Mystery of the Marsh

J.F. Smith’s Mystery of the Marsh — Third Instalment

Here is a brief and necessarily hazy biographical note on the author John Frederick Smith (1803?–1890). He is himself something of a mystery, despite the immense popularity he enjoyed in his day, being described as ‘England’s most popular novelist of the mid-nineteenth century’ (Oxford Dict. Nat. Biography).

[J.F. Smith] had a thousand readers where Dickens had ten or Thackeray one. He was the people’s chosen author … if his work was too slapdash to have literary merit, he never abused his influence and it is impossible to deny him the faculty of invention. Had he had more ambition he might have produced more lasting work; but he would have had far fewer readers … (Athenaeum, 15 March 1890; ctd. in King, London Journal)

The man to whom Robert Louis Stevenson referred as ‘the great J.F. Smith’ was born some date between 1903 and 1906. No-one knows for sure when. He was the son of a Norwich theatre manager by the name of George Smith, for whom he wrote and acted.

One version of the family genealogy has George being disowned by a rich uncle when he became involved with the theatre — an initial infusion of bohemianism that comes to characterize the authorial persona of the son. Disinherited gentry, wanderer, poet and intellectual living on his wit and savoir-faire.

No one knows how he spent his earlier adult years, but at some point Smith travelled to Russia with a relative, and then, at the age of twenty-nine, to Rome, where he lived for two years, during which period Pope Gregory XVI conferred upon him the Order of St. Gregory. Nor is there anyone who knows exactly why, except that it was for some valuable service rendered to the Church (he was subsequently suspected of being a Jesuit).

Next he wandered aimlessly in Germany in the company of Bohemians and artists. Early historian of Victorian fiction, Frank Jay, reports that:

Many stories are told of his life during this period, but as none of them have been authenticated by Mr. Smith himself, who had only a smile when questioned on the subject, we need not repeat them here. (Peeps into the Past, 1918-21)

Smith skyrocketed to fame after joining the London Journal, a penny fiction weekly, as a writer. His third novel, Minnigrey (1851-52), a Picaresque romance set in the Peninsular War was a hit. This and subsequent serial novels boosted the magazine’s circulation to 500,000 copies per week. Some say that during his five years’ tenure he wrote half the Journal’s copy by himself and worked as its de facto editor.

A contemporary author, Henry Vizetelly (1820–1894), says of Smith’s brilliance:

So cleverly did [he] pile up the excitement towards the end of the stories which he wrote for Stiff [the editor of the London Journal], that the latter told me his weekly circulation used to rise as many as 50,000 when the dénouement approached.

He surmised that the factory girls in the north, the great patrons of the journal, were in the habit of lending it to one another, and that when their curiosity as to how the story would end was at its greatest tension, the borrowers, being unable to wait for the journal to be lent to them, expended their pennies in buying it outright. (Glances Back Through Seventy Years, 1893)

J.F. Smith’s calculated authorial mystique may contribute to the world’s having so quickly forgotten him, alongside the nameless politics and machinations of publishing and literary culture. His work was not found sufficiently literary by an envious elite, a ‘conspiracy of spiteful critics’ (Anon., ‘Byways of Literature. Reading for the Million’. Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, Aug. 1858).

After a subsequent decade as star writer for Cassell’s Illustrated Family Paper, Smith disappeared into the employ of ‘some seminary in Paris’ (Anon., Macmillan’s Magazine, 1866), resurfacing in the United States in about 1870, to ‘eke out an existence in the New York Ledger’, eventually dying in poverty (New York Times, 8 May 1890).

“The Market Wagon’, Ralph Hedley (1848–1913). Public Domain. Source: Hartlepool Museums and Heritage Service. Please see annotation.


The Struggle in the Red Barn Continued — An Unlooked-for Friend Makes His Appearance on the Scene — Young Heads in Counsel — The Result

Ha! ha!’ chuckled the ruffian, at the same time casting a look of triumphant hate upon his brave young opponent. ‘Yer did not calkerlate on that! Catch a marsh boy without his fixins! Where will yer have it?’ he added. ‘I’d like to spile yer beauty; yer spilt mine! Not that I ever had much to be proud on!’

‘One moment before you fire; just listen to me!’ exclaimed Bunce.

‘Well,’ replied Pike, who enjoyed his terror exceedingly, and wished to prolong its agonies, ‘what have yer got to say?’

