Victorian Fiction Research Guides

Letters of George Augustus Sala to Edmund Yates

INTRODUCTION

The bulk of my work is dictated to an amanuensis who follows my speed, either in long-hand or with a typewriter. I keep on my knees a volume of the Illustrated News of many years ago, or the Vie Parisienne of the early days of the Second Empire, or a volume of Punch published between the ‘forties and the ‘fifties, or the French Illustration of the same epoch; or failing these, a portfolio or scrapbook full of old engravings and drawings. And while, with seeming listlessness, I am turning over these pictures of the past, or, as it sometimes happens, dipping into albums full of cartes-de-visite of statesmen, artists, warriors, men of letters, journalists, actors, actresses and ballet girls, the majority of whom have long since died, the memories come back to me thick and fast; and unconsciously I am finding the keys to the long-locked-up pigeon-holes; and the things which I have seen and the people whom I have known come back to me, plastic, palpable and vascular. (Things xiii)

This collection presents hitherto unpublished letters written by the English journalist, archetypal columnist and foreign correspondent, George Augustus Sala (1828-1895) to his long-time friend, and fellow journalist, Edmund Yates (1831-1894). They provide insights Into the life and times of one of the most colourful characters of the early popular press, noted for his love of puns and wordplay (often in French, Greek, Latin or Italian) and have been extensively annotated in order to make his obscurities, and his obscenities, accessible to late twenticth-century readers. Each letter acts in much the same way as the mnemonic devices I he sixty-seven year-old Sala described himself using to review his life in Things I Have Seen and People I Have Known (1894); be it unlocking the doors of the past, or just peering through their keyholes, each provides a view of the nineteenth century that is uniquely Sala’s. As a collection they are a fitting tribute to the egocentricity of a man who, while dominating the daily journalism of his time, “in a sense never wrote about anything else [but himself] . . . every page of his voluminous writings is autobiographical” (Times 9 Dec 1895).

My introduction beards Sala, one of the original “young lions” of the Daily Telegraph, in his den, the fecund lair of Victorian London’s popular press, as he adds his voice to the increasing roars of the medium that was to prove such a significant force in the inexorable process of democratization changing the face of English society during the second half of the nineteenth century. And it draws out two themes from the voluminous bundle of Victoriana accumulated in the letters and annotations; the interactive network of relationships that fostered the early days of popular periodicals and newspapers, and the social tensions that arose as the emerging capitalist society came to define its success through middle-class mores, mirrored in Sala’s rather futile attemps to abandon Bohemia for respectability. Readers can trace out many other areas of interest for themselves, such as publishers and publishing, theatre and theatrical criticism, magazine editorships and management, the production and dissemination of news, development of communications technology, war reporting, the volatile finances of early entrepreneurs, and the growth of the “new journalism” as the public developed a taste for sensation, including gossip and the social expose. On the lighter side the letters can be enjoyed for the sheer fun they engender, often at his contemporaries’ expense, but almost as frequently at Sala’s own.

Today’s popular press has its roots in the second half of the nineteenth century, when unprecedented rises in the rates of literacy created many thousands of potential readers, whose tastes demanded cheap newspapers that could entertain as well as inform. Between 1857 and 1870, by directly targeting this untapped market, the penny Daily Telegraph outstripped the well-established Times to become London’s best-selling paper, even claiming to have “the largest circulation in the world.” Its success can probably be attributed to three things; low price, innovative advertising techniques and the pen of George Augustus Sala. As one of his peers, Thomas Sweet Escott, said in “A Journalist of the Day,” an article published in the first issue of Edmund Yates’s Time in 1879: “Never was there a journalist who had so thoroughly mastered the tastes and requirements of the colossal circle of readers to which he appeals. Seldom has there been one of whom it may be said that he has created the appetite which his writings satisfy” (1: 120). For nearly three decades Sala was an indefatigable contributor to the Telegraph, where his vivid descriptions of current events spiced with literary allusions and history provided a window on the world for its many readers, influencing their awareness of themselves in relation to their urban environment, and to their country in its relations with the rest of Europe and the far-flung lands to which its government laid claim. Sala was in the vanguard of a press that was to be influential in consolidating the expanding lower-middle class into a cohesive section of society, by informing and educating it in a palatable manner, and by giving its individual members a social identity based on knowledge of themselves, and their daily lives, as things worth writing and reading about.

Although almost forgotten today, Sala was probably the best-known journalist of his time, famous for his flamboyant prose and his equally flamboyant personality, both of which captured the imagination of his readers. They enjoyed reading what he wrote, and what others wrote about him; his Bohemian lifestyle perhaps reminding some of them of their own raffish beginnings before respectability set in. Sala’s influence on journalism, for better or worse, became an established fact as his dramatic, often purposely exaggerated word-pictures brought colour and a sense of visual excitement to drab news presentation: the Telegraph’s success showed that his was a style worth emulating. To Matthew Arnold “Telegraphese” became synonymous with the crass middle-class tastes he perceived as threatening to engulf the “sweetness and light” of his rarefied concept of English culture. He summed up the style of Sala and his colleagues in the preface to his Essays in Criticism (1865), as “the magnificent roaring of the young lions of the Daily Telegraph” heralding the era of the Philistines (Super 127), and later Sala again felt the full force of Arnold’s satire in the concluding episodes of his Friendship’s Garland series in the Pall Mall Gazette (1870). “Leo,” one of the young lions, speaks:

I cannot, without a thrill of excitement, think of inoculating the respectable but somewhat ponderous Times and its readers with the divine madness of our new style, – the style we have formed upon Sala. The world, mon cher, knows that man but imperfectly. I do not class him with the great masters of human thought and human literature .. . Sala, like us his disciples, has studied in the book of the world even more than in the world of books. But his career and genius have given him somehow the secret of a literary mixture novel and fascinating in the last degree: he blends the airy epicureanism of the salons of Augustus with the full-bodied gaiety of our English Cider-cellar. With our people and our country’, mon cher, this mixture, you may rely upon it, is now the very thing to go down; there arises every day a larger public for it; and we, Sala’s disciples, may be trusted not willingly to let it die. (29 Nov 1870: 3)

