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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Of what s to you with pleasure fraught,
When it recurs, pray give a thought
	To him who made it.


[newspaper clipping: first column]
                 THE LOOKER-ON.
  We always have a good time of it, but this year
I think, our doings culminated.  If there were
anywhere in this city of New York, half a hundred
persons who improved the shining, or rather the
dusky hours, to greater advantage, to the produc-
tion of more innocent mirth and jollity, to the
development of all those good feelings which are
indissolubly connected with this good time, I
should like to know  em.  At present I don t be-
lieve in their existence.
  That my satisfaction may be complete, I will in-
dulge in the pleasure of chronicling our proceed-
ings.  I do it not alone for that reason, but because
I suppose there are hundreds of persons who will
be well pleased to learn how much of entertain-
ment may be derived from a little care and com-
bination, thousands who may sympathize with the
occasion.  If I stimulate folks into emulating us,
all the better.  We are not likely to run into
excess of fun and merry-making in this working-
day world.
  So, here s to begin.  One word though, prelimi-
nary.  It s none of my ordinary custom to sprinkle
printers  ink on the sanctity of my private life, that
being a business which I do emphatically condemn
and detest.  I believe said ink as composed, among
other ingredients of oil and lamp-black.  If it be
so, by the common misuse of it in the manner
alluded to, I should suppose the latter ingredient
to greatly preponderate.  I have even said in-
stances in which vitriol might be supposed to enter
largely into its composition.
  So there ll be no violating of kindly amenities;
that is understood.  And now to my pleasant task.
  We had determined on a play a pantomime.
There had been weeks of preparation, of cutting

[newspaper clipping: second column]
out and making up of dresses, of painting scenery,
of providing and manufacturing properties, not to
mention secret rehearsals, the particulars of which
were an awful mystery to all those engaged there-
in.  One couldn t drop in at the basement of the
pleasant house of an evening without discovering
nimble fingers at work on preternaturally brilliant
jackets, prodigious bouquets of artificial flowers
and the like.  JACK, it was rumored, had surpassed
himself in the carpentering department, while
THOMAS not the individual at present writing 
devoted whole evenings to the passage his atelier
 and scenery.  To NED had been confided the
double task of authorship and personification of
the heroine, while JESSE we ll call him J.C., for
convenience undertook the part of hero and the
general directorship.  He is always grand master
of our Christmas revels is J. C., being especially
qualified for the post by nature, inclination and
practice.  So, the preparations completed, the
great day arrived.  It was of course, Monday the 
26th the evening of it.
  Suppose a spacious back-parlor, fitted as afore-
said, with upwards of half a hundred merry Christ-
mas folks, intent on pleasing and being pleased, on
doing their very best to get the greatest amount of
enjoyment out of the occasion, the tables (loaded
with gifts pertinent to the season) put away into
corners, chairs arranged in rows, benches and
stools in front for the smaller folk, and all eyes
turned towards the stage.  This consists of the
space immediately beyond the large folding-doors,
which, pushed back, have been temporarily re-
placed by a curtain practicable as stage-carpen-
ters call it, meaning that it can be used at pleasure.
Suppose footlights semi-circling the doorway.
Suppose a short rhymed prologue delivered by
MASTER NEDDLES, in spangled turban and brilliant
Turkish costume, a young lady at the piano, pre-
sently to be replaced by a professional gentleman
who performed orchestra in that inexhaustible
manner peculiar to his class, during the entire
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Eleven: page two hundred and twelve
Description:Newspaper clipping written by Gunn for ''The Sunday Courier,'' describing the Edwards family's 1859 Christmas party.
Subject:Christmas; Edwards, John; Edwards, Sally (Nast); Gunn, Thomas Butler; Haney, Jesse; Journalism; Nast, Thomas; Sunday courier.; Theater; Welles, Edward
Coverage (City/State):New York, [New York]
Scan Date:2011-01-31


Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Eleven
Description:Includes descriptions of boarding house living at 132 Bleecker Street, his freelance writing and drawing work, the antics of New York literary Bohemians, Fanny Fern and James Parton's marriage, visits to the Edwards family, a Fourth of July excursion with the Edwards family and other friends, letters from Frank Cahill and Bob Gun's mistresses, Jesse Haney's proposal of marriage to Sally Edwards and rejection, Charles Damoreau's return from Boston to live in New York, and attending the Edwards family's 1859 Christmas party.
Subject:Boardinghouses; Bohemians; Christmas; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Marriage; Publishers and publishing; 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.