing cribbage with Haney at night, he a little boozy. Cahill with Clapp at Wallacks to see a new burlesque by Stuart, O'Brien and another. It was produced last night, not a success. Haney & Clapp called for the authors but the less interested audience requested them to "Dry up!" So a scene with three stuffed figures, prepared for the occasion, wasn't available!!" (158).
Gunn documents O'Brien's confession to his involvement in another row, "In the evening with Gun to Bellew's present boarding-house, 22nd street. O'Brien has got into another row, as he confessed to Bellew, in consequence of his own insolence. He was drunk and "insulting everybody" at the New York Hotel – a place where he is in extreme ill odor) having "shewn it up" in Harper's some months ago,) when a Nicaraguan captain or colonel, resenting his remarks, licked him infernally, blacking both his eyes, damaging his nose and administering pugilistic punishment generally. Bellew had visited him today" (162).
Gunn provides detail on the row between O'Brien and Farnham, "O'Brien's antagonist was a Captain Farnham. The man was showing tricks at cards, which provoked some insulting comment on O'Brien's part. The ex-filibuster got his antagonist's head "in chancery," and didn't spare it. For a man who crows on his "muscle" our Irish friend is licked rather often. He pockets it, too. I never heard of his licking anybody excepting an old man employed about the Times Office, four or five years ago, who objected to being "ordered about" by O'B" (164-165).
Gunn describes Oscanyan's appearance, "Met Oscanyan near the Post Office. He didn't wear his fez, had shaved off his moustache, had a bristly beard of three days growth and looked generally shabby and dilapidated. Said he was in want of something to do. Decidedly un-oriented circumstances for a Turk to be encountered under, in a drizzling shower of rain, in a Yankee metropolis.
Gunn describes Ottason, "Cahill, the Mejor and Bellew's brother joine us here. Ottarson was very lively and bibilous, trying on the hat or cap of every man in the party, wrestling with "Doesticks" &c."
Gunn documents attending Taylor's lecture, "Monday. Returned to New York, seeing Pounden by the way. Writing letter to Hannah &c. To Bayard Taylor's lecture in 2. Tuesday. Drawing &c} the evening with Haney and Sally Edwards. Crowd filled the lecture room at Clinton Hall – had to adjourn to Cooper Institute. Subject "Moscow" (242).
Thomson was present at Sol Eytinge's wedding (160).
Gunn "Met Thomson and Ottarson" (172).
Gunn recalls that Thomson borrowed money from the Tribune office; "bullied his way" (206).
Gunn writes that Thomson went to fight between Morrissey and Heenan to report for the Tribune (238).
Wallack is mentioned in a newspaper clipping that Gunn has saved (13).
Gunn states that Stuart rented the theatre from Wallack, "He did some extensive swindling villainy in Ireland, came to this country four or five years ago, wrote a series of tremendously slashing articles on Forrest's acting in his various parts, which appeared in the Tribune, got connected with the Times, and finally became the lesee of the theatre, renting it of Wallack" (147- 148).
Gunn recalls Banks idolizing Whitman's book, "First O'Brien came up and adjourned to Whelpley's, over the way. Then Banks came. He sat himself down on the bed, as usual; wanted to know whether I'd come out and call on some agreable [sic] fellows of his acquaintance; said he had lived a very hard life – in the American sense – during the past year, seldom getting to bed before three o'clock; declared that Walt Whitman's book was the greatest production that the world contained, not at all excepting Shakspere [sic], with regard to whom he, Banks, was above being humbugged by the common cant, for if Gifford hadn't brought him to light, nobody would ever have heard of the author of Hamlet! He also spoke of larger literary labor to which he was devoting himself and, in short was the old, unmatchable, original and asinine Banks, sans mitigation. Finally he wanted to know whether I had a copy of my book by me – to which, receiving a polite negative, he took himself off."
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