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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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110
greeting, I thought.     I ve never sketched Powell tho-
roughly, so here goes.    He is unquestionably the original
of Micawber, though Dicken s humanity and mirthfulness
has refined him immensely.   Powell is a fat, burly, man, 
with an egg-shaped head, bald in the forepart, massive and
sensual about the double chin and jowl.     The ordinary ex-
pression of his countenance indicates oily jocularity, but
there s covert cunning beneath it, and he can become truncu-
lent on occasion.      He walks with his head thrust forwards and
slightly bowed.   He is very familiar in conversation, and
his speech has a sort of oratund unctuousness of accent which,
in conjunction with his implied knowledge of every-
body, might easily gull people into the belief that he was ra-
ther a witty man of the world than otherwise.     He is a great
mischief-maker and back-biter, and inherently a dodger.
The feints and shifts he resorted to, to stave off creditors
in the Lantern days were innumerable.    He d put one off
for an hour, two hours   half an hour; would get you to wait 
while he entered a shop  to collect a bill  and make his
exit by the back way; would ask you to drink, to take a
note to somebody who wouldn t pay you &c     Unquestionably
he and family lived out of that Lantern.     Mrs Powell
is a niece of Wordsworth   which is the important event of
the house of Powell.     She is Mrs Micawber to the life   
no mistake about it.        The domestic enonomy is Micawberish.
Brougham saw one of the children sleeping on a tea-tray,
or in a clothes-basket or something of the sort.     Powell has
a passion for writing letters too, even to people in the same
room.    Often he d leave without getting answers.     He was
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Nine: page one hundred and twenty-seven
Description:Describes Thomas Powell.
Date:1858-04-22
Subject:Books and reading; Brougham, John; Children; Dickens, Charles; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Lantern.; Powell, Thomas; Powell, Thomas, Mrs.; Wordsworth, William
Coverage (City/State):[New York, New York]
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.