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, 1862 to February 12, 1863.
A quarrel takes place between Sol Eytinge and Aldrich over Aldrich's mistress, Josey Eytinge, who is Sol's sister-in-law: "Shepherd tells me that Josey, the worthy sister of Mrs Sol. Eytinge is now the mistress of Aldrich the poet (and clerk to Carleton, publisher.) Sol quarreled with him because he wouldn't emulate his example and marry her!"
Gunn journals meeting Clapp: "Then to Leslie's. Met House and Clapp by the way. A lovely Septemberish day" (57).
Gunn describes Eytinge's appearance at Mrs. Potter's house: "Sol Eytinge came down to visit the two brothers on one occasion, when they played cards and drank whiskey all Sunday night. Sol, also, looked "bloated and broken down" – the contrary of his appearance when I saw him last" (9-10).
Gunn learns that Eytinge argued with Aldrich over not marrying his wife's sister: "Shepherd tells me that Josey, the worthy sister of Mrs Sol. Eytinge is now the mistress of Aldrich the poet (and clerk to Carleton, publisher.) Sol quarreled with him because he wouldn't emulate his example and marry her" (70)!
Gunn and a group of men converse at Gen. Hamilton's: "St. Charles Street to Gen. Hamilton's. Shaw, Leland and others there. In the rear room; drinks. Arrived of Major Harry – or Harai, as he affectedly spelt it – Robinson from Baton Rouge. Howell had lent him his revolver – a neat 'Colt' – which the Major had lost from his belt while riding. Stories and talk."
Gunn details Mullen's character: "Mullen. A coarse-looking fellow with appropriate manners. An ex-filibuster under Walker; a blackguard with some artistic abilities. Irish" (19).
Mullen is referred to when Gunn describes a couple from the boarding house: "One of the most odious couples I have ever known, even in boarding-house life. The fellow's aspect is of the 'fancy-man' order, he dresses showily and is prone to talk in a strident, bullying tone of his 'being a gentleman'. It is understood that his wife has money, but that she won't trust it out of her own hands or set him up in business. He is called 'Doctor' and addresses others without any prefix to their names, loudly; as 'Mullen', 'Cahill'; has conversation generally consisting of abuse of abolitionists, 'Greeley', the Tribune, Beecher and the like, uttered in the most offensive manner"(19-20).
Gunn journals about Mullen: "Up town; damp; left M. S. for Gilmore. Dozing. Cahill and Shepherd odiously drunk at the dinner table, and the coarse ruffian, Mullen talking at me, for which I overhauled him, subsequent to their departure, and found that the brute had taken offence at my not returning a nod of his, two weeks since! I was ignorant of the omission and supposed he had chosen to champion the other blackguards; who came home during the small hours, this day, and in their bestial inebriety converted the staircase into a privy" (31).
Gunn documents that Mullen was in his room: "Stayed with Haney till near 11; had ale at Ayliffe's and Haney came home with me, having occasion to see Mullen about a drawing (which wasn't begun). Mullen in my room with us afterwards yarning about his filibuster experience with Walker in Nicaragua, and the execution of two deserter's there" (69).
Mullen is documented as being present at the party in the basement: "Got back to Bleecker Street by 11, finding a select party, Mrs. Boley, Jewitt, Cahill, Shepherd, Mullen and Richardson in the basement, drinking whiskey and finishing the dinner's turkeys" (74).
Gunn says Shepherd lied about drinking with Mullen: "Shepherd has been drinking with Mullen for the last three days, and now lies in the room of the latter in a state of utter nervous prostration, while Watson, without fire and light (for the stove hasn't been put up and Cahill neglects to buy kerosene, or has squandered his last week's salary) wanders about of evenings, like a small, imprisoned Banshee" (75).
Gunn claims Mullen and Cahill dislike each other: "Boweryem has Shepherd as room-mate. Cahill and Mullen hate each other – cause Miss Delany: Bowery- em proposes to 'divery their frenzy' by himself paying attention to the lady, 'to which end a neat copy of verses will, he thinks, be desirable'" (193).
