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11. CHAPTER XI - "THE CLAVERINGS," THE "PALL MALL GAZETTE," "NINA BALATKA," AND "LINDA TRESSEL" (continued)
It was in 1865 that the Pall Mall Gazette was commenced, the name having been taken from a fictitious periodical, which was the offspring of Thackeray's brain. It was set on foot by the unassisted energy and resources of George Smith, who had succeeded by means of his magazine and his publishing connection in getting around him a society of literary men who sufficed, as far as literary ability went, to float the paper at one under favourable auspices. His two strongest staffs probably were "Jacob Omnium," whom I regard as the most forcible newspaper writer of my days, and Fitz-James Stephen, the most conscientious and industrious. To them the Pall Mall Gazette owed very much of its early success,--and to the untiring energy and general ability of its proprietor. Among its other contributors were George Lewes, Hannay,--who, I think, came up from Edinburgh for employment on its columns,--Lord Houghton, Lord Strangford, Charles Merivale, Greenwood the present editor, Greg, myself, and very many others;--so many others, that I have met at a Pall Mall dinner a crowd of guests who would have filled the House of Commons more respectably than I have seen it filled even on important occasions. There are many who now remember--and no doubt when this is published there will be left some to remember--the great stroke of business which was done by the revelations of a visitor to one of the casual wards in London. A person had to be selected who would undergo the misery of a night among the usual occupants of a casual ward in a London poorhouse, and who should at the same time be able to record what he felt and saw. The choice fell upon Mr. Greenwood's brother, who certainly possessed the courage and the powers of endurance. The description, which was very well given, was, I think, chiefly written by the brother of the Casual himself. It had a great effect, which was increased by secrecy as to the person who encountered all the horrors of that night. I was more than once assured that Lard Houghton was the man. I heard it asserted also that I myself had been the hero. At last the unknown one could no longer endure that his honours should be hidden, and revealed the truth,--in opposition, I fear, to promises to the contrary, and instigated by a conviction that if known he could turn his honours to account. In the meantime, however, that record of a night passed in a workhouse had done more to establish the sale of the journal than all the legal lore of Stephen, or the polemical power of Higgins, or the critical acumen of Lewes.
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