Born and raised in England, Thomas Butler Gunn first worked as an illustrator for the famous British satirical journa
Covers the period from February 1855 to April 12 1856.
Gunn briefly describes Sol Eytinge: "With the Wauds & Sol Eytinge to Hoboken subsequently. A clear summer's night with innumerable stars above, Will Waud doing the snob-mephistopheles at them and creation generally, his brother and I rebuking him. Sol Eytinge, a quaint, dissipated, good looking fellow (of whom I'll put down more hereafter,) said but little, only at the close "Things don't go right some how" (134)!
Gunn describes a caricature Sol Eytinge created of his brother Clarence Eytinge: "Sol had just completed a caricature of his brother Clarence, which made his appearance in a pair of the tightest, most skin-fitting pants conceivable. In the evening had sat down to writing when Damoreau, Alf & Clarence Eytinge came up, An hour after, Eytinge having left, came Banks" (140).
Gunn describes a drunken Waud and Eytinge chaffing Levison: "By 8 the Wauds and Sol came up, but went on their way to Haneys, I following when I had finished No 2 of my "Pen scratches," with intent to subsequently visit Parton. But the fellows were engaged with Scheidam Schapps, and smoke, and Levison coming up was chaffed in such a ridiculous manner by Sol and Alf, (both playing drunk in doing it,) as the Echtor of the sanguinary Picayune, that 'twas over late when we left" (143).
Gunn stops at the Waud & Eytinge Office to Eytinge loafing in an adjacent office: "Monday. Writing to Hannah. Down town, calling at Avery's, from whom I had received a note, to Fulton Market, Post Office and the Waud & Eytinge Office. The triumvirate were loafing in Brown the Lithographer's adjacent room, he swing- ing in hammock, Alf turning over lithographs, Will "reducing" a picture by squares, and Sol with unkempt hair and desultory appearance. The smaller Waud too has demided himself of his hyperionic whiskers, retaining only moustache and tuft, and now looks like a dapper Frenchman" (150).
Gunn and Haney dine at the boarding house, where Eytinge blasphemes Levison: "He [Haney] was very kind. I went up town with him, supped at the boarding house, sat awhile in the Basement (where Sol was blaspheming Levison, – his every second sentence being a request "togo to H––l;")" (175).
Gunn describes a day with Eytinge: "Hobokenizing with Sol till 1, it being a fresh, sunny, lovely day. Up among the old Weechauwken rocks, in search of health. Painful indigestion and head ache. Return to Bleecker Street boarding house, 132 . W. W. came for Sol, to see Clarence's embarkation for Marseilles. I remained painfully endeavouring to draw big cut for "Young Sam," rubbing out, time after time" (185).
Gunn describes a stroll with Will Waud, Eytinge stayed at Banner's barroom: "An Hoboken stroll with Sol Eytinge and W. Waud, or rather with the latter, (for Sol dropping into Banner's bar-room, remained there till our return.) The day was as cold as though the icy wind blew from the very heart of the frozen north, and the Hudson all ruffled with foamy waves. They dashed and brawled among the piers and shipping with a blusterous, confused roar, suggestive of terrible seas and ships going down in the Atlantic" (188).
Gunn describes Sol Eytinge's appearance and character: "In doors, in our basement the rest of the day, mostly writing. Sol attempting an oil sketch of himself, and failing, in consequence of a lazy dislike to get up and procure other colors than those to his hand, W Waud reading, Haney trying writing, and Wood present, as he has been considerally of late. Sol is a handsome fellow, with a bold aquiline nose, and bright brown hair, tall withal, and prone to dress well. He has great talent with his pencil, but is over addicted to loafing, and has fits of the blues. I think him a sensitive and kind hearted fellow, and his humors and queer speeches are infinitely amusing. His ordinary speech is overmuch garnished with oaths, 'bloody's' and 'blasts', and even uglier expressions, in which he is emulated by W Waud, who has assumed a sort of ruffianism of dialect, insomuch that his very tone of voice is unpleasantly defiant. But Sol is infinitely the better fellow" (189-190).
Gunn describes an evening at the boarding house: "Returned to Bleecker, and had an unsatisfactory day. Levison had carried "Shorts" (as Sol as nicknamed the minor Waud) off with him to make New Year's calls, Haney had gone (after 12) to the Edwards' and only Sol and I remained. Dinner was delayed till 6, Mrs Potter (our boarding house mistress) and others sit- ting in state receiving visitors" (191).