Sala’s audience was by no means limited to the Telegraph; during his career he wrote for dozens of periodicals, and his “Echoes of the Week” column in the Illustrated London News made his signature initials GAS famous throughout England and her colonies for more than twenty-five years. Between 1850 and 1895 he also produced a continuous stream of books, including five novels, numerous travelogues, over thirteen collections of his magazine mid newspaper articles, two sets of memoirs, even a cookbook containing 500 recipes. He also collaborated on a number of pantomimes, a burlesque, Wat Tyler, M.P. (1869), and various pieces of pornography including “A New and Gorgeous Pantomime entitled Harlequin Prince Cherrytop and the Good Fairy Fairfuck or the Frig the Fuck and the Fairy / Theatre Royal Olymprick / Private Reprint.” As a commentator on international affairs his travels took him many times to continental Europe, including Russia, three times to America, to Africa, India, and in 1885 even as far afield as New Zealand and Australia, where as an Englishman he was struck by aggressive Australian egalitarianism, noting the lack of domestic servants because there was “no servile class.” He was an eyewitness to the social upheaval caused by most of the significant events of his time; in Russia just after the Crimean War; in America during the Civil War; in Italy following in the wake of Garibaldi’s campaigns; in Paris after it fell to the Prussians in 1870, amid the subsequent anarchy of the Commune; in Spain, both during the Civil War, and, after the defeat of the Carlists, at the investiture of the young king Alphonso. He attended numerous coronations, grand weddings and grander funerals, both at home and abroad, and, on a lower plane, added his voice to political, legal and social debate. His other interests were wide ranging to say the least; he was at various times editor, art critic, drama critic, social critic, bon vivant and club habitue, speechmaker, toastmaster, president of this and that committee, rare book and art collector, casino gambler and habitual loser, serious drinker, pornographer and probable frequenter of flagellant brothels.

GAS’s letters plunge us into the middle of this plethora of text and activity by providing an opportunity to share in his news-gathering process, and in his life, as it marches along to the tune of the presses, which supplies the inexorable theme of perpetual deadline that haunts their pages, be it for copy not ready or debts not paid. They also introduce us to “Literary Bohemia,” the new Grub Street, a milieu which fostered early popular journalism, that supposedly freewheeling paradise for nonconformists, here seen in the familiar throes of strangling itself with conformities of its own, such as drunkenness and terminal impecuniosity. The collection comprises one hundred and seventy manuscript letters (five are to Yates’s wife Louisa) part of a wider collection of letters and memorabilia collected by Yates and one of his sons, purchased by the University of Queensland Library in 1982. (A catalogue of the remainder of the collection, will be published as Victorian Fiction Research Guide 21.) The letters range in date from 1855 to 1889, providing a fascinating sequel to the view of the hurly-burly of Victorian journalistic Bohemia fictionalized by Thackeray in The History of Pendennis, except that here we have a living Pen rollicking through real-life adventures, with GAS thoroughly aware of the analogy.

Apart from their historical interest as a conduit into the early days of the democratization of a society and its press, the letters provide valuable, spontaneous and unguarded biographical insights into the character of one of the seminal personalities of popular journalism, and probable prototype of such central journalistic figures as the feature writer, the special correspondent, the social commentator and the gossip columnist – for GAS was all of these, as represented by his work on the Telegraph and the Illustrated London News. Up to now his image, such as it is, has been largely based on an autobiography, first published in 1894, the year before he died, and on Ralph Straus’s biography, published in 1942. The choice of title for the first, The Life and Adventures of George Augustus Sala: Written by Himself, typifies its style, for in it GAS is his own hero and Bohemia is represented as a highly romanticized, necessary but fleeting, initiation process before he sets off to conquer the world of the press. For the most part Straus’s account, with the rather pretentious title of Sala: The Portrait of an Eminent Victorian, relies on GAS’s own in developing a “great man” syndrome (in letter 150 GAS refers to himself as “an eminent English man of letters”), which, unrestrained by GAS’s capacity to debunk himself, becomes bogged down in sentimental evasion whenever anything untoward seems about to be revealed. The irony that in his own time GAS fooled nobody is made clear by the memoirs of associates like the publishers Henry Vizetelly and William Tinsley, and the journalists George Hodder and Clement Scott. His friends, and those who pretended to be friends, were quite aware of his shortcomings, the former choosing to enjoy him for his good qualities, the latter unable to forgive him for his bad. The professional gossip Yates, who probably knew him better than many, for once in his life kept mum; his references to his old friend in Recollections and Experiences (1884) are affectionate, but bland and diplomatic. On the other hand Tinsley was much more outspoken: “No author I ever had dealings with gave me so much trouble as George Augustus Sala … I have often hunted and found the erratic [fellow] in very curious places; for in his young days, when he got on the spree he was as likely to be unfit for work for weeks as days … for some years Sala’s excellent wife had ample cause to have abandoned him altogether” (1: 154-5). And in April 1869 Dickens, in a letter to Georgina Hogarth about the arrangements for a dinner to be held in his honour at Liverpool, mentions that “Sala [is] to be called upon to speak … for the newspaper press. As he is certain to be drunk, I am in great hesitation whether or no I should warn the innocent committee” (Dexter 3: 716).

GAS’s letters make no secret of his well-known faults; in fact they confirm that he was a boozer, a cadger and an unreliable debtor. But equally they bring out the positive side of his character: the adventurous traveller, the vigorous newspaperman and prodigously productive writer; above all the convivial friend and colleague with an endearing, if sharp, sense of the ridiculous. And they certainly modify the rather white-washed view put forward by Straus, and by GAS himself in his Life and Adventures, by revealing the underlying paradox that fashioned his life; a desire for respectability that was continually thwarted by his love of (or perhaps inability to resist) the low life, as epitomized in the role models he alludes to: Falstaff, and Bardolph (who shared the same dominant physical characteristic, a fiery red nose). This paradox is reflected in his work as a strange mixture of assertion and selfdepreciation, encapsulated in one of his favourite Latin sayings, “cum grano salis,” a pun on his name which he often used in his newspaper articles – so much so in fact that it became an unmistakable byline, a way of identifying his copy amid the anonymity of the Victorian press. Like Falstaff GAS appears as a blend of potential hero and certain fool; an ambivalent, but lovable and very human character.

