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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 7, page 192, January 3-4, 1856

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Identifier: DX03987289

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 7, page 192, January 3-4, 1856

Description: Describes William Levison, and compares him to Uriah Heep.


English to Spaniards at an adjacent college. Less operatic discord since the departure of “Shorts” [William Waud], Sol [Eytinge] having to sing sol-o. [William] Levison down occasionally, and generally previous to supper he, [Jesse] Haney and Sol hauling one another about, doing grotesque gambols and making a hideous uproar. Much half earnest, half in jest abuse, and unlimited absurdity.

Levison only has lacked the surrounding circumstance to develop him into a perfect Uriah Heep, to which character he has much resemblance. I must take his pen portrait here. A little over the middle heighth, thinnish, frail looking, with a partially bald head, hair and beard being of the nastiest description of red, with grey-green eyes, loose and shapeless mouth, coarse lips and breath like the odor of a plague pit. He is slinking, servile and a bully by turns; suspicious, grossly and obviously selfish, a vulgar and presumptious talker, accustomed to use the foulest language, and has no sound spot in his mind or body. He has a fistula and half a dozen doctors, and looks the valetudinarian. Withal he has business tact, is excellent in soliciting advertisements, has a sort of dry humor, and would have made an excellent low comic actor, — which he once aimed at. Were he a healthier man he would have been a better. He want’s to be liked, and has not one likeable quality. He can imitate a monkey’s antics with obscene and curious fidelity. He listens at doors. He is cowardly both in body and mind. He has no true idea of the distinction between right and wrong, and but for his pusilanimity would commit crime.

Rights: NoC-US

Place: United States
New York

Dates: 1856-01-03

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Diaries
19th century


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