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Thursday, January 04, 2007

William Stephens Hayward

(* If you're wondering why I've slowed down in the new year from my previous frantic pace, I've picked up a cold. Not the flu, just a cold, but enough to put me off spending all evening in front of a computer as well as all day. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. In the meantime...)

My good friend John Adcock at his Yesterdays-Papers (aka Oliver Oyl) blog, has posted a lengthy piece on William Stephens Hayward which inspired a bit of digging through my notes this evening. Go read John's post and then come back. I'll just hang around here.

OK? A fascinating character, I'm sure you'll agree. So this is mostly additional material.

William Stephen Hayward (as he is listed in the International Genealogical Index) was christened at Long Wittenham, Berkshire, on 24 September 1835 and presumably born a month or two earlier. He was the son of William Turner Hayward (1807-1874), a prosperous farmer who owned some 641 acres and employed 40 men and 9 boys. William Turner Hayward, the son of George Hayward and his wife Anna, was also a local magistrate and lived at the imposing Wittenham House which also included offices, a coach house, stables and extensive grounds. Hayward's estate also included the 100 acre Manor Farm, the 140 acre Moulden's farm, Lovegrove's farm of 72 acres, plus several other parcels of land and property in and near Long Wittenham, some of which were sold off as leaseholds and freeholds in 1849.

William Turner Hayward was married to Mary Ann Hayward and had 7 children, William Stephen, Mary Jane (b. 1836?), George (b. 1837), Evan Arthur (b. 1839), Hannah Edith (b. 1844?) and Frederick Henry (b. 1845).

Mary Ann Hayward died in Devon in 1845 (where Frederick Henry was born) and William Turner Hayward remarried a year later, to Louisa Blythe. Two more children followed: Harriett Louisa (b. 1847) and Rosa Amelia (b. 1851). Louisa Hayward died very young, in her late twenties or early thirties; having outlived two wives, William Turner Hayward then remained a widower until his death in 1874.

Nothing is known about William Stephen Hayward, although there is a chance he was educated at Marsh Royal Free Grammar School in Marlborough St. Mary, Wiltshire, as were his two younger brothers, George and Evan. The first trace of him is the 7 April 1857 report in The Times where, as William Stevens Hayward, he stood in the dock at Bow Street accursed of the rape of Jane Bettison, a servant at a lodging house in Alfred-place, on the previous evening. Hayward, described as a gentleman, was discharged the following week when Bettison failed to appear in court.

That Hayward was something of a rogue is undeniable: still in his early twenties, he was moving from place to place to avoid creditors -- an insolvent debtors' court in 1858 noted he had lived at 6 and then 18 Alfred-place, Bedford-square, then 2 Nassau-street, Soho, was then placed in the Debtors' Prison for London and Middlesex in the City of London, was then a prisoner in the Queen's Prison, Surrey, before returning to Nassau-street and, finally, to the Evan's Hotel, Covent-garden. At the time he was in no business or profession but was known to "occasionally bet on the turf". His imprisonment clearly shows that he had lost the backing of his family although Hayward said in court that he had property of his own; the court was informed that Hayward had fallen into the hand of money lenders and his property produced less than expected.

Hayward was in and out of court for the next couple of years and continued to keep on the move, his addresses including 4 Duke-street, Portland-place, then Reading, Berkshire, then 22 Ho'lea-street, then Castle-terrace, Kentish-town, then 75 York-street, Lambeth, then 98 York-road, Lambeth, then 116 Upper Stamford-street, Blackfriars, and, in 1860, at 17 Argyll-square, King's-cross. Hayward was still of no occupation.

During this period, on 19 November 1858, Hayward (describing himself as a Gentleman of Wittenham House) applied for a patent for "improvements in the manufacture of a glutinous and viscous substance of dextrine used in the manufacture of paper, and in dressing textile fabrics, by which greater tenaciousnes, smoothness and body is obtained."

On 14 September 1859, Hayward married Margaret Ellen Allnutt at St. John's Church, Upper Holloway. Margaret was the 22-year-old daughter of John Allnutt, Esq., a brewer from Reading, and his wife Charlotte Ellen Allnutt.

Did marriage turn Hayward into a reformed character? His earliest known novel, Hunted to Death; or, Life in Two Hemispheres, appeared in 1862. The story related the troubled romance of Captain George and Madeline Grey, who first meet aboard a steamer for New York. Also on board is Mdlle. De Villeneuve, to whom George becomes married; but only briefly, as a blackleg with a grudge against George shoots his wife in error and George hunts down her murderer through America and Australia.