‘I am not without money.’

‘All the better! When the game is lean, the skin aint worth much. What money have yer got?’

‘Five pounds.’

‘Is that all?’

‘All but a few pence,’ answered the young man, ‘and they too shall be yours if you consent to fight it out like a man!’

‘Well, that is a good one!’ ejaculated Pike. ‘Buy me off with my own money!’

‘Your money?’

‘Leastways as good as mine. Do yer think I am such a green hand as not to pluck the birds I shoot? Come,’ be continued, with that ferocious playfulness which is more terrible than hate, ‘where will yer have it?’

There was no reply.

‘Can’t make up yer mind?’ observed the ruffian in the same jeering tone. ‘I don’t wonder at it. Maybe I should be as much puzzled as yourself. It is hard to die at your age — ‘praps at any age; but no help for it, so face the music boldly. The tune is a short un!’

He raised his hand deliberately to fire. Poor Bunce stood gazing at him steadily with something of the Bohemian philosophy of the life he had lately led, and yet he did feel it hard to die — the dreams he had so often pictured in his waking hours unrealised.

‘Curse the fellow!’ muttered the cowardly assassin. ‘I wish he would take his eyes off me. I shall see them in my sleep.’

He raised his hand a second time. His finger was upon the trigger, but before he could press it a blow was heard, and the ruffian’s arm fell nerveless at his side. It was broken, and the weapon lying on the floor of the barn.

It was Goliah Gob who struck him. Our readers will remember that on quitting the farm-house he had promised his friend William to give a look into the barn. On approaching the building the frantic screams of the girls, mingling with the curses of the elder tramps, had startled him, and he crept in cautiously, remaining near the doors long enough to overhear a considerable part of the conversation.

On seeing the pistol fall from the hand of his enemy, Bunce sprang forward intending to secure it, but his preserver already had his foot upon it, and resisted his attempts to take it.

‘What does ‘ee want wi’ it?’ he demanded.

‘To shoot the villain!’ replied the young man, greatly excited.

‘No ‘ee don’t,’ said Goliah. ‘I did feel mortal like it myself a bit since; but I can’t let murder be done in Farmer Hurst’s barn.’

‘He would have murdered me,’ urged Bunce.

‘It did look like it,’ observed the rustic. ‘We will take him afore a justice in the morning.’

‘You do not know half his rascality.’

‘May be nor a quarter on it,’ replied Goliah, with a grin; ‘but I heard enough to prove what he war and what thee war. Gie us thee hand. Thee beest an honest lad. Essex-bred, I’m thinking. That war a sharp crack on the crown of the head I seed thee gie the chap lying by the chamber door. Best look to him.’

They found Bilk partially recovered from the effect of the blow which had rendered him senseless, and Pike moaning like a stricken wolf over the pain of his broken arm. As both the ruffians had the use of their legs the victors thought it best to secure them, which they did with sundry pieces of rope lying around the place. That done, they began to consult on their next proceedings. Goliah came to the conclusion — and it was a sensible one — that the best thing to do would be to call his friend William. He knew the room at the farm in which he slept, recollected the great elm tree in front of the window, that it would be easy to climb, attract his attention, and bring him down to the red barn without disturbing the rest of the family.

‘Wait a bit,’ he said; ‘I’ll soon be back wi’ a wiser head than ourn to tell us what mun be done.’

Without waiting a reply he quitted the barn, carefully barring the great door on the outside. The sturdy rustic was not half so simple as he appeared.

Left to himself, Bunce took a survey of the scene. In one corner of the building lay the two tramps, so securely bound that it was impossible for them either to escape or renew the contest. Satisfied on that point, he cautiously approached the partially shattered door of the chamber. The inmates had relit the lantern; by its light he saw the eldest girl take a small packet from her bosom and conceal it behind one of the massive beams which supported the roof. The act did not give him a very favourable impression as to their honesty, or respectability — a circumstance scarcely to be wondered at, considering the life he had lately led, their disguise, and the characters he had been compelled to associate with; and yet he did not quite give them up. Their terrors and cries of agony had been unmistakably genuine; their pale faces, rivalling the marble in its snowy whiteness, pleaded against his judgment.

‘If I am better than I seem, why should not these poor girls prove the same?’ he murmured. ‘They may have erred, fallen perhaps; so have I, more than once. It is not for me to judge them. Like my own, their lives may have been an epic or a doggerel; who shall say which?’