A similar sense of self-depreciating paradox and bathos is a notable feature of the letters. For instance in letter 63, where we find GAS writing from the smoking room of the prestigious Reform Club. He makes a point of mentioning that Dickens is seated at the next table. It is a definite sign of his rising in the world. Thackeray had seconded his application for membership just two months previously. However, although he must be rather proud to be ensconced in this bastion of respectability, he can’t resist a touch of Bohemian scorn as he asks Yates: “when will you come to dine with me in this lacquered sarcophagus, this whited sepulchre?” And by way of contrast he recalls a recent dinner at the far less respectable Sheridan Club, where his disreputable friend Wiltshire Austin “with his craw full of ptarmigan and red Hermitage threw himself back and exclaimed ‘At this moment Mrs A is starving on a red herring and a potato in Great Ormond Street.”‘ This sets GAS to thinking about his own wife, Harriett, and the embarrassing financial position he has placed her in, for owing to his somewhat mysterious financial mismanagement she can’t pay her grocery bills (letter 60). From here his mind runs on to his brother, “the buccaneer” Albert, who seems to be a confidence man of some sort (letter 138). GAS gives the impression that there is some analogy between Albert and himself in this respect. He goes on to proffer a homily about how “the whole world is going mad” and concludes by deconstructing everything he has just said with a French couplet that intimates it is all nonsense. He seems to see himself in a world where everything done, everything said, everything written, is reduced to meaningless palter – “patate, patata.” This strong sense of cynicism, not only about his profession as a wordsmith and image-maker for the people, but also about human nature as well is characteristic, and not altogether unexpected in someone whose writing reveals “an acute observation and immense experience of men and women” (Escott 117), along with a liberal manipulation of fact to create “saleable” news. GAS recognized the banality that lay at the heart of popular journalism from the outset, driven as it was by the need to generate sales in an increasingly competitive capitalist environment. Comments in his journalism and his letters show that he was aware that he had sold his soul to the devil. In Letter 120 for instance he exclaims: “Make a name first, and then abandon letters for leaders: that seems to be the modem recipe for combining popularity with pocket filling.”

Despite this declaration GAS’s novels can be seen as his way of attempting to rise above the daily journalistic grind and make a name for himself as a “serious” writer by articulating the anomalies and complexities he perceived in the human condition in a more Niiitable form, and, presumably he hoped, to a more attentive and sophisticated audience. He had Balzac in mind when he referred to what he considered to be his best novel, The Seven Sons of Mammon (1862), as “my comedie humaine” (letter 19), but despite the fact that it was received with astonishing applause, it has been forgotten like all his other novels. Let’s face it, they are almost unreadable, their failure being due to the very thing that made him such a valued journalist; his capacity for minute observation, which, when transferred to the longer medium, bogs him down in so much detail that he is utterly unable to produce a coherent plot. Sections lifted out and read as essays are splendid descriptive pieces, but as a whole the effect is disastrous. His reaction to what he called the Saturday Review’s “streams of abuse” about novels such as Mammon, The Baddington Peerage (1860) and The Strange Adventures of Captain Dangerous (1863), shows that he felt its criticism keenly. However, the almost fiendish delight with which it satirically demolished them is justified. In letter 67n4 for example see how the Review cut the notorious Captain Dangerous down to size as “a very small man with a very big coat, which flaps around his ancles [and buries him in folds.” GAS’s problem seems to be that he became confused between the knowledge that his talents really lay in journalism, and the pressures of a society that demanded more of its writers if they were to rank as “eminent men of letters”; something that he aspired to do with all his heart. Mammon reflects his dilemma in its theme of blurred identity as its characters appear and reappear under numerous aliases, creating confusion, even anxiety, for the reader who is looking for a cohesive narrative. Letter 91, a very fanciful note to Mrs Yates, almost ruefully chides her for not having read Mammon, which, after all, had been dedicated to her husband. His mention of “a character I drew many years ago in a book you never read” could be seen as rather petulant. Perhaps he guessed that she had tried, but had not been able to sustain interest.

Charles Dickens was responsible for launching GAS’s career. In 1851 Dickens accepted from him “The Key of the Street,”a piece of slumming journalism about London after dark, for publication in Household Words, For a number of years after this GAS coasted along in “Lotus Land,” as he calls it in his memoirs, living off the five guineas a week for stories he was contracted to provide for Household Words. He didn’t always keep his side of the bargain, and finally Dickens’s patience gave out, leaving GAS penniless and desperate. Letter 1 finds him, twenty-seven years old and in dire straits, asking Yates, in characteristic style, to lend him the money he needs to finance his escape from the Bohemian influences that have brought him down, and, presumably, to give him a chance to dry out:

 

Thursday 13 December 1855 /1 Exeter Change, Strand My dear Yates,

It is in your power to solve the problem of Sala.

I owe you two pounds, and I send this letter to you to ask you to lend me five pounds.

I know perfectly well that you ca’nt [sic] afford to lend money when its return is problematical. But the purpose for which I require this sum is one so serious and one that may be perhaps the turning-point in my miserable fortunes, that I do not hesitate to apply to you.

I mean to go away immediately, to bury myself in some remote place, to cut utterly and without a chance of relapse all the good for nothing associations in which I am involved, and to come back with increased experience, a disciplined mind, and, I hope, a firm resolve to earn and deserve a better reputation than I possess at present.

I talked a great deal of nonsense last night, and made a great ass of myself; but at the same time I really felt and appreciated all the good and kindly things you said to me.

If, knowing the positively sacramental nature of the favour I ask you, send me the money by the bearer. You will see me no more for some time. I shall send the manuscript to you directly; and in a week’s time I will send you an order on Household Words for the money I owe you, and for the second call of the Train. If you happen to be short of money and ca’nt do what I ask you, forget that I imposed so much on your forbearance

believe me / my dear Yates / Yours very truly

 

Yates must have obliged because, in letter 2, one month later, GAS has arrived in Paris and located Dickens, who was staying there at the time: “I had (and have) in my muddled brain an idea that Dickens will set me straight eventually, and enable me to get that start for want of which I have been going to the Devil anytime these eight years.” As he foresaw, this meeting was indeed the turning point of his newspaper career. A few months later he was in St Petersburg reporting on the aftermath of the Crimean War for Household Words – he had made his debut as a special correspondent, following in the impressive footsteps of W.H. Russell of the Times, who had aroused the interest of the English reading public with his poignant reporting of the horrific conditions British soldiers had to endure therein the Crimea.