The reviewer for The Era (11 May 1862) felt that "The hero, throughout, is singularly oblivious of either religious or civil law, and his language is anything but refined. Nevertheless, Mr. Hayward endeavours to make his readers believe him to be utterly irresistable and fascinating, and after plunging him into several other dilemmas with Australian ladies, he finally extricates him, proves him to be an English baronet's son with a Fortunatus's purse, and marries him to Madeline.

"The whole tone of the book betrays ignorace of the customs of polite society on Captain George's part, in spite of his aristocratic birth, and his obvious conceit and unmistakable vulgarity render him scarcely worthy of being held up as an irresistible hero throughout 238 pages of one of these shilling volumes which are now so popular and striking at the railway stations."

That same year, Hayward penned 'The Black Angel' for The London Herald, continuing the adventures of Captain George who had starred in Hunted to Death. The Black Angel. A tale of the American Civil War was then published in book form by Ward Lock in 1863, to be followed by three more adventures set in America: The Star of the South ( 1871), The Fiery Cross (1868) and The Rebel Privateer; or, The Last Cruise of the Black Angel (1874).

Othere serials from Hayward's pen included 'The Fortunes of a Fair Girl who Fell Among Thieves' (Red, White and Blue, 1863), 'Ethel Grey; or Alone in the World' (The Halfpenny Journal, 1865), 'Married in the Dark' (The London Herald, 1866), and 'The Three Red Shirts; or, The Daughter of Italy' by the author of 'Black Angel' (The London Herald, 1866), 'The Rebel Privateer. A sequel to the Fiery Cross' (The London Herald, 1866-67) and 'John Hazel's Vengeance' (The London Herald, 1867).

Hayward began writing for boys' papers with his serial 'The Cloud King; or, The Adventures of Charley Skyflier' (1864) in Vickers' Boys Journal, which predicted both the aeroplane and the submarine and was much reprinted. Hayward then began turning out serials for William Emmett's Young Englishman's Journal, penning 'The Eagle and the Vulture' (1867) and 'The Corsair; or, The King of the Bay of Naples' (1868) and 'Thirteen of Them; or, The Companions of the Black Flag' (The Boys of England, 1868), before switching allegiance and writing for the rival Young Gentlemen of Britain published by Edwin Brett, his tales including 'The Mutiny of the Thunder' (1868) and its sequel 'The Golden Reef' (1869), 'The Flag of the North Pole' (1868) and 'The Minute Gun at Sea' (1869).

During this period in the late 1860s, Hayward fell into a long and painful illness. Whether it was through drink or some other cause is unknown. It is thought that at least one of his novels, Lord Scatterbrain; or, The Rough Diamond Polished (1869) was completed by Bracebridge Hemyng when illness prevented Hayward from continuing [The book may have some connection with Samuel Lover's Handy Andy. A tale of Irish life (1842) which features the character Lord Scatterbrain. Lover died in 1868 and Hayward's novel appeared in 1869.]. A serial, 'The Idol's Eye' (1870) was running in George Emmett's Sons of Britannia boys' paper when, on 29 August 1870, the publishers printed a black-bordered obituary notice which said, in part, "He died in harness... he laboured to amuse our young friends, bearing the pangs of suffering with unflinching fortitude, and only laid aside the pen when his hand was no longer able to grasp it."

A different version can be gleaned from E. Harcourt Burrage's The Ruin of Fleet Street where the ruin is alcohol and Burrage disguises many of his drunken protagonists by using aliases. One or two are recognisable from information elsewhere and Hayward was given the unappealing nickname Fireater (sic):
There was another man, we called him the “Fireater,” in recognition of his having been a traveller in savage lands and the general pugnacity of his disposition. He was clever, could write well, and his books still sell, although he has been dead fifteen years. The familiar failing shattered him, and with the object of restoring his health he went to live quietly down by the sea. It was a wise step, but taken too late. He was writing for a journal with which I was connected as sub-editor. No copy was received from him until it was almost the hour of going to press. I wired to him, and by post that night he sent a small roll of paper directed in a sprawling hand. I opened that packet and found nothing but incoherent words, the final being: “In the wood—wood—wood—in the—the—the—wood,” and so on, for more than three folios. We knew he must be seriously ill, and one of our staff, a friend of his, went down to see him—and found him dead. (The Ruin of Fleet Street, pp.41-42)
The Sons of Britannia obituary implies that Hayward died in Brighton, although his death (as William Stevens Hayward) was registered in Wallingford, Berkshire, and it seems likely that, close to death, he returned to the family home where his younger brother, George, was now head of the household (in the 1871 census he is described as a farmer of 450 acres employing 20 men and 8 boys). Hayward was only 35 when he died.