These reflections — they were rather odd ones for a person of his condition — were interrupted by the return of Goliah, accompanied by William Whiston and Benoni. On their way from the farm the former had related to his companions all that had taken place in the barn, which, notwithstanding their knowledge of his truthfulness, they could scarcely credit.

‘And you are certain they are girls?’ observed the schoolmaster’s son.

‘They screeched like ’em,’ answered their informant. ‘And, Willie,’ he added, turning to the farmer’s nephew, ‘thof things do look a little queer agin ’em, I do believe they are honest ones.’

‘We shall see,’ observed the youth as they came to the half-shattered door; ‘but whether honest or not, their sex ought to be a protection.’

‘Exactly what I thought,’ chimed in Bunce.

‘And acted upon,’ said William Whiston, extending a hand to him. ‘My friend has informed me how nobly you defended them against the brutal violence of yonder ruffians, whom my uncle will see properly punished in the morning.’

‘I did my best,’ replied the young tramp, carelessly.’

‘And good it war,’ exclaimed Goliah, with a grin, recollecting the famous backhanded stroke he had seen the speaker deal Bilk.

‘I wouldn’t advise ’ee, Willie, to try a bout o’ single stick we un; he do hit awful hard.’

‘I will take your word for it,’ observed his friend, with a smile.

‘I am sorry,’ continued the speaker, addressing Bunce, ‘to see a fellow who has proved his heart is in the right place in your situation, and if there is anything I can do to serve you –‘

The young tramp shook his head.

‘You cannot feel satisfied with the life you are leading,’ urged William — ‘rags, shame and misery!’

‘Bad enough, no doubt,’ said the object of his sympathy, sadly. ‘Winter is coming on, and these tattered clothes promise poor protection against the frost and wind. I must make the best of them — work out my fate as I may.’

‘Still, with a little help,’ urged the former — ‘I will speak to the farmer, and –‘The tramp shook his head a second time.

‘Useless! useless!’ he replied; ‘not that I expect to remain always in this degrading position. Do not think me ungrateful; but you can do nothing for me; your uncle would not listen to you; and I can scarcely blame him. Few men would employ a fellow in my position. I have tried it, asked for work when I was starving, and been refused with scorn and laughter. I must endure it till I find my fulcrum.’

‘He talks like old schoolmaster hisself,’ observed Goliah. ‘Not that I understand un. What be a fulcrum? Never heard o’ one in these parts. Did thee, William?’

The youth smiled. He, of course, had understood the poor tramp’s meaning. It was not without considerable difficulty that the three friends succeeded in persuading the trembling girls to emerge from the chamber. They had relit the lantern, and recognised through the half-shattered door the young men who had so kindly given them shelter. Aware that their sex had been discovered, they came forth, blushing and trembling with modesty and fear.

Such were not the looks of guilt.

‘You will not harm or insult us?’ said the youngest, imploringly, at the same time fixing her eyes upon those of Farmer Hurst’s nephew, ‘Indeed! indeed! we are not the wretched creatures we appear.’

‘Hurt ‘ee!’ repeated Goliah. ‘I’d like to see anyone try it on. Don’t ‘ee be fearsome. We be all friends here.’

‘He speaks truly,’ added William. ‘However strong appearances may seem against you, I for one do not believe in them. You told us, when we first met that you were on your way to London, that you had friends there. At noon the day coach will pass through Deerhurst. If you are unprovided with money to pay your fares, my friends and I will pay them for you.’

‘Too late!’ sobbed the eldest girl, wringing her hands. We shall be overtaken. Oh, Kate, what shall we do?’

The word ‘overtaken’ produced rather an unfavourable impression upon her hearers.

In cases of emergency or terrible danger we have frequently seen childhood display an intuitive presence of mind scarcely to be expected from its tender years. Not that the pale, half-fainting maiden whom the speaker had designated by the name of Kate could be exactly called a child. Her age was about fourteen. The terrors which hitherto seemed to crush her suddenly vanished as she advanced to William Whiston and clasped his hand.

‘Look at me,’ she said, throwing back the pale golden hair which partially concealed her features. ‘Look into my eyes, and see if you can read vice or falsehood there. We are two poor, helpless, unprotected girls, flying from a great danger, persecuted by those we never injured, menaced with a fate to which death were preferable. As you have sisters whom you love — whom you would rather die than see reduced to shame — pity and assist us to reach London. Once there we will reward you nobly.’