Gunn describes a letter from Boweryem: "Finally, about 2 o'clock, after fidgeting round the room to our intense annoyance and disgust, he left to try the effect of his blandishments on Cahill and Mullen. Cahill would none of him. Then trying Mullen he fared no better, but exasperated that gentleman to a pitch of excitement furiously grotesque. Rising from bed Mullen came to our room for a light, calling down the malediction of Heaven on his own respectable liver and lights. Then he set out, in his shirt-tail, to hunt Edge through the house. He had gone to bed drunk, so you may imagine his amiable mood. Descending through the various floors with a torch of twisted newspaper, he breathed fire and slaughter: I doubted whether Edge had enough blood in his emaciated anatomy to satisfy the avenger on his track. Coming back, Mullen exhaled blasphemy and wrath; he swore in such a manner as to assure me that the army of Walker in Nicaragua must have been as proficient in that military accomplishment as eke that of Flanders. Fascinated, as a bird by a snake, Edge discovered himself, and Mullen addressed him as follows: 'Now lookee here, Mister Edge! This is played out, you know! And I'm damned if I'll have it! By –– ! that's so! You, a comin moonin' round this 'ere house in the night! Creeping round in the dark by ––! It's a damned outrage! and it's quite improper! Curse me if I knew whether you were a ghost or an animal! I wouldn't object to you if you was a ghost, and I've a damned good mind to make one of you! You've been into my room, you have; and I didn't know whether you were there still or not! First I hear you in the room, and I sing out 'Who's that?' and you says 'It's me!' Damn you! who's me? What right have you got here anyhow? It's the bloodiest proceeding I ever witnessed and it's mean. You know you've no right to do it, and why the hell do you do it, then? By the Lord it's villanous, besides it's ungentlemanly! Yes! it's ungentlemanly! And there's no need of it! If you haven't got money to pay for a lodging, why don't you come and tell me so like a man and I'll give you half-a-dollar or a dollar –– 'Yes!' said Edge, in a mendicant's whisper 'do! please lend me a dollar'. 'I'll see you damned first! I'll lend you twenty five cents – that's all I'll let you have. And I'll rip you open if you're not out of the house in two minutes and a half'. All this took place in our room by the light of a tallow-candle, stuck in an ink-bottle. The object Edge and the irate Mullen contrasted finely. Edge had on his spectacles and kid-gloves; Mullen was in his shirt. Edge got 5 cents first, and declared he would keep it, when asked to hand it back in exchange for 25, for which Mullen intended it. Finally with 30 cents, Edge cleared out and has no more been seen since" (194-96).
Haney updates Gunn on the Nast's: "He says the Nast household is satisfactory. Sally suiting her husband admirably. He thinks her very handsome and clever and she, though not capable of overmuch affection, has chose well and does her duty. Haney goes to see them but not too often, Nast's range of conversation being but limited, eked out with buffoonery, intolerable to Haney from past associations. Sally behaves well in wanting the old German mother to live with them, but she has a house of her own in the neighborhood. Tommy, by the way, draws big pictures for the Harper's, very effective, but in coarse taste" (35).
Gunn visits the Edwards; Thomas and Sally Nast were there and invite him to visit: "The baby was asleep in an adjoining room. Nast seems much as usual; he was comparatively friendly, and did practical jocularies towards Jack and his wife, Sally appears to advantage as a young mother: the baby, when arrayed for departure, was gorgeously apparrelled. Both husband and wife invited me to visit them "before I went off," Nast seconding his wife's invitation" (69).
Gunn describes Steman's appearance: "Apropos of another humbug whom I once had some faith in, Boweryem and Stedman t'other day, came on from Washington, on a visit. He was got up tremendously, with his hair and whiskers curled" (7).
Gunn details Steman's marriage, his wife, and his wife's affair: "Stedman appeared, transitorilly, and his wife was living there. They 'didn't agree' as everybody knew. The popular impression was that he had contracted a foolish, hasty marriage; 'been caught by her pretty face' as Mrs L. expressed it, and then discovered no intellect, or congeniality of soul. So the little beast (of course I mean Stedman) noises it abroad. He is 'very conceited' and gives himself great airs as an 'editor of the World' - being but Washington correspondent. And, I'm a bit sorry to suppose that the evil example of the noisome little egotist has been followed by the bullied and neglected wife. Her reputation has suffered; she is said to be unchaste. A Mr Wallis or Wallace [Query Ellis, Stedman's partner in certain stockjobbings and], a young lawyer, appears over-intimate with her, 'and last year' quoth Mrs L. 'it was George Arnold. She had a very quiet way with her', but Mrs L. evidently thought her 'sly'. 'The strangest thing was that Mr Stedman knew, and was very friendly with Mr Wallis, &c &c.' I believe the little beast would connive at any infamy if it subserved his own damnable selfishness. If appearances mean anything, his wife was as good as she was loveable when I first knew the couple. She believed in the little sweep, obeyed him, was bullied and browbeaten by him. If his usage of her, his sentimental whorings and others, have produced this result, on his head and heart be two thirds of the sin and damnation. I shall grow to believe in innate depravity, soon" (10-11).
Gunn documents a conversation about Stedman" "Talking incidentally of Stedman, when the others had retired; 'Isn't he something in the Free Love way?' asked Quigg, 'When I was at his house in Washington, he asked me, in the presence of his wife to take off (or change) my trousers. I didn't do it. And she crossing her foot on her knee to lace her boot, showed the whole of her leg as if she didn't care a bit about my seeing it'. I told Quigg I had met his lady-correspondent, Mrs Winslow. He said she was an out-and-out Secessionist, and a fool, or something like it and that he believed she was now living at the Planter's Hotel with her husband" (48).
Gunn writes about Shepherd's opinion regarding Fred Watson's play: "Shepherd opines that the five-act comedy upon which Watson has been engaged for the past three months has been rejected by old Wallack, as a large roll of M. S. was brought to the author by a man servant, this morning. But on Watson borrowing his (Shepherd's) shoes and Edge's overcoat in which to visit the manager, my informant augurs more hopefully! It appears subsequently that the play is to be altered, that Lester Wallack's part may have a due prominence over that of Mrs Hoey."
An electronic version of this text is available in a CONTENTdm viewer. Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.
Born and raised in England, Thomas Butler Gunn first worked as an illustrator for the famous British satirical journa
Born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Thomas Bailey Aldrich moved with his father to New Orleans, Louisiana at the age of three.
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