GAS’s schooling as one of “Dickens’s young men,” when, as an anonymous contributor to Household Words he had to emulate the style of his editor to get the desired effect, or have his copy altered accordingly, stood him in good stead. (Although he didn’t always like it, as indicated by the reference to Dickens’s subbing of his Russian reports in letter 4: “I am glad you liked H.W. I do’nt. The woodman who has not spared the tree has applied the pruning knife -‘Zounds! the axe.”) He never lost the power to extemporize on my subject, and was never afraid to blend fact and fantasy; nothing was ever too large or too small for his descriptive powers. After the collection of his Household Word Russian articles, A Journey Due North, was published, his bete noir (and Dickens’s), the Saturday Review exclaimed: “Mr. Dickens is out-Dickensed by this imitator of his overwrought style of word-painting” (SR 6 [1858]:262). This may be true, but it was on the strength of his Russian correspondence that Edward Levy-Lawson, eager to recruit lively young writers for his fledgling paper, offered him, in 1857, the job with the London Daily Telegraph, that led him to fame, if not fortune. In 1863-4 his “My Diary in America in the Midst of War” series for the Telegraph was so successful that his mission was extended for another six months, and Ills reputation for colour and polemic was assured, as he put it himself, estimating that at least a quarter of a million people were reading them: “these letters may not have made me favourably known, … but they have made me known” (Diary 1: 13). Many more overseas assignments followed, and by 1875 Vanity Fair epitomized him as arguably the best-known journalist of the day in a cartoon captioned with just one word, “Journalism.”

Perhaps the most representative place to find GAS is in letter 136, when he is relaxing In his study around two in the morning after a hard day churning out copy, lighting up his second cigar, his gouty leg up on a stool, a hefty swig of gin at his elbow, ridding himself of all his frustrations by compiling what amounts to a blow-by-blow description of one day in his life. It’s a rambling and hilarious grumble that paints a vivid picture of flurried activity in response to the pressure of deadlines, with cynical asides casting doubt on the worth of all this effort:

 

My dear Edmund,

I have been very seedy since that dinner, and have scarcely left the house. It has been as well as not that I should be so confined; for the pressure of work lately has been simply fearful. Last Thursday for example between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. I had (1) to write 5 cols about “the Stage” in a wretched little paper called “Touchstone” in which Willing is losing £100 a week. My articles have trebled the circulation of the thing; but it wo’nt do. There is no money to be made by theatrical journalism alone. The Era, black mast and all is’nt [sic] worth £2000 a year to Ledger. Wait till I come out with my own journal “Household Words-cum-Once a Week-cum-All the Year Round-cum-Welcome Guest (very much cum Welcome Guest) weekly twopenny periodical conducted by G.A.S.” and see if I do’nt make a comfortable feather bed for my old age . . . Well; I was saying; after I had finished the 5 cols for the “Stage” I had to read my morning papers, and make up my budget of suggestions for the D.T. Twelve noon, gouty legs to bathe and bandage. 12.30 a proof of a story in “Bow Bells”, “The Good Young Man” to be corrected. Machine waiting. 1 p.m. a proof of a story called the “Didactic Village” for a d—d, infernal tinpot thing called “Mirth” whose rate of pay to contributors may be computed by the price of catsmeat. Lunch. 2 p.m. telegram from the D.T. “Bryant & Herbert ” A Thundering Case in the Common Pleas of 2 Vi cols to wade through, epitomise and write a long leader upon, taking care to avoid the risks of actions for libel with which the case absolutely bristled. But I have written 4,500 leaders with only two suits for libel, in neither of which did plaintiff get damages. This takes me up to 4.30 p.m. Then a Sub. 5 p.m. Knock off now? Not a bit Proof to correct, “Echoes of the Week.” Machine waiting. Finished yet? Not at all. A Revise of the “Bow Bells” story to be re-corrected; because there is some French in it, and the readers are funky. Dinner. 7 p.m. At 8 p.m. comes the proof of “Stage.” 8.45 p.m. To sleep on the sofa. 10.45 p.m. gouty legs bandaged and bathed de novo. Then the houshold go to bed; and 1 into my study to write nine letters; to post up my diary; to do my Greek lesson . .. not the way to live to be a Hundred Years of age as that duffing old Canon Beadon of Wells has done, but it is a simple and literal record of what a working journalist is compelled to do in the year 1877.

 

Yates must have smiled at the bit about starting his own magazine, since GAS had shown himself incapable of handling an editorship, let alone ownership. In 1860 when the publisher John Maxwell chose him to edit the new Temple Bar, a monthly in Cornhill style, GAS’s name as editor appeared on the title page from December 1860 to May 1863, but Yates did all the work as assistant editor. Letters of this period reflect GAS’s incompetence: “In discharge of my duties as Editor, to the performance of which you may have to swear some day I send you the correspondence concerning your department of Temple Bar. How earnestly I hope that the circulation will go down this month” and “Smash! Smash! irrevocable smash. I am overwhelmed. I have seen and heard nothing of you since last month. I know nothing of the June number.” Perhaps it is not surprising that Sala’s Journal, the magazine he did start in 1892, made his life more difficult, not easier. In fact, some said that worries associated with it hastened his death.

GAS’s adventures as a special correspondent became legendary, and he mainly created the legend. In his reports he placed himself at the focal point of all activity and silenced his critics with the tongue-in-cheek retort: “Should a strong man be ashamed to avow that his Book is Himself, and that in whatsoever he writes that treats of individual thought and opinion, he must be, to a great extent his own hero” (Diary 1: 14). Thus, in America to report on the Civil War for the Telegraph, he not only typically represented himself in one of his newspaper reports philosophizing on the nihilistic absurdity of the Battle of the Potomac from a commanding vantage point of both sides, but used his sympathy for the South to create his own battles in the Northern media, giving himself plenty of scope for polemic in the preface to his follow-up book on the subject, My Diary in America in the Midst of War (1865), as well as the makings of a second book, America Revisited (1882), where he admitted he had backed the wrong side and declared himself a convert to the Union (viii). Similarly, in Paris in November 1870 for the Franco-Prussian War, he was arrested and thrown into jail (letter 85). His remark to Yates, “I have got a . . . charmingly festered wound on my ancle due to a kick from a Patriotic wooden shoe in Paris on the night of the downfall of the Empire. Otherwise I’m as right as a trivet,” became the lead in to his Telegraph, report: he was the hero of the moment. So much so in fact that his friend Algernon Swinburne included the incident with some very outre suggestions in one of his letters to Charles Howell: “Have you seen the statement in the papers that poor Sala . . . has been Subjected to terrible and painful outrages’ by the mob at Paris as a Prussian spy? Can this Imply that his personal charms were too much for some countryman of the Citizen Sade (ci-devant Marquis) who exclaimed to an ardent and erect band of his fellows – “Fouton, foutons etc, etc .” It seems that under Swinburne’s tutelage GAS was the willing victim of other outrages. Together with the explorer Richard Burton he had a taste for flagellation, frequenting certain brothels in St. John’s Wood for the purpose. GAS did his bit for the Marquis when in 1882 he wrote 96 pages of The Mysteries of Verbena House, or Miss Heliosis Birched for Thieving, set in a Brighton school for young ladies. In it he reveals a penchant for ladies’ underwear. He seems to have been particularly interested in young girls; for instance in letter 71 he mentions “an ancient Tart now retired on her laurels and selling [fans?], gloves, scarves etc and on whom I occasionally look in for a cup of tea and inquire whether there is anything rising fifteen fit for a stout middle aged gentleman’s tooth.”