Willie did look into her eyes. In fact, we do not see very well how he could avoid it, whilst they were fixed so beseechingly upon his. And very beautiful eyes they were — dark sapphire blue, gemmed in the tears which, like pearls, encircled them. For the first time in his young life his heart thrilled with strange emotion. He would have laughed had any one told him it was love, and declared it to be pity only. Like most boys, he had yet to learn that love and pity are dangerously akin.

Doubts — he certainly had entertained some — hesitation, fear of his uncle’s anger, disappeared before the magic influence of that imploring glance, and from that instant he both spoke and acted with a decision which somewhat astonished his two friends.

‘Goliah,’ he said, ‘hurry to the farm and harness Bess’ — the name of his uncle’s favourite mare — ‘to the covered cart. Make as little noise as possible; and drive back to the barn as quickly as you can.’

‘Why, where be ’ee a-goin’ to?’ exclaimed his friend.

‘You will soon know, since you are to accompany me.’


‘Yes, if you are the friend I take you for.’

‘That be enough. Thee knowest, Willie, I drive to — no matter where — rather than go back on thee. Be Benoni a goin’ wi’ us?’

‘No. There is room only for four in the cart. Besides, he must remain to explain matters to my uncle. If you love me, be off at once. It will soon be daylight.’

Goliah disappeared without a word.

The schoolmaster’s son looked disappointed,

‘I take him with me,’ continued the speaker, whom circumstances and newly awakened feeling were developing into a hero, ‘because he has some knowledge of London. We have never been there. Another reason: Should we be overtaken — which, if I rightly understand these fair fugitives, is by no means improbable — Goliah would prove a better defender than half a dozen as we are.’

‘You know best,’ replied Benoni.

Still he did not look as if he felt quite satisfied with the arrangements. He was not accustomed to see the young giant, whose heart he undervalued, whose intellect he despised, preferred to himself.

There was a latent feeling of jealousy in his composition. We do not mean to insinuate that there was anything radically bad in his disposition. It might have been the effect of education, of his home surroundings, both of which exercise an imperceptible but subtle influence in the formation of character. Benoni was unusually reserved for one of his years; appeared always self-possessed; never displayed any of those sudden ebullitions either of temper or feeling so characteristic of youth, when youth is what nature intended it to be — the joyous springtime of a thorough manly nature. In short, as Goliah used to observe, there was a loose hitch in his harness somewhere; but of course, no one paid any attention to what he said.

In a few minutes the honest fellow reentered the barn.

‘It be all right, Willie!’ he exclaimed. ‘Cover’d cart and Bess be at the door. Won’t farmer or the Missus storm when they miss the mare?’

‘Too late to think of that now,’ replied his friend, in a tone of decision. ‘Besides, Benoni will explain everything.’

‘Yes. I s’pose so; but somehow he don’t seem quite clever at ’splanations. I sometimes thinks he do make matters wuss.’

‘We can never repay the debt we owe you,’ said Martha, addressing Bunce. ‘This is but a slight earnest of our gratitude.’

She pressed into his hand several pieces of gold. The young tramp regarded her wistfully and replied that he had rather not take them.

‘You must not reproach our poverty,’ observed Kate. ‘Thank you and bless you a thousand times!’

Bunce slipped them reluctantly into his pocket.

Just as they were about to start, Benoni pointed to the two tramps lying securely bound in one corner of the barn, and asked what was to be done with them.

‘Leave them as they are till you have seen my uncle,’ replied Willie. ‘Tell him not to unbind them till the constables arrive.’

On hearing these instructions Pike and Bilk uttered cries of rage. Their past lives afforded too many reasons for the prospect of an interview with justice to prove a pleasant one.

Although the covered cart was rather heavily laden, Brown Bess fully sustained her reputation of being one of the fastest trotters in the country. William and Goliah made but one stoppage between Deerhurst and London, and that was merely to procure bread and milk for their companions, who, as the distance between them and their pursuers (if there were any) lessened, began gradually to recover their self-possession. Of course, there was the awkward feeling of being in male attire that was not so easily to be got over, but the tact and delicate forbearance of their young preservers, who never once alluded to it, put them comparatively at their ease.

When within five or six miles of the metropolis the fugitives were overtaken by a couple of horsemen, both exceedingly well-mounted. From his military undress and cap the foremost rider was evidently an officer, the second a groom.