In 1870, Haywood's widow, Margaret Ellen Hayward, was married to Raynsford Edwards, a 34-year-old bank clerk, from Hitchin, Herts., although the marriage was only brief as Edwards died in 1876.

Hayward's legacy of books and serials was soon picked up by Charles H. Clarke, who began reprinting dozens of his earlier works published by George Vickers and in serial form in cheap editions. Ward Lock published a series of new novels in 1875 and, around 1880, J. & R. Maxwell also began publishing cheap editions of old serials. Seemingly new novels continued to appear up to sixteen years after Hayward's death. A number of serials ('The Wonder Seeker', 'The Young Rebel Officer', 'The Doomed Ship' and 'The Cruise of the Spitfire') appeared in Ralph Rollington's Boys' World in 1879-83. It is possible that some at least were by another hand (Rollington, in A Brief History of Boys' Journals, refers to the author as Stephen Hayward, and one serial appeared under the byline S. S. Hayward) although it is known that Hayward's novels were still appearing as serials in the 1890s (Ethel Grey was serialised in The Preston Guardian, 1890-91).

In the early 1860s, William Stephens Hayward was able to turn his life around through his writing... and he proved to be a very good writer indeed. One of his earliest and most notable books, Revelations of a Lady Detective, first published anonymously in 1864, featured the first British female sleuth, Mrs. Paschal. Of the book, Michael E. Grost has said: "Hayward has a formal but vivid prose style. It is full of the carefully constructed clauses of some Victorian writers. Each word is chosen to convey a maximum amount of information and emotion to the reader. Hayward continually conveys the emotions his detective heroine-narrator is feeling to the reader. The style is very beautiful."

More praise for Hayward's talents come from no less an authority than Robert Louis Stevenson who, in his essay 'Popular Authors' revealed that Hayward:
...was a popular writer; and what is really odd, he had a vein of hare-brained merit. There never was a man of less pretension; the intoxicating presence of an ink-bottle, which was too much for the strong head of Napoleon, left him sober and light-hearted; he had no shade of literary vanity; he was never at the trouble to be dull. His works fell out of date in the days of printing. They were the unhatched eggs of Arab tales; made for word-of-mouth recitation, certain (if thus told) to captivate an audience of boys or any simple people—certain, on the lips of a generation or two of public story tellers, to take on new merit and become cherished lore. Such tales as a man, such rather as a boy, tells himself at night, not without smiling, as he drops asleep; such, with the same exhilarating range of incident and the same trifling ingenuities, with no more truth to experience and scarcely more cohesion, Hayward told. If we so consider The Diamond Necklace, or the Twenty Captains, which is what I remember best of Hayward, you will find that staggering narrative grow quite conceivable.
One mystery remains: was Hayward the author behind the string of titles credited to Anonyma or were they, as others feel, the work of Bracebridge Hemyng.

In 1864, two novels appeared: Anonyma; or, Fair but Frail. A romance of West-End life, manners, and 'captivating' people and Skittles. A biography of a fascinating woman, the latter followed by a sequel, Skittles in Paris. A biography of a "fascinating woman" {by the author of 'Skittles'} (1865). 'Anonyma' and 'Skittles' were both nicknames of Catherine Walters (1839-1920), the mistress of Lord Fitzwilliam and later of Lord Cavendish, the Marquess of Hartington; her circle of friends included the Prince of Wales, Edwin Landseer (who painted her portrait), and future Poet-Laureate Alfred Austin. In her heyday as a prostitute and courtesan in the early 1860s, she was often written about in the Times and Telegraph, usually identified only as 'Anonyma'.

The Manchester Times (19 March 1964), recording the death of Miss Waters (sic) also noted that "Shilling memoirs of 'Skittles' and 'Anonyma' are openly exposed for sale on the counters of West End book shops and libaries. There is a great demand for them among the upper classes, especially among the ladies! I may tell you that these same biographies are mere catch-penny 'fudges,' issued under the rose, by one who holds himself out to the public as a respectable publisher of fine literature for the instruction of the people. You may think this incredible, but it is the literal truth."

