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Chapter I

[1] ‘2 bore’ was the largest caliber shoulder rifle ever manufactured, and was used mostly by the British in Africa and India for hunting big game. The rifle was loaded with black powder, and was known for its discharge of thick smoke and excessive recoil. ‘The recoil was so terrific,’ wrote Sir Samuel White Baker of a similar weapon, ‘that I spun around like a weathercock in a hurricane.’

Chapter III

[2] The poet and critic Richard Hengist Horne (1802 – 1884) was then a sub-editor of Dickens’ Household Words. He was the author of the influential collection of critical essays A New Spirit of the Age (1844), in which Dickens was praised at the expense of several of his popular rivals, including Jack and his old friend William Harrison Ainsworth. John Forster (1812 – 1876) was Dickens’ best friend and later biographer. At this point in time he was the editor of the Examiner, in which he had frequently attacked Jack’s writing as socially dangerous.

 Chapter IV

[3] Scott’s epic poem Marmion; A Tale of Flodden Field was published by Archibald Constable in 1808. Jack is referring to Canto II: XXXIII.

Chapter VII

[4] James Henry Leigh Hunt (1784 – 1859) was a radical English poet and journalist, and a close friend of Hazlitt, Keats, and Shelley. He was the editor of the Examiner between 1808 and 1817, the Reflector (1810 – 1811), and the Indicator (1819 – 1821). The character of Harold Skimpole in Dickens’ Bleak House is rather uncharitably based upon him.

[5] Alongside his rival Mrs. Ann Radcliffe, Matthew Gregory ‘Monk’ Lewis (1775 – 1818) was the most influential gothic writer of his age, best known for The Monk: A Romance (1796). William Beckford (1760 – 1844) was the author of the gothic novel Vathek (1786); Dr. Nathan Drake (1766 – 1836) wrote gothic tales in the journal Literary Hours from 1798 to 1804; and Francis Lathom (1777 – 1832) was a novelist and dramatist from Norwich whose gothic romance The Midnight Bell (1798) is cited by name in Jane Austen’s satire of the form, Northanger Abbey. ‘The Conclave of Corpses’ (AKA ‘The Monk of Horror’) was an anonymous plagiarism of Lewis that appeared in the chapbook Tales of the Crypt in 1798. The Midnight Groan; or The Spectre of the Chapel: Involving An Exposure of the Horrible Secrets of the Nocturnal Assembly was another anonymous chapbook published by T & R Hughes in 1808. ‘The Dance of the Dead’ (c.1810), also unsigned, was equally inspired by Lewis, and taken from a Silesian folk tale not a million miles from the story of the Pied Piper of Hamlin. Scott’s ‘Narrative of a Fatal Event’ appeared in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine III (12), (March 1818), under the signature of ‘Tweedside.’ ‘Extracts from Gosschen’s Diary’ was written by John Wilson and published in Blackwood’s III (17), (August 1818). Daniel Keyte Sandford’s ‘A Night in the Catacombs’ appeared in Blackwood’s IV (19), (October 1818). ‘The Vampyre’ was published in the April 1819 issue of the New Monthly Magazine as ‘A Tale by Lord Byron,’ but it was actually the work of his personal physician, John Polidori; and Hunt’s ‘A Tale for a Chimney Corner’ appeared in the Indicator in 1819. I have not been able to identify ‘The Early Grave,’ but I suspect that Jack is thinking of John Galt’s ‘The Buried Alive,’ in which case his memory is playing him false, as this story was not published in Blackwood’s until October 1821.

[6] John Gibson Lockhart (1794 – 1854) was a Scots advocate and writer, known in his early career at Blackwood’s for his savage attacks of the so-called ‘Cockney School of Poetry,’ in which he included Leigh Hunt, William Hazlitt, Coleridge, and Keats. He is most remembered today for his seven volume biography of his father-in-law, Sir Walter Scott. ‘Wet with the blood of the Cockneys’ was how fellow writer William Maginn described Lockhart in Blackwood’s X (9), (February 1821), in response to the duel in which the liberal editor and publisher John Scott was killed. Jack’s summary of the duel and Jonathan Henry Christie’s subsequent acquittal matches contemporary accounts.

Chapter XII

[7] The All Max was a ‘Flash Ken’ (or low drinking house) in East Smithfield, its name a mockery of the high citadel of the Regency social season, Almack’s Assembly Rooms of St. James’s.

Chapter XIII

[8] Harriette Wilson née Dubouche (1786 – 1845) was a Regency courtesan whose scandalous memoirs appeared in 1825. Harriette requested a payment of £200 from each of her lovers if they wished to remain anonymous. When her publisher contacted Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, His Grace replied (so legend has it, in blood red ink), ‘Publish, and be damned!’ Victorian literary critics tended to denounce these memoirs as obscene, and they were frequently evoked in critiques of contemporary popular authors as a comparative example of rank filth from a more primitive age (often conflated with Egan’s Life in London).

[9] When Cruikshank died it was discovered that he had fathered eleven illegitimate children with a former servant, Adelaide Attree, who lived close to the family home in North London.

[10] Isaac ‘Ikey’ Solomon (c.1787 – 1850), sometimes mis-called ‘Solomons’ in the broadsheets of the time, was a highly successful and flamboyant criminal. Because of his profession and ethnicity (he was an East End Jew), he was almost certainly the model for the character of Fagin in Dickens’ Oliver Twist.

[11] This is a reference to the notorious ‘Gill’s Hill Tragedy’ of 1823, in which the boxing promoter John Thurtell (and his accomplices Joseph Hunt and William Probert) brutally murdered the solicitor William Weare over a gambling debt. Thurtell was the son of a former mayor of Norwich, and a regular at the Fancy. George Borrow records meeting him in the early-1820s in his memoir Lavengro (1851), and he also appears as ‘Tom Turtle’ in ‘The Fight’ (1822) by William Hazlitt. Egan interviewed Thurtell in prison and subsequently wrote two broadsheet accounts of the case.

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