In an imperious tone the gentleman — we suppose we must call him such — commanded Goliah, who was driving, to stop.

‘And what be I to stop for?’ replied the latter.

‘Just to answer one or two questions.’

‘Thee mun speak more civil loike, then. We Essex lads have heavy fists and short tempers. Well, what be it?’

‘Have you passed two boys upon the road?’

‘Twenty,’ replied Goliah.

‘The ones I mean must have been dreadfully tired and worn for they have walked all night, and looked more like two girls disguised for a frolic than real boys.’

Our rustic friend — who at first was far from suspecting the boyish-looking speaker to be in pursuit of the trembling girls in the waggon — became suddenly enlightened as to the intentions of the speaker, and his eyes began to flash viciously.

‘Thee do look loike a gal theeself, or a play-actor chap, with those frimicating things stitched on to thee coat, and that bit of gold lace, it do look loike brass on the pants. I beant in no temper for foolin’. Stand out of the road, or dom thee, I’ll make ’ee.’

‘The fellow evidently knows more than he seems disposed to tell,’ observed the young officer — for he really was an officer. ‘You will stand by me, Tom ?’ This was addressed to his groom.

‘I? Yes, of course, sir,’ replied the boy.

His master dismounted and attempted to grasp the rein of Brown Bess — the most imprudent thing he could have done, for it brought him within reach of the driver’s whip, in the use of which the cattle drivers of Essex are curiously expert. Goliah caused the long lash to circle for an instant round his own head, and then drew it, with terrible precision, athwart the face of his assailant, who fell to the ground with a yell something between a shriek and a groan.

The groom withdrew to a prudent distance.

All this passed so rapidly that William Whiston had barely found time to descend from the back of the waggon and stand ready to assist his friend.

‘Get ’ee back,’ exclaimed the rustic. ‘I don’t want no ’sistance. Bless ’ee, I could crack the limbs of half-a-dozen loike him. He be more like a monkey than a man,’ he added, ‘thof he does wear gowd upon his cap and pants.’

The hint was taken, and the fugitives once more resumed their journey.

It was yet early in the morning when they reached London. Goliah’s knowledge of the metropolis was limited to Covent Garden market — where he had occasionally been sent with butter and eggs, the produce of his mother’s farm — and two or three of the neighbouring streets. Here Martha came to his assistance.

Wigmore Street, London (1827-40), unknown artist. Public domain. Source: Wikimedia commons

‘To the right,’ she cried.

He obeyed her as readily as Bess would have answered to the check rein.

‘Now to the left,’ she added.

Goliah turned the mare’s head into Chandos Street.

‘Stop at the small white house with green shutters.’

These instructions were followed to the letter, and the covered waggon drew up close to a moderate-sized, but respectable looking domicile, such as a city clerk or the family of a retired tradesman might be supposed to inhabit. At least there were no signs of trade being carried on in it. As we said, the hour was still young, and a middle-aged, respectable-looking female was engaged in washing the doorsteps, Martha sprang from the waggon and touched her upon the shoulder.

‘Go away, boy!’ said the woman, sharply,

‘Ann, don’t you know me?’ At the sound of her voice the servant looked up and stood, with the mop in her hand, gazing on the speaker in speechless astonishment;

‘Is my mother stirring?’

‘Yes, Miss,’ gasped the maid, with a bewildered look, ‘in the little parlour, getting breakfast for the lodger. Good gracious, Miss! what does it all mean?’

Without making any reply, Martha darted into the house, and in a few minutes returned, accompanied by her parent. The countenance of the latter appeared flushed with excitement.

Without a word of thanks or explanation to William Whiston or his friend, they assisted Kate into the house, and called on the servant to follow them. The woman did so, coolly shutting the door in the faces of the young men, who stood for several seconds gazing on each other in speechless surprise.

‘Well!’ ejaculated Goliah, bursting into a hearty laugh, ‘that be what I call London pride! They might ha said Thank ’ee!’

‘I cannot think so, I will not think so,’ replied his friend. ‘There is a mystery in the affair I cannot comprehend; but whatever the cause of this strange treatment, I feel convinced they are not ungrateful.’

‘Thee do know best. Has thee gotten any money with thee?’

‘About half-a-crown,’ replied our hero, after feeling in his pockets, — ‘and you?’