They were followed by almost a dozen others which claimed to be "by the author of 'Anonyma'" or "by the author of 'Skittles'", including 'biographies' of Kate Hamilton, who ran a brothel in Prince's Street, off Leicester Square, Agnes Willoughby, a brothel-keeper's mistress who, like Catherine Walters, was a skilled horsewoman and often rode in Hyde Park, and Cora Pearl (Emma Elizabeth Crouch), the infamous Parisian courtesan.

The publisher of the early 'Anonyma' books was George Vickers and William Stephens Hayward was certainly working for Vickers in 1864 (as proven by his serial 'Up in the Clouds' in Vickers' Boys' Journal)... . Hemyng also wrote a number of procedural story collections along the lines of Revelations of a Lady Detective, namely In the Force; or, Revelations of a Private Policeman (1865), Telegraph Secrets by a Station-Master (1867) and Secrets of the River by a Thames Policeman (1870?), etc.

The evidence of Hemyng's hand derives, it would seem, from an article on 'Mischievous Literature' in The Bookseller (1 July 1868) in which he was identified as the author of the 'Anonyma' series of books. Hemyng fired off a letter to the editor, printed in the next number: "You have also thought fit, in your new-born zeal for tearing the mask from the face of the anonymous writer, to associate me with the authorship of about a dozen or more books known as the 'Anonyma' series. On what ground you do so, or who is your authority for the assertion, I am at a loss to imagine."

Hemyng, in a list of his works published within the above letter, also omitted any mention of authoring The Women of London and The Women of Paris, both published by Vickers in 1863, whilst owning up to a large number of works that had been published anonymously. The British Library no less credits Hemyng as the author. Hemyng, in his letter, admits: "I have only written one novel, a tale of the sea, in penny numbers, entitled 'Money Marks,' and which was afterwards bound and sold at half-a-crown. This was done for an eminent publisher in Fleet Street..." The book was published by George Vickers in circa 1865.

The British Library also credit W. Stephens Hayward as the author of the 'Anonyma' title chain, although that's not exactly proof, as I've just shown. At least one novel that is definitely by Hayward, The Beautiful Demon (1864) "by the author of 'Leah', 'Hunted to Death', etc." whose preface is initialed W.S.H., was reprinted by C. H. Clarke as "by the author of 'Skittles'." But, again, that's not proof. Another 'Anonyma' yarn, London By Night (1867), includes a "by the author of" title chain that includes Anonyma, Skittles, Left Her Home, Kate Hamilton, Agnes Willoughby, The Woman (sic) of London, The Woman (sic) of Paris, Soiled Dove, Skittles in Paris, Annie; or, The Life of a Lady's Maid. But this was not from Vickers but a new publisher, William Oliver, who also added Lady Detective and the untraced title The Lady with the Golden Hair to the list on the back cover.

The Lady Detective was credited as "by the author of 'Skittles', 'Anonyma', 'Left Her Home', etc." as early as 1864.

A biography of Catherine Walters entitled Skittles: The Last Victorian Courtesan (London, Rupert Hart-Davies, 1970) was written by Henry Blyth, who says of the books:
They were published anonymously by George Vickers, in Angel Court, off the Strand, and sold very well. The anonymous author was later revealed as William Stephens Hayward, a novelist and journalist of the second rank who appeared to be fascinated by the lives of those who lived in London Society, and who had spent much of his time abroad in the colonies [which would appear to tie-in with E. Harcourt Burrage's comment that Hayward had "been a traveller in savage lands"]. It seems doubtful whether he had ever met Catherine, and he had therefore been forced to draw extensively on his imagination. The mystery surrounding her birth and childhood was not unravelled by him, and the reader was left with very little information about her youth ... However, he knew his London well enough, and his descriptions of his heroine in her early days in the town, when she was visiting the Argyll Rooms and Cremorne, had the ring of truth; but as a character sketch, they failed completely, for Catherine never emerged from these pages as other than a jolly and ordinary girl who encountered several not very dramatic adventures in the world of wealth and Society.
The jury is still out on the authorship of the Anonyma titles. Perhaps it required both authors to keep up with demand. And there was a demand. The books appeared at the rate of a new title every few weeks and soon began to attract negative attention in magazines and newspapers. A correspondent in The Athenaeum noted:
I have seen these books in the windows of respectable book-shops, and had no idea they were either better or worse than the novels which, having attained a certain favour, are reprinted