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and on its roof firemen, seated amid a sea of stifling smoke and fire
sparkles, pouring streams of unavailing water into the hell of flame below;
one man with cigar in mouth.       A crowd, though an accessible one in
Broadway, a multitude of fire engines, many standing idle, seeing that
the destruction s element hath mastery.     Gazed awhile, then rambled through
hose pipes, firemen, rushing water and desultory mob, till arriving in
front, close to the building, gazed into it through the open door, flaming
window and towers above.      A great hall of scorching, lurid, fire, drifting
upwards, slant-wise with a rushing mighty noise, terribly, dreadfully
beautiful.   Too beautiful for aught but mute awe and admiration  
not fear-creating, though so irrestible, so terribly-suggestive of man s insig-
nificance.     It is 2 o clock, and the fire hath the mastery, roof and
organ loft have fallen; but the walls and towers are thick and yield not;
so, striding through Houston, the drifting flame on the right, firemen
and engines beside us, and mud, water, and hose pipes below, we retrace
our steps, and back to our quiet boarding house home.    The fire bells toll
that another fire is up, but we go not there, preferring bed.
  30. S
	                                   March.
  2, Sunday, first being yester-day scored down erroneously.   A sitting
for my portrait in the loft, in the morning.  Atchien, the Celestial
with us;   anon a visit from Baudoin, who sate and smoked and
talked an hour.   After dinner, Cross suggesteth a drive on the Ave-
nues, so he and I visit the adjacent Hippona and stables, where
after a converse with the burly man in a small room, white washed, having
a desk partitioned off on a raised dais, a few bridles, and horse-collars, 
and the like; we step into a light vehicle, yclept buggy, big wheels and
a horse to match;   tall black mare.   Cigars lit, off we go, down
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Two: page fifty-six
Description:Continues describing the fire at Saint Thomas Church.
Date:1851-03-01
Subject:Atchien; Baudoin; Chinese; Church buildings; Cross; Firemen; Fires; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Horses; Leisure
Coverage (City/State):[New York, New York]
Scan Date:2011-02-07

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Two
Description:Includes descriptions of Gunn's attempts to find drawing work among New York publishers, brief employment in an architectural office, visits to his soldier friend William Barth on Governors Island, boarding house living, drawing at actor Edwin Forrest's home at Fonthill Castle, and sailing and walking trips taken with friends.
Subject:Boardinghouses; Books and reading; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Military; Publishers and publishing; Religion; Travel; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York
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.