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Diaries, Vol. 15

Gunn, Thomas Butler. Diaries, Vol. 15. Missouri History Museum, 1861.
personal record

Covers the period from January 1, 1861 February 28, 1861.

People who Created this Work

Gunn, Thomas author

People Mentioned in this Work

Eytinge, Solomon [pages:185-186]

Gunn describes an encounter with Alf Waud at the "Illustrated New York News" Office, in which Eytinge ignores his presence: "To the "Illustrated N.Y. News" office; in the "artists compartment" found Alf Waud and Sol Eytinge. The former's initial salutation was, "Oh! You were not tarred and feathered then?" almost immediately followed by a tirade of abuse against South Carolinians. I answered tersely enough (having only come about business) and not affecting any desire attempt at or desire for conciliation, which had a wholesome effect. Furthermore I expressed my belief that the lynching story had its origin in ill-will and my wish to discover its inventor. Sol kept scowling at his work and twisting his mustache, but didn't speak, while I retorted Waud's verbal brutality with interest, until he moderated his tone and presently, waxing civil, took me to Leggatt the proprietor, who paid me $3 for the photographs" (185-186).

Mackenzie, Robert [pages:150]

Ramsay tells Gunn his letters were addressed to Mackenzie's landlady: "Talking with Ramsay this morning, he told me that he had written letters to Forney's Philadelphia 'Press', for which his hotel expenses were to be defrayed, exhibiting sundry envelopes, addressed to a German woman, the landlady of Shelton Mackenzie, and rather pluming himself on his ingenuity."

Mallen, Edward [pages:187]

Gunn writes of seeing Mullen at Frank Wood's: "Evening at Frank Wood's, 40th street. Colt, Mullen and Shanley there. Whiskey, smoke, some sparring and talk, but altogether a slow evening" (187).

Meagher, Thomas [pages:37]

Gunn says Meagher denied o'Brien being cousin to Smith: "Talking incidentally of O'Brien, young Mitchel volunteered some uncomplimentary information respecting him; how he, O'B. had pretended, on his arrival in this country, to be a first cousin to Smith O'Brien (which I could confirm, for I heard him say it ten years ago) until Meagher denied it, emphatically with contemptuous mention of the pretender."

Nast, Thomas [pages:161-162, 169, 170, 177-178, 183, 190]

Nast's homecoming is described: "Nast arrived on Saturday, xx is a little wider and stouter, otherwise much as before. He was very cordially received at the house, especially by Mr. and Mrs. Edwards. We had all been at Newark on the Saturday, the Crocketts inviting us to spend two nights and Sunday with them. Anne came along, for the sake of propriety. The C's were very hospitable; we enjoyed ourselves x x went to church on Sunday morning x parson gave us hell with the bouquet gone. Nicholas's former wife's sisters and (their) father reviewed the family. x x Doesn't matter, now the artist is home again, however there's a dreadful persistency in Nicholas x x May the best man win!" (A very rough caricature intended for Nicholas and Nast tilting at one another, Sally looking on.) "Nast says the "Illustrated London News" proposes his going South to sketch; so you may see him before many weeks; at present he is sick. The "N.Y. News" hasn't paid him within several hundred dollars. He will draw for it; it has a new proprietor" (161-162).

Nast is said to have attended a birthday celebration for John: "Principally about the "flare," as Sally terms it, in honor of John's birthday, which is more or less described by all but Eliza; who descants ^|on| another party that the girls attended. The guests in honor of Jacks maturity were as follows: Haney, Hayes, Nast, Welles, Knudsen, Russell, Lane, Jack Crockett, Nicholas, Nichols, George Edwards, Tousey, Mr. and Mrs. Williston, Polhemus, Mort and Josey Brown, Susy Edney, Emmeline Price, Jo Crockett, Nettie, Miss Chapman and – I quote Sally's catalogue – "our seven selves." (169).

Jack explains Nast's indisposition: "Nast's indisposition, alluded to in Haney's last letter, is explained by Jack: he received "a hard knock on the head, in a railway collision between London and Liverpool, just before leaving England, and feels the effects of it yet" (170).

Nast acts in a cool manner towards Gunn upon arriving at the Edwards: "At 7, Nast came in. He had a little more moustache, was cool in manner towards me – I thought in reminiscence of a certain evening. He took off to church with Sally, Eliza and Jack, leaving Matty, Mr. and Mrs. Edwards, Haney, Knudsen and myself. I went out twice to get water-ice and ice-cream for Haney. Knudsen left, the church-goers returned, Anne, George Edwards and Tousey junior came in. I talked with Haney, Matty, Anne and Mr. and Mrs. Edwards – very little with Sally who, on her return, sat conversing with young Tousey. Towards the close of the evening, Eliza, Mat, Jack and Nast formed a group in a corner, the two latter doing lingual drolleries. I made some advances towards Tommy, which he received, with evident distrust or dislike, even manifesting an inclination to try his wit at my expense, when I retorted, but with goodwill to the little beggar, whom I wished to conciliate, for Sally's sake and that along alone, otherwise he might have gone hang" (177-178)!

Nast calls Sally out for speaking of the Rochester story: "The last two getting to whist with Mat and Eliza, I talked with Sally. She said that Nicholas had relinquished his suit; that Tommy had complained of her reserve and coolness, on his return, that she had spoken of the Rochester story, of which he had cleared himself. Anon, declaring that we mustn't talk to each other all the evening, she went to Welles" (183).