Gunn says Eytinge will have to sing solo since "Shorts" left: "Sol drawing some little, loafing infinitely more. Wood in frequently. He is a whiskered, clean shaven, educated Englishman, who teaches English to Spaniards at an adjacent college. Less operatic discord since the departure of "Shorts", Sol having to sing solo. Levison down occasionally, and generally previous to supper he, Haney and Sol hauling one another about, doing grotesque gambols and making a hideous uproar. Much half earnest, half in jest abuse, and unlimited absurdity" (191-192).
Eytinge tells Gunn about Jim Parton's marriage to Fanny Fern: "In doors all day writing. Sol returning from down town tells that Parton is married to "Fanny Fern." It occurred on Saturday afternoon or evening" (193).
Gunn and Eytinge go out for oysters after Gunn returns from a visit to Parton and Fanny Fern: "Returning to basement found Sol as wont "knocked" and melancholic – partly on account of a sick brother, partly his own look-out in life. Out with him for oysters. I've my theory how Parton's marriage came about" (195).
Gunn describes an putting with Haney and Eytinge: "Haney and Sol coming, Banks left. Out with them after drinks, to a newly started Cafe chansant, where was a dreary ball fizzling out – and meeting Gaylor in Broadway returned with him to the Ornithorincus. In the upper room were Yewell, Arnold and O'Brien. Sol had received $30 or so to day, so he must needs stand drinks and a snack. Talk of Walt Whitman's poem, politics, and miscellanous matters" (208).
Gunn mentions that Eytinge is not feeling well: "Generally writing at nights till latish. Sol with a sort throat below, which combined with a bust at the Ornitherycus, temporarily has floored him" (216).
Gunn describes Eytinge's demeanor when he visits a sick Haney: "Haney has been sick, looking as yellow as mary-gold leaves, and lay up for an evening or so, in his chamber, whither I went to see him, generally finding Sol & W Waud there. They consort much together, as heretofore. W is pretty coolishly-civil to me, but Sol's demeanour is changed since the return. He has tried the half jesting half- spiteful slang-whonging continually at me, and I detect three or four phrases at W W's coming– as written to Alf about me. Wherefore I think Sol's something of a mouth-piece for unmerited venom. Now I'm healthier in body and mind, and not ill prepared for conversational tilting. Sol lives in too palpable a glass house not to afford awful scope for well directed pebbles. Accordingly when he comments on my "loathsome appearance," mimics my speech, predicts miserable failure of my book &c. I touch on his Israelitish descent, general industry, and cheerfulness under Brown's displeasure (!) Waud says little" (219-220).
Gunn recounts that O'Brien was a part of the Ornithorincus Club: "To the Ornithorincus. Banks, Wurzbach, the Arnolds, Yewel and others there. Singing and bacchanilization. (Bellew off to Boston, after the Jerrold escapade.) Haney and Sol Eytinge came for awhile. DeWaldron and others. O'Brien too, who sang parts of a parody on the Fra Diavolo our "See on yonder rock reclining" – touching the Ornithorincus" (200).
Gunn mentions seeing O'Brien in an upper room of a cafe and expresses his distaste for him: "Haney and Sol coming, Banks left. Out with them after drinks, to a newly started Cafe chansant, where was a dreary ball fizzling out – and meeting Gaylor in Broadway returned with him to the Ornithorincus. In the upper room were Yewell, Arnold and O'Brien. Sol had received $30 or so to day, so he must needs stand drinks and a snack. Talk of Walt Whitman's poem, politics, and miscellanous matters. O'Brien declaring that Milton was not a poet. I don't like an inch of him. Theres an insufferable assumption of superiority over everybody about him which is either exasperating or ridiculous – as you are affected by it. Me it exasperates. His insolent wide open eyes, swell moustache and whiskers and Irish pretense are un-getover-able" (208).
Gunn attaches a newspaper clipping about the Ornithorhyncus Club and O'Brien's song (209).
According to Gunn, Sol Eytinge illustrated "Thomson's articles in Frank Leslie's paper" and both lived in Brooklyn.
Gunn mentions that Fitz-James O'Brien discussed Whitman's poetry (among other topics) with a group of friends: "Talk of Walt Whitman's poem, politics, and miscellanous matters."
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