‘Just sixpence ha’penny,’ answered Goliah, with a broad grin. ‘Willie,’ he added, ‘did ’ee ever read the story-book ’bout babes in the wood?’

‘Of course I have.’

‘We mun look ’common loike ’em; not that I mean to starve,’ added the speaker, ‘and Bess mun be taken care on. I can find my way back to the market, and know the house where father and I, when he was alive, allays used to put up. We mun have some breakfast first.’

‘And then?’

‘Breakfast first. I tell ’ee my head beant loike my stomick; it can only take in one thing at a time.’

Something less than half an hour saw the mare well stabled and the speakers seated at a comfortable meal, to which one at least did ample justice. William could not eat much, poor boy; his heart troubled him more than his brain. Both were filled with those thick-coming fancies that haunt the waking dreams of youth, and which those of manhood are rarely free from.

Although his position in London, without money, and the probable anger of Farmer Hurst for taking his favourite horse, placed him in an embarrassing position, he did not seem to feel it. What he really felt was the cold, ungrateful treatment he had received at the little house with green blinds in Chandos Street; that rankled in his breast.

‘I will not return,’ he muttered to himself, ‘like a hireling seeking payment for his services. I must find out Uncle Whiston, and tell him everything. How the grim old lawyer will rave at my folly, and yet I have sometimes fancied that he rather liked me. This will put it to the test.’

‘What be thee a thinkin’ on?’ demanded his friend, who had been watching his countenance for several minutes. ‘It do take the pluck out o’ me to see thee downhearted. We aint a done nothink wrong.’

‘It’s not that,’ said William. ‘I must see my uncle and guardian, Richard Whiston, and tell him our troubles.’

‘What, t’old lawyer chap as comes to Deerhurst once a year?’

‘Even so.’

‘Does thee know where to find un?’

‘I have his address.’

‘I will go wi’ thee Willie,’ said the warm-hearted lad. He can’t scare I. If the worst comes to the worst I ha’ gotten my poor old father’s watch, and three seals — real gold. Not that I should like to part wi’ it. We mun stick together.’

‘Not for me,’ replied his friend, pressing his hand. ‘I have led you into this scrape, and I must get you out of it the best way I can.’

A few minutes later the speakers were in the street, inquiring their way to Lincoln’s Inn Fields — then, as now, the favoured residence of the legal profession.

This edition © 2019 Furin Chime, Michael Guest

Some Annotations

I am not attempting to add illustrations to the story as such, except on points like atmosphere, aesthetics, general history, geography or culture. Hedley’s painting ‘The Market Wagon’ has the purpose of clarifying Smith’s references to the ‘covered cart’ and ‘covered wagon’.

On their approach to London, when the group is stopped by the two horseman, the narrator refers to the ‘trembling girls in the wagon’ but doesn’t mention that they are actually concealed in it. On my first reading, I was confused about why the horsemen didn’t see them. If I had a more ingrained image of what a ‘covered cart’ was, I may not have been.

So forgive my fudging here, for trying surreptitiously to present a functional image before the narrative begins. (As well, the attractive image serves to evoke the rural theme and gestures to Smith’s origins.) Wigmore Street is in the vicinity of Chandos Street, near Cavendish Square.

  • ‘a slight earnest of our gratitude’: in this noun form, ‘earnest’ means a ‘pledge’ or ‘guarantee‘.
  • ‘dom thee’: dialect, ‘damn’; cf. ‘”Dom thee for a fool!” said Thomas.’ Captain Rafter, ‘Les Anglais Pour Rire; or, Parisian Adventures’ in The Metropolitan Magazine (1846).
  • ‘gowd‘: ‘gold’ (chiefly Scot.).
  • ‘check rein’: ‘a piece of horse tack that runs from a point on the horse’s back, over the head, to a bit. It is used to prevent the horse from lowering its head beyond a fixed point’ (Wikipedia).

References and Further Reading

  • Andrew King, The London Journal, 1845-83: Periodicals, Production and Gender (Routledge 2004)
  • John Sutherland, Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction (1988).
  • Neil Macara Brown, ‘Had Their Day’: Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Popular Authors”‘ in Journal of Stevenson Studies 9, 2012 (171-206).
  • Frank Jay, ‘Peeps into the Past: A Detailed 1919 History of Bloods and Journals’. Edition available at
  • John Adcock, ‘Yesterday’s Papers’ blog. 

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