But I’m neglecting the other half of this correspondence, the silent but omni-present Yates, to whom every word is addressed, but who never says a word in reply, at least not line, Although few of his letters in response have been discovered it is not difficult to Imagine him chuckling to himself over some witty reference or bawdy ditty (many of which he unfortunately removed from posterity’s prying eyes), or throwing his hands up in despair at yet another request for yet another loan that would never get paid back, or another promise of copy that would never turn up, or looking forward to a convivial night out at the club with his old friend, or a quiet evening at home over (as GAS coyly puts it, for he was renowned for his gourmet entertaining) a mutton chop. Yates’s silence can in part be broken by using his memoirs as a companion to some of the letters. There he recalls his first meeting with GAS at the Fielding Club, “a slim, modest young fellow about twenty-six-years of age” (205). (This was doubtless tongue-in-cheek, for it is hard to imagine that Sala had ever been modest, even if he was once slim!) He sketches in their association on the Train, a co-operative venture started by writers thrown out of work after the collapse of Comic Times (one of many abortive challengers to Punch), stressing the ephemeral nature of publications at the time, and the difficulties experienced by journalists endeavouring to make a decent living miller such unpredictable conditions. They found friendship, and solidarity of a sort, in a Bohemian existence that gave a certain glamour to being down-and-out. It was not the rareified Bohemia of Murger (or Baudelaire), but, as Yates puts it, a British version “less picturesque . . . more practical and commonplace, perhaps a trifle more vulgar; but its denizens had this in common with their French prototypes – that they were young, gifted, and reckless; that they worked only by fits and starts, and never except under the pressures of necessity; that they were sometimes at the height of happiness, sometimes in the depths of despair . . . and had a thorough contempt for the dress, usages and manners of ordinary middle-class citizens” (197). The last carries irony for Yates and GAS since the audience they increasingly wooed belonged to that very class. This was particularly so for GAS on the Daily Telegraph, and by 1860 for them both on Temple Bar, described as “A London Magazine for Town and Country Readers,” whose preface was the epitome of respectability, promising a magazine that would not presume to offend any one or any thing: “Our journal . . . from headline to imprint, will strive to inculcate thoroughly English sentiments – respect for authority, attachment to the Church, and loyalty to the Queen” (Wellesley 3: 387). Yates’s gossipy “Lounger” columns, and later his “What The World Says,” were designed specifically to play on the snobbery and pretensions of the middle-class. GAS got Yates’s measure quite early in their friendship with his characterization of Ethelred Gufoon, who featured as a “man-about-town” correspondent in Twice Round the Clock, serialized in Welcome Guest in 1858. This description of Ethelred Gufoon as a procurer of literary lions for Mrs Van Umbug’s soiree is typical; there is no doubting that he is a thinly-disguised Yates (remembering that Yates wrote theatrical reviews for Illustrated Times and worked full-time at the General Post Office):

And equally, of course Ethelred Gufoon is here. Ethelred Gufoon is everywhere. He is one of Mrs Van Umbug’s special favourites. She calls him by his Christian name. He hunts up new lions for her; occasionally he officiates as peacemaker, and prevents the lions from growling and fighting among themselves. He rushes from Mrs Van Umbug’s conversazione to the Pontoppidan Theatre, to see a new face , which he must criticise; after that he will sit up half the night to review Mr Gladstone’s Homer, for the “Daily Scratcher,” and will be at Somerset House by punctual office hours the next morning. A man of the age, Ethelred Gufoon – a man of the time, a good fellow, but frivolous. (309-10)

Yates must have complained, or at least commented on the piece, for in letter 19 GAS insists: “Ethelred Guffoon is a chimaera, or a merman or a centaur. That is I based him upon you, but purposely disfigured denatured to use a gallicism and pinched him out of your likeness so as not to make him too personal.” A plausible explanation perhaps, but in “pinching out” his “likeness” this sketch intimates that there is a superficiality about Yates that prevents him from taking journalism as seriously as he should. GAS had already made this accusation far more directly in letter 15. It would seem that here he successfully employed the technique described in letter 26: “It is capital fun pitchforking a man, but it is exceedingly difficult to do jt a la Harmodias “with steel in myrtle dressed.” The image of “the trenchant blade” disguised beneath myrtle boughs represents the sort of satire that GAS preferred, rather than the direct “personalities” of Yates’s style.

It was during the period covered by the letters that journalism evolved into a respectable profession, gradually shaking off the image of the down-and-out hack, vainly trying to make a living in the days before the burgeoning popular press provided promise of regular income. The myth of Grub Street remained, with its memories of the abject poverty of authors like Oliver Goldsmith and Richard Savage, and the struggle of Leigh Hunt to gain recognition for the talented but lower-class writers ot his “cockney-school.” However the reality was that many who now chose the pen, were increasingly able to live by it. Some of these, like GAS, revered their “humble forefathers,” setting up men like Goldsmith, Savage and Johnson as exemplars. This was probably because Thackeray had romanticized the lives of the early Bohemians by using their direct descendants, renowned but disreputable writers of the 1830s like William Maginn and Theodore Hook, as models for characters in his autobiographical novel, The History of Pendennis (1848-1850). Pen became a role-model for aspiring young journalists, who longed to find the Bohemian freedoms that accompanied his foray into Fleet Street, as he fled the strictures of provincial society and his mother’s cloying embrace. GAS was no exception; like Yates he wanted “to be a member of that wonderful Corporation of the Goosequill, to be recognised as such, to be one of those jolly fellows” (Yates 143). He too wanted to escape from his mother, who “demanded the rigidest principles of decorum” (letter 10). Paradoxically, to him in those days, morality was Bohemia, respectability a short-lived, hypocritical sham. When Yates criticized in the Illustrated Times “the dirty denizens of ‘literary Bohemia’ who bring their profession into such contempt that all the members of it are compelled to suffer for their recklessness and dishonesty (10 Oct 1857:250), GAS flew to the defence:

