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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 247

              [Gunn�s handwriting]
Jan.     1882.

 [newspaper clipping]
  Joaquin Miller�s �Thomas of Tigre� is not
only a real person, but he is the most promi-
nent man in Central America.  His name is
James Thomas.  He was born in New York,
studied law, and went to Cincinnati.  There
he fell in love with a �Juliet� and decided to
become a tragedian.  He turned up in New
Orleans, where he started a newspaper.  Hav-
ing joined the Lopez expedition to Cuba, he
was shipwrecked and floated around on a log
for two days.  Returning to New York, he
became a Bohemian, formed the ac-
quaintance of Lippard, North, Fitz James
O�Brien, and other noted writers, scribbled 
rhyme, and finally became the editor of a
widely-known journal, which is still being
published.  Returning to New Orleans, he
killed a rival in a duel.  Other adventures
followed in Texas, Northern Mexico and Cal-
ifornia.  A return to Texas was character-
ized by a duel with a famous desperado
named Jack Turley, known as �The Diamond
Merchant,� from having stolen a large num-
ber of valuable diamonds in Brazil and made
good his escape.  Next came the expedition
of Walker to Nicaragua, which je joined.
Since he has been here he has amassed an im-
mense fortune.  At the end of a lively revo-
lution he was taken before the successful ring-
  �What would you have done with me if I
had fallen into your power?� asked the op-
posing general.
  �Had you shot in three hours,� replied
  �Very well,� was the answer; �that shall
be your doom.�
  There chanced to be in the audience a
wealthy Spanish lady, who did not approve of
the summary execution of handsome young
men, and to her golden influence popular opin-
ion attributed the immediate reprieve and
speedy release of Thomas.  He now deter-
mined to bid a long farewell to perilous con-
spiracies and filibustering expeditions.  In the
center of the city he purchased a block of
ground, built a spacious residence on it and,
to use his own peculiar expression, �took up
his eternal rest.�
  To such impetuous spirits, however, repose
is impossible.  He had no sooner become es-
tablished for life than the mania of European
travel possessed him.  Shipping $40,000 in
gold to San Francisco, he arranged his affairs
for a long absence and speedily followed the
treasure.  In three years he expended every
dollar of it in the leading capitals of Europe.
He formed the acquaintance, while abroad, of
Swinburne, the Rosettis, and other English
writers, and also became on friendly terms
with many French authors of renown.  He
returned to Leon recently and is now living
regally.  I observed a copy of the �Songs of
Sun Lands� in his well-selected library, and
taking it down, recited that much admired
poem, �Thomas of Tigre.�  He seemed highly
pleased with it, but expressed regret that Mil-
ler should have depicted him as a gambler,
when in fact he had never staked a dollar on
a game of chance [rest of article cut off]               
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