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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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generous   dishonestly so, of course, as it s not based on
integrity. And he ranks this virtue above all others   naturally
so, because it helps to justify himself to himself.   He can talk
well, pun with Irish readiness, and if there were not such an
air of heavy swell ostentatiousness about him, would be capital
company.  He has been a fast man and lived with fast men,
and fast women   indeed, been as profiligate in morals as may
ordinarily be.   He affects to hold that people are not accountable
for their actions   an opinion equally abhorrent and foolish to me.
Of course he only half believes it.        He has no veracity   I never
knew an Irishman who had, except, perhaps, Dillon Mapother.
Not that O Brien has deliberately, in cold blood; but he flams
from conceit and a desire to be thought amazingly well informed
about every thing.   He used to tell Levison that he (O Brien) was
the Editor of the  Lantern  &c.    I fancy if he hears anything,
he will be sure to retail it as something he has seen, knows &c.
He s a borrower from his intimates, and they re never sure of
getting paid.    When he gets a lump of money   as for instance
for a story in the newly-published Atlantic Monthly   his self
esteem rises prodigiously; he comes out in some new article of
dress, pays up a loan or two, invites people to dinner and
flashes round prodigiously.   He also speaks of being  closely
engaged on the Atlantic  &c   which means, simply, that he s
writing articles which they may accept.     He can write lively, read-
able sketches, in pleasant colloquial English, sometimes disfigured
by that abominable, easy, high-flown Irish eloquence which is
half theatric and wholly bosh.           His stories are all conventional
and generally melodramic   devil a bit of subtle truth or life-
painting in them.        He only respects success, in literature,
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Nine: page forty-five
Description:Describes Fits James O'Brien's habits and personality.
Subject:Atlantic monthly.; Bohemians; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Irish; Levison, William; Mapother, Dillon; O'Brien, Fitz James
Coverage (City/State):[New York, New York]
Scan Date:2011-02-02


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.