Gunn describes a conversation with Sally Edwards regarding Nast and Nicholas: "Of course Nast thinks Nicholas a conceited puppy and Nicholas dislikes Nast. Sally is evidently increasing in dissatisfaction with her good looking admirer. He has been comparatively affluent and, she says, is indolent – his good-looks, manner and past fortune combining to spoil him. Evidently Nicholas won't win. Of Nast, Sally confided but little, which was equivalent to confiding a great deal, admitting however that he was jealous and self-willed. She laughingly admitted that my interpretation of his rejection of my advances was correct" (190).

O'Brien, Fitz-James [pages:37]

Mitchel tells Gunn that O'Brien originally pretended to be a cousin to Smith O'Brien: "Talking incidentally of O'Brien, young Mitchel volunteered some uncomplimentary information respecting him; how he, O'B. had pretended, on his arrival in this country, to be a first cousin to Smith O'Brien (which I could confirm, for I heard him say it ten years ago) until Meagher denied it, emphatically with contemptuous mention of the pretender."

Stedman, Edmund [pages:89-91, 92-93, 116, 178-179, 192, 211]

Boweryem informs Gunn of a proposition of Stedman to cover up his infidelity: "Letters from Boweryem and Haney, the former relating a certain proposition of Stedman's to him, 'something of importance to himself: He told me he must move, his wife could not get along with a young lady, daughter of the boarding house keeper and that he should consequently get a place for her (his wife) and the children to board in. For himself, he was in want of a room near Broadway – would I find him one? I named a building where furnished rooms are to be had. Well – that was not exactly what he wanted – or rather not all he wanted of me. He would pay the rent; would I occupy it? I could not see his meaning. Well, the fact was, a landlady finding a room occupied only occasionally might suspect – Oh! said I, what do you want it for. To write or what else? Well he would not want exclusive possession of the place – once or perhaps twice a week all night – giving me due notice. Did I not comprehend? At other times I might have it rent free'. Boweryem did comprehend, and rejected the honorable office of pimp, remonstrating with the proposer in a manner that did the little man honor. 'You complain of straitened means', he said, 'you show me your list of debts, yet here you are entering upon a course of intrigue that will sooner or later wreck you, disgrace you, blast the happiness of your good, loving wife, break her heart and ruin your children'. Stedman 'faltered, laughed deceitfully and rallied me on my strait-laced morality'. Boweryem left him indignant and disgusted, 'almost hysterical' at the baseness of the proposition, and 'solemnly pledges himself to exact retribution' on the adulterer; adding, 'In the dreadful trouble that his impending over that good lady (Mrs. Stedman) I will, please God, constitute myself her nearest friend and my testimony shall crush him in the proper time and place'. The girl in question is a Miss Anna Dunn, 'a type of the smart young American lady, who writes, argues, plays the piano and coquets with more than average ability' (89-91).

Gunn details a letter he wrote to Boweryem, giving him advice on Stedman's proposition: "Downtown secretly, as usual, through the rain, the puddles and the black byestreets, [sic] anon returning, in the sitting room of the hotel amid the loungers commenced a letter to Boweryem, in which I gave him the best advice I could relative to Stedman's proposition. I told him to be prepared for any mischief that Stedman could do him in any case, for the refusal to be his accomplice would incite suspicion and dislike, that nevertheless if he (Boweryem) were willing to brave this and hopeful of helping the injured wife – with a reasonable chance of effecting it – to do so, as individually I believed in helping Providence by hunting down scoundrels. When I last visited Stedman, I remember he proffered me an introduction to this Miss Dunn, commending her as an eligible wife for me! I always distrusted the fellow's masterful ways, and suspected that he bullied his fair, kindly, innocent wife" (92-93).

Gunn describes Stedman's affair: "Stedman has sent his wife to the wintry Phalanx on plea of economy, as his and other of the World's salaries have been reduced. His mistress comes to see him at the office; they rendezvous at the foot of the stairs; the shameful intimacy is joked about by Bangs and young McElrath (not my Lake Superior acquaintance) Stedman being vain of it" (116).

Gunn provides an update on Stedman's affair: "To Frank Leslie's, saw him; to the 'World' Office, saw Stedman, who bragged of his desire to whip South Carolinians and wasn't pleased at my suggesting that did he choose to [word crossed out] seek the chance he'd find plenty who'd oblige him to his heart's content. The adultery business has been temporarily quashed, or at least pushed into privacy, by Weston's letter; for the girl doesn't haunt the staircase of the pious newspaper office. The poor wife and her two children still in Jersey" (178-179).

"Stedman, whom I met this afternoon, told me of a story appearing in a New Haven paper, asserting a visit of mine, as a quasispy, to Fort Sumter, on pretext of sketching. It evidently originated in consequence of the enterprize of Cook the photographer" (192).

Gunn records a review of Stedman's poetry: "Critique of the London Athenaeum on Stedman's Poetry. It made him very savage. (I remember his putting up and directing a pile of the volumes, to London journals.) [newspaper clipping] Poems, Lyrical and Idyllic. By Edmund Clarence Stedman. (Scribner.)–Here is another collection of verse born on the other side of the Atlantic, the writer of which is still, we apprehend, in the Debateable Land. It would be hard to predicate whether he shall issue thence into Eden or into stormy Arabia,–into the warmth and happiness of fame or the arid and painful desert of neglect. Mr. Stedman's Preface assures us that he has taken pains with his poetry,and the pages bear out the Preface" (211).