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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 2, page 157, August 18-21, 1851

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Identifier: DX01038557

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 2, page 157, August 18-21, 1851

Description: Describes a boat tour around the New York islands taken with William Roberts.


the afternoon, writing at night. Adam of Mentz. Wrote a letter to Washington Irving, asking for his autograph.

19. Tuesday. To the Post Office, (meeting George Brown by the way, who with white teeth & trousers, and sanguine hair, stood ventilating himself at the door of a dry goods store.) Return, an hours idling in the Nassau Street bookstores. Bought [Thomas] Carlyle’s translation of the Wilhelm Meister; [Thomas Babington] Macaulays Lays of Ancient Rome, & a volume of [Thomas] Hood. Writing. At 5 or so called on [William] Roberts, and with him to Brooklyn where getting ready the boat we started for a cruise; a dull sky overhead, the water of a grey-brown tint; adjacent shores cold-looking; and a brisk breeze blowing, sending the water flying from the sharp forepast of the little vessel. Coasting Governors Isle, then far out to the right, then across to Staten Island shore, then to Gowanus; by the time the red flaming disc of the sun appeared, low on the horizon, tinting a path of wave tops with glory, above him rosy bosomed clouds, and far over all a heavy mass of indigo. (Fancy in such scene as this, the vast shoulders and head of some submarine Titon upheaving from the deep, to take a glance at the sinking day-god; with thick, unkempt hair and beard, seaweed, sea flower and coral-decked, and placid vast kindly features & human expression. Could such thing be, much like Bulwer [Edward Bulwer Lytton]’s last Faun must our Tritonic-titon feel, as we “human mortals” now with our stupid wisdom commonplacestedfastly persist in blinding the eye minds eye with our Mammon god. I would we could believe such things.) Landing at Gowanus, took as Robert’s phrased it “a nip”, then to the “pavilion” of an intimate of his, who not proving at home, we after an half hour or so, devoted to very indifferent oysters, set sail again. By this time it was quite dark, no moon visible, though an infinitude of stars. A brisk breeze sent us flying through the tranquil water, through Buttermilk Channel, and coasting the Long Island shore, an hour and half saw us back to Gray’s bath. Weary work with sails & accesaries; then good bye and back to New York and bed. ([William] Barth had called during my absence)

20. and 21. Wednesday and Thursday. Sticking in doors both days, scribbling

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1851-08-18

Type(s): Diary

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

Subjects: Sailing
Boats and boating
Books and reading
Governors Island (New York County, N.Y.)


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