“Do you want Bohemia to open upon you with its great guns? Do you want to be utterly demolished by the saeva indignatio of such men as Brough, as Hannay, as Mayhew, as Edwards, or as a dozen others of equal power. Do you want to be told that you are not a professionally literary man, that you are not a member of the press; that you have no right to impugn the motives or blacken the character of men who, whatever they may be in private life, do their duty, fearlessly, honestly, and ably to the public; – who have served a long and painful apprenticeship to a thankless craft, and who look upon literature, not as a polite passetemps. but as a serious mission. (Letter 15)

Robert Brough, James Hannay, Augustus Mayhew and Sutherland Edwards worked together with with GAS and Yates on the Illustrated Times. They had been part of the close-knit Bohemian group that in the late 40s and 50s had shared a hand-to-mouth existence in Paris and London. These were presumably the “good for nothing associations” that GAS swore to escape from when he asked Yates for the loan of two pounds in letter 1. But there was more than an element of truth in Yates’s inflammatory Illustrated Times par, since Brough, a gifted poet and playwright had drunk himself to death within three years, and Hannay died at 45, “literally like a poisoned rat in a hole … it was the story of Swift in Dublin, only with lush instead of lunacy and poverty superadded” (letter 124). In fact the letters record that many of the Bohemians died miserably. There was playwright Watts Phillips dead at 49 without enough money for a funeral. GAS had to pass the hat around: “the undertaker will not even begin his abominable devices until money is forthcoming or guaranteed for the funeral” (letter 121). There was Peter Cunningham (letter 19nl0), another hopeless alcoholic, whose abandoned column in the Illustrated London News was in a way bequeathed to GAS and became his “Echoes.” There was Angus Reach, considered one of the nineteenth-century’s best journalists and collaborator with Albert Smith on The Man in the Moon. “Poor Angus” (letter 118) died of overwork. He was only 33. Charles Dickens’s brother Fred was another: “F. D’s habitual breakfast was a penny bun and a glass of gingerbeer. The remainder of his diet was mainly gin, cold. He could’nt [sic] smoke; he had no taste for reading: in fact he had no taste for anything save Van John and three card loo:- luxuries not altogether attainable on a net Income of £40. per ann. Poor devil.” And his famous brother didn’t even go to the funeral (letter 72).

After his fateful meeting with Dickens described in letter 2, did GAS ever moderate his drinking, and his Bohemian habits? Suffice to day, that in the early hours of a January morning in 1859, he had his nose badly split open while being thrown out of a “house” in Panton Street, the notorious red light district of London, for complaining about the cost of the champagne (letter 24). He recovered, but his nose never did. It branded him for life with its colour of purple to red, which was to lead to much speculation, even to a law suit, which will deal with later (letter 89). About the same time, his name was being bandied around the famous Punch dining table in Bouverie Street, at which a position was highly coveted. Staff member Henry Silver, who kept an informal diary of proceedings, recorded that on 28 June 1860 both publisher Evans and editor Mark Lemon gave GAS the thumbs down: “Evans: ‘If Mr Sala had been a gentleman he should have been given a seat at the Punch Table’. Lemon: ‘Punch gets on very well without Sala and Co. I shouldn’t like to dine with them once a week . . . Punch keeps up by keeping to the gentlemanly view of things and its being known that Bohemians don’t write for it’.”

No wonder that in his memoirs Yates makes it known that “I was never a real Bohemian” (198). His habits had been regularized by an early marriage and his job at the Post Office. He admits to “a certain distaste for an integral portion of the career [of a Bohemian].” As in the passage from letter 15 quoted above, GAS often chides Yates for his respectability; sometimes, especially in the later years, with humour that bespeaks more than a tinge of jealousy: “Thursday next at Seven, here. No dress; and for God’s sake ask Mrs Yates not to wear her diamonds: (I mean the [?curlicue] with the emerald hermit-crab in the centre eating a ruby shrimp). You know what ladies are; and Mrs Sala’s garnet brooch is at Dobree’s [the pawnbrokers)” (letter 112). And: “Write and say when we can meet some afternoon and have a cigar and a chat. I ca’nt ask you to come here, my womankind being in the way; and I do’nt care about coming to the Bedford which is too grand for the likes of me” (letter 131).

By the 1870s Yates had indeed managed to become something of a “swell” after his retirement from the post-office, thanks to the job he took with James Gordon Bennett on the New York Herald (1873-1875), and his success with the World. But GAS was never able to claim financial success, although from 1863 he was earning “about £2,000 a year” (Life 358). His letters show that he was always on the ran from the duns. What did he do with his money? The answer is he spent it – and freely. A fairly informed guess would be that he was never able to rise above the pleasures of his youth, which included heavy drinking, gambling and probably, judging by his friendship with Swinburne and their shared interest in flagellation (letter 86n5), rather expensive sexual practices. The reasons for his chronic shortage of money become even more apparent in the light of the fact that his home was crammed with valuable china and other collectibles (as shown in the photographs accompanying Strand Magazine’s “Illustrated Interviews” profile in 1892), and that he was also a gourmet and had a passion for collecting first editions (4:58-62).

In some ways GAS’s reputation as the “King of Bohemia” (Cross 117) served him well. Taking the analogy of Falstaff for instance, it had established the roots of his writing in cockney London, strengthening his ties with ordinary citizens, the working men and women who were fast making up the bulk of his audience. It was with their eyes that he described the city in Twice Round the Clock, “which for sheer brilliance of rendering has never been surpassed” (TLS 18 Feb 1972:181). And being identified with an increasingly romanticized piece of literary mythology probably had the effect of mitigating condemnation of his behaviour, inclining people to consider that reports of it might be exaggerated – as perhaps they were. Despite his obvious social drawbacks he was not cut off from the world of respectability; a case in point is his membership of that least Bohemian of clubs, the Reform. In fact he became a “social lion” of sorts, even being nominated as a Liberal candidate for Brighton in the 1880 elections (letter 162n2). He tried somehow to straddle both worlds while committing himself to neither. Again, keeping in mind his defence of the denizens of Bohemia against Yates’s criticism, look at the way he deals with what could only be called a sell-out to “the other side” in letter 81. Early in 1870 he announced to Yates his coming editorship of the proposed magazine, England in the Nineteenth Century, brainchild of the advertising magnate James Willing, who had ads plastered all over London: “not a word, please, about the proprietary of the New Show. Let it be a society of Capitalists: say Rothshild, the Marquis of Bute, Barnum and George Hodder and the beautiful Mister Rousby.” Letter 81n3 shows how GAS’s facetious list of the “propietary” manages to get over his opinion of Willing’s venture and its propriety. (England in the Nineteenth Century folded because the advertising to finance it was not forthcoming. Ironically Willing, the master salesman of space on vehicles and hoardings throughout London, had found it impossible to sell any in his magazine.

GAS’s lucrative editorship (Willing had lavished money on the project and a large staff of the best journalists had been engaged) was stillborn, but who could blame him for trying, since by now his fame as special correspondent, essayist, reviewer, bon viveur and entertaining dinner-guest had granted him entree into another world, one that was certainly not frequented by the down-and-out. A good way to catch GAS in the social whirl is to look at W P. Frith’s giant painting The Private View at the Royal Academy (1881). There he is in the right hand corner, the white waistcoat he affected making him a focus of the artist’s composition; his remark about it in a letter to Frith makes the point about his social duality: “Don’t forget the white waistcoat. You can’t very well murder when you have a white waistcoat on. By donning that snowy garment you have, in a manner, given hostages to respectability” (qtd Wallis 217). The densely packed crowd jostling to see and be seen in the The Private View makes this painting emblematic of the close, interactive world of Victorian society. Assembled around GAS are some of the people he mentions in his letters, including Mary Braddon, Gladstone, Robert Browning, John Bright, Baroness Burdett-Coutts, Ellen Terry and Frith himself along with many other famous personalities of the period such as Oscar Wilde, T.H. Huxley, John Tenniel, George du Maurier, and Henry Irving and Lillie Langtry (sec letter 168n3). This is only a small section of an enormous canvas filled from edge to edge with famous figures imaginatively portrayed as viewers, not so much of the paintings (almost blocked out by the crush) that line the walls, as of each other, a self-reflexive attitude very much akin to that of the Victorian press, which, as the letters demonstrate, often found itself the most newsworthy topic of all.

When GAS sued James Hain Friswell for defamation in 1871 (letters 89 and 90), it Wanted lo show just how far he was prepared to go to defend his reputation, no matter how lllllllnhcd. Friswell, best-known for The Gentle Life; Essays in Aid of the Formation of Character, 1864, dedicated – with her consent – to Queen Victoria, would hardly seem to be the sort to be sued for libel. But seven years after the Gentle Life had been published, he was in court with his publishers facing charges in the case of “Sala v Stoughton and Another.” His crime, a warts-and-all portrait of GAS in Modern Men of Letters Honestly Criticised, 1870, in which among other things he accused him of being “in the hands of the Jews, often drunken, always in debt, sometimes in prison, and . .. totally disreputable, living a tort et a travers the rules of society”:

A Bohemian writer of a bad school, but yet a brave man; one that has done very little good, and yet one full of capabilities for good; a writer of sound English and a scholar, and yet a driveller of tipsy, high-flown, and high-falutin’ nonsense; a man of understanding when he likes, and yet of bosh and nonsense as well when he chooses to debase himself; one of keen intellect, high qualities, prodigious memory, great picturesqueness, and a photographic accuracy. (159)

GAS’s initial reaction when he first read the article was that “although sufficiently ill— naturedd [it] did not strike me as being at all libellous from a legal point of view” (Life 569). And there doesn’t seem anything particularly libellous in anything that Friswell said; in fact it sounds like a fair description of the GAS that can be inferred from these letters and the memoirs of contemporaries like Henry Vizetelly and William Tinsley, backed up by Henry Silver’s diary and Dickens’s letters. Friswell’s language is undoubtedly too strong and his imputations unwise, but the accusations can be corroberated, even to a stint in jail, since letters 21 and 22 prove that GAS was incarcerated at least once in his life (21 bears the address of the Queen’s Bench debtors’ prison). Why then was GAS prepared to go to court and swear under oath “that there was no foundation for any of these offensive imputations … I am not often drunk. I am not always in debt, nor sometimes in prison, and as to my being totally disreputable I must leave that to the public at large and to my own particular friends?” {Times 18 Feb 1871:11) Wouldn’t he be risking his reputation even further by having Friswell’s remarks aired to the enormous audience of the popular press? (The case was given generous coverage not only by the Times, but by most London papers, including the Daily News, and, of course, the Daily Telegraph). William Tinsley’s account of “Sala’s action against poor, harmless, and as a rule well-meaning Hain Friswell” (1:158) provides a possible answer. According to Tinsley: “Sala was in the hands of some shrewd solicitors, who knew he was right in law for Friswell had accused [him] of being the author of some very questionable literary matter, and had been stupid enough to reprint it from a dead journal into a live book” (ibid).

The shrewd solicitors mentioned included Daily Telegraph lawyer George Lewis, who was so anxious to prosecute that he discouraged GAS from meeting the distressed Friswell’s plea to settle out of court: “Friswell has written me a slavering letter, offering to apologise and pay costs. Too late … .He says he is bleeding from the lungs” (letter 89). This was unusual for Lewis, since he had the reputation of protecting his clients from the glare of publicity by arranging prior settlements wherever possible (DNB). Reports of the trial suggest that in this particular case Lewis had an ulterior motive for actually pushing his client under the spotlight; the defence counsel, in questioning not only why all attempts of Friswell and his publishers to settle out of court had been quashed, but also why none of the resulting correspondence had been produced in court, came to the conclusion that the really aggrieved party was the Telegraph, since “the caustic strictures on the style of writing in the Telegraph had caused certain persons connected with it more annoyance than any reflections upon Mr Sala” {Times 11). Thus it would not be unreasonable to surmise that, with the collusion of George Lewis, GAS’s “trusted friend,” the proprietors of the Daily Telegraph, wary of their paper’s reputation, had pressured him into continuing to press charges, and that it was at their instigation, and not on GAS’s own volition, that he made such a blatant denial of his Bohemian past – and a not so distant past at that, since it was only two years before that Dickens had mentioned in his 1869 letter to Georgina Hogarth that “[Sala] is certain to be drunk,” and only in 1867 that he had written to Yates: “I am full of duns, writs and judgements and outstanding executions” (letter 69), followed by the complaint that “a damned Jew lawyer” had served an execution notice on him that led to an appearance before the bankruptcy court in September (letter 70).

Luckily for GAS his belief in the legal ability of the wily George Lewis, and in his own ability to generate popular appeal with the “public at large,” paid off, for the jury found in his favour and awarded £500 damages. As usual their colourful special correspondent had won the day for the Telegraph. According to the old reprobate it was nothing more than the rose in his buttonhole that swayed the jury {Life 574); flippant this may be, but it seems likely that as representatives of an increasingly press-influenced public, they were party to its demand for colour (be it of nose or rose) in its newspapers, and its newspapermen. The Telegraph must have been satisfied by press comments showing that the verdict in GAS’s favour was just as much a vote of confidence in their paper as a vindication of his character. In fact everyone seems to have been satisfied, except poor Friswell of course, who, according to Tinsley, “never recovered the loss he sustained in the action, and not being in anything like good health at the time, the shock . . . doubtless hurried him faster on to his early grave (1:119), This was probably pure conjecture on Tinsley’s behalf (Friswell died in 1878 at 53), and designed to put GAS in a bad light as their relationship was an uneasy one. However, a remark GAS made in his memoirs shows that he was not without a twinge of conscience on the matter: “these wretched damages so preyed upon my mind that, to relieve me, the Daily Telegraph sent me to Berlin to witness the opening of the German Parliament” (575).

The arch-Bohemian GAS went on to become acknowledged as one of the aggressively respectable Daily Telegraph’s greatest asset. In 1955 Lord Burnham, the direct descendant of Edward Levy-Lawson, paid him a tribute in Peterborough Court: The Story of  the Daily Telegraph:

Among the great men of the Daily Telegraph the strangest, and in many ways the greatest was George Augustus Sala (D. T. 1857-93). It is quite clear that Sala, with all his oddities of style, dress and behaviour, can never have been the disreputable figure painted by Friswell and his enemies . . . certainly he was never in prison … he stayed with Lord Rosebery at Mentmore and he would never have entertained the disreputable scallywag of Old Frizzle’s Modern Men of Letters. (31-32)

With the revelations provided by these letters in mind, it is possible to appreciate the unconscious irony with which Burnham juxtaposes both sides of GAS’s character, an irony that seems to epitomize his uneasy foothold on the ladder of respectability. The young man, who in 1857 heatedly defended his friends against Yates’s public criticism of them as “dirty, drunken denizens” of Bohemia, by declaring that loyalty and ability were more important than any ephemeral respectability (letter 15), became the renowned doyen of the Daily Telegraph, whose success was sanctioned by the approval of a middle-class readership steeped in Victorian notions of respectability, notions that must have to a large extent been suggested and nurtured by his writings, not only in the Telegraph, but also in Temple Bar and the Illustrated London News. An utterly pragmatic “working journalist,” he wrote to sell, tailoring his work to suit an audience that he had in great measure helped to create. The wonder is, perhaps, that he reached such a pinnacle of success and remained there, for so many years despite the obvious anomalies in his character. Or could it be that it was this very departure from the norms of respectability that increased and sustained his popularity? What more appropriate hero could there be for Victorian readers, nurtured on sensationalism by newspapers eager to increase sales, than GAS, with a strong whiff of Bohemia about him?

In the last letter of the collection (170, 1 January 1889) GAS touches on the long association that he and Yates have shared, reminding his old friend that: “It is a very long time since we first foregathered. I well remember the evening when I came to see you in Doughty Street.” Both men were nearing the end of their careers, and their lives. Times were changing and a new “new journalism” was making its presence felt, although GAS didn’t think much of it. “What the new journalism may be like,” he self-righteously complained, “I neither know nor care, but most assuredly it is not the journalism to which I served my apprenticeship, and in which I have been for many years a skilled workman” (Life xi). In 1894, with the failure of Sala’s Journal, he was made uncomfortably aware that the overblown and personal style that had engendered his success was losing popularity. In Things I Have Seen and People I Have Known he acknowledges this in typically lighthearted fashion, referring to himself as an “old bore”, but then counteracts this selfdepreciation by launching into a detailed description of a journalistic career that must certainly place him in the forefront of nineteenth-century social observers: a record of thirty years at the coal face of history’, both in England and abroad. As ever there was no one better equipped to do justice to GAS than GAS himself. And with his credentials not many better equipped to provide an informed contemporary view of the Victorian period.

Chronology of the Life of George Augustus Sale (1828-1895)

1828 (28 Nov) Born in London, father a dancing master of Italian parentage, mother daughter of West Indian sugar planter, possibly Creole. Fatehr died year he was born; mother supported 5 children by acting and singing. Educated in paris and at progressive school at Turnham Green. After unsuccessful apprenticeship to miniaturist became scene painter at Lyceum Theatre.

1848 Illustrates Man in the Moon for Albert Smith on strength of work for Alfred Bunn’s lampoon “A Word for Punch”; also becomes editor of struggling weekly, Chat.

1851 Decorates walls of Soyer’s Gore House restaurant with cartoons during Great Exhibition. Charles Dickens accepts “Key of the Street for publication in HW, to which, and later to AYR, GAS becomes a regular contributor.

1856 (April) Goes to St. Petersburg for Dickens (A Journey Due North 1858). Also works with Yates and other on Comic Times, Illustrated Times, The Train, and, in 1858, The Welcome Guest.

1857 Begins association with the Daily Telegraph.

1859 Marries Harriett.

1860 Starts “Echoes of the Week” in Illustrated London News; contributes essays on Hogarth to early Cornhill and become editor of John Maxwell’s Temple Bar.

1863-64 Covers American Civil War for DT (My Diary in Amercia in the Midest of War, 1865). Series of jobs as special correspondent follow.

1865 (May) In Algeria with Napoleon III (A Trip to Barbary by a Roundabout Route, 1866)

1865-66 Holland, Belgium, France, Spain (From Waterloo to the Peninsula, 1867).

1866-67 Italy and Austria (Rome and Venice, 1869).

1867 Paris Exhibition (Notes and Sketches)

1870 In Paris as observer of Franco-Prussian War; arrested as a spy in August; escapes to Rome via Geneva 20 Sept.

1871 In Berlin for opening of German parliament.

1873 Very ill with erythema; convalesces at Brighton.

1875 In Spain for crowning of King Alphonso and close of Carlist War.

1876 (Dec)-summer 1877 In St Petersburg to observe Turkish-Russian hositilites: returns home through Constantinople and Athens.

1878 Paris Exhibiton (Paris Herself Again, 1880)

1879 Dec-Spring 1880 In America (America Revisited, 1882).

1881 (Dec) In St Petersburg after murder of Alexander II.

1883 (May) In St Petersburg for coronation of Alexander III.

1884 (Dec)-(Dec) In America, Australia, New Zealand, India. Harriett dies in Melbourne.

1891 Marries Bessie.

1892 Sala’s Journal.

1895 (8 Dec) Dies.

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