Thursday, June 21, 2012

The London Miscellany

The London Miscellany, No. 2, February 17, 1866
The London Miscellany, vol. I, No. 1, was begun February 10, 1866. The editor (and possibly proprietor) was James Malcolm Rymer. The penny weekly was printed and published by Charles Jones, West Harding Street, Fetter Lane. Illustrators were Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz) and Robert Prowse.

The first serial,
‘A Mystery in Scarlet,’ by Malcolm J. Errym (Rymer), was illustrated by Phiz and ran through the first eighteen numbers. Errym also wrote the secondary serial ‘Emmeline: or, The Serpent of the Wreath.’ Frank Jay wrote that

“ ‘A Mystery in Scarlet' created a mild sensation at the time, and the late Robert Louis Stevenson offered a reward for a copy.”

It’s hard to understand why he held this serial in such high esteem. Rymer wrote better penny dreadfuls in ‘Edith the Captive; or, the Robbers of Epping Forest,’ and ‘The Dark Woman,’ both of which were borrowed from to produce the plot of ‘A Mystery in Scarlet.’

The London Miscellany, No. 9, April 7, 1866
‘The Withered Hand: A Story of Woman’s Love and Hate,’ by Julian St. George began in No. 9, April 7, 1866. It has been conjectured that Julian St. George was a pen-name of Charles Henry Ross but it may have been another Rymer authored serial.

The London Miscellany, No. 8, March 31, 186
If Charles Henry Ross did write for The London Miscellany he may have been the author of ‘Mr. Honeybun’s Proposals: A Serious Story for Maids, Wives, and Widows, Young Married Men, and Very Old Bachelors,’ a humorous serial of love and romance.

The London Miscellany, No. 7, March 24, 1866
‘The Fair Savage: A Story of an Indian War Trail,’ was written by William H. Hillyard. William Heard Hillyard was fairly prolific. He was the author of ‘Recollections of a Physician: Or, Episodes of Life, Collected from Thirty Years' Practice,’ and ‘Catalina; or, The Spaniard’s Revenge,’ published by John Dicks in 1847. A poster exists for a London Miscellany serial called ‘Mysteries of a London Convent,’ by author of ‘The Fair Savage’ which presumably appeared in the New Series. This would have been written by William H. Hillyard.
The London Miscellany, No. 15, May 19, 1866
On February 24, 1866, it was announced that a series of papers titled ‘London Revelations’ would begin, “...written by a gentleman who at our request undertook a tour of inspection among the outcasts of the metropolis.” The articles would include “the strange, the curious, and the terrible in the Dark Side of London.” They would also “serve to dissipate a few of the illusions engendered by clap-trap romances, especially among the younger class of readers.”

The London Miscellany, No. 17, June 2, 1866
On April 28, The Editor wrote under the heading LONDON REVELATIONS that

“...hitherto he has paid no attention to certain anonymous letters containing absurd threats, because he thought them to be beneath contempt. As, however, since the receipt of a letter dated the 5th of April affairs in one quarter have assumed a serious aspect, he begs to say that the proprietors of the LONDON MISCELLANY have placed the matter in the hands of their solicitor, and proceedings will forthwith be taken against the offending parties.”

The charade continued on May 5, when something incredible happened to the intrepid London author-reporter.

TO THE PUBLIC: Last week we announced a paper by the writer of the LONDON REVELATIONS, entitled “A Quiet Cup of Tea in the Haymarket.” The gentleman in question had promised to forward us his manuscript in the usual way, but at the last moment we received the startling intelligence that he was lying at his house in a very dangerous state, having been waylaid and brutally assaulted by a band of ruffians, upon whose traces, however, we are happy to say the police have at once been set by the writer’s friend, Mr. Addison.
For some time past both the Editor of this journal and the writer of the LONDON REVELATIONS have received a series of threatening letters, supposed to come from certain disreputable persons alluded to in a recent article called “The Happy Hunting Grounds,” and we can easily trace this last disgraceful outrage to the same source. We take this opportunity of informing the parties interested that we shall pursue the course we have laid down for ourselves, and the LONDON REVELATIONS will continue fearlessly to expose the various haunts of crime unhappily still existing in this metropolis. The article published this week in the LONDON REVELATIONS was, fortunately in our possession before the accident, and we sincerely hope that our talented contributor may so far have recovered during the course of the next few days as to be able to write the promised article about the Haymarket in time for the next number.

The last issue of the first series was dated June 9, 1866 (No. 18). An announcement appeared on the last page (288) that the first number of a new series of the publication under new management would begin on June 12, 1866. The editor’s (Rymer’s) office on that date is given as The London Miscellany, 1 Savoy Street, Strand, The Trade supplied at 147 Fleet street (Offices of the Newsagents Publishing company). The new or second series finished its run at No. 29, on December 29, 1866. 

The London Miscellany, No. 3, February 24, 1866
*The first 18 Numbers of The London Miscellany are online HERE.  
Originals from Indiana University.

1 comment:

  1. John, thanks so much for making this available! I have been searching for it for years!!! Can't wait to finally actually read it!