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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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[Gunn s handwriting]
A slap at O Brien from the  Sun-
day Mercury    Don t know who
     wrote it.

[newspaper clipping]
	Coincidences of Character.
  Curious coincidences occur every day if we had
only leisure to examine and collate them.  They
get in our path sometimes, and we stumble over
them.  This arrests, of course, our attention; for
with Yankee shrewdness, we pause to ascertain if
they are not sixpence providentially applied to di-
rect us to go to Windust s and avoid wickedness.
And in that pause, we think, we reflect, we  calcu-
late.  One of these coincidences snared us like a
pitfall, the other day.  It caught our intellectual
foot, tripped us up, and brought us so violently in
contact with a pavemented idea, that, if we did not
 see stars,  we perceived a solemn truth so clearly
it was impossible to misunderstand its nature or
mistake proportions.  On picking up, for instance,
one city journal,x  we were fragrantly assured that a
certain young gentleman, who shall be for manifest
reasons nameless was the authr of a very able and
attractive article 

[Gunn s handwriting] 
^|  The Diamond Lens  | 

[newspaper clipping continued]
                             in a new and talented monthly
magazine.  The same journal, though, while laud-
ing the author as a brilliant  magazinist,  pro-
nounced him a  well-known literary Bohemian. 
Turning to a morning paper,  the same day, we
learned that a  Bohemian  was either  an artist
or an author whose special aversion is work;  who
is  perfectly reckless as to money and decidedly
given to debt;  who is  necessarily second-rate in
all he does, but first-rate in his companionable
qualities;  who, in short, is a literary loafer, with
talent enough to earn his own living, but with in-
clinations irresistible to live and enjoy life, to eat,
and drink, to dance and to sing, at the expense of
the verdancy or good-nature of others.  We stood
enlightened in a moment.  The bump we had sud
denly been possessed of, was the bump of know-
ledge.  The two journals had, as if by accident, ex-
plained each other.  We knew the  Bohemian 
like a book a play-book we ll say.  The very
club when he professed like a verb to  Bee, to do
and to suffer,  but where everybody else had to be,
account in hand, and to  suffer  for his indulgen-
ces, Houston streeted across our irradiated memory.
Clubs are no longer  trumps  in that sense.
 Whisht  is the word about their little peculiari-
ties; but, we shall never meet with the word  Bo-
hemian,  we are confident, without thinking of
those two journals and their coincident illustra-
tion.
[handwritten]
x Home Journal
  Daily Times.
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Nine: page forty-four
Description:Newspaper clipping written by an unknown author for the ''Sunday Mercury'' poking fun at Fitz James O'Brien and literary Bohemians.
Subject:Bohemians; Gunn, Thomas Butler; O'Brien, Fitz James; Sunday mercury.
Coverage (City/State):[New York, New York]
Coverage (Street):Houston Street
Scan Date:2011-02-02

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Nine
Description:Includes descriptions of boardinghouse living, a picnic at Hoboken with other New York artists and journalists, his drawing and writing work in New York, attending a lecture by Lola Montez, visits to James Parton and Fanny Fern and the Edwards family, a controversy over Fitz James O'Brien's story ''The Diamond Lens,'' artist Sol Eytinge's relationship with writer Allie Vernon, the suicide of writer Henry William Herbert, antics of the New York Bohemians, the interest of people living in his boarding house in spiritualism, a visit to his friend George Bolton's farm in Canada, a visit to Niagara Falls, and a scandal involving Harbormaster Willis Patten, who lives in his boarding house.
Subject:Boardinghouses; Bohemians; Farms; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Publishers and publishing; Suicide; Travel; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Rochester, New York; Elmira, New York; Paris, Ontario, Canada
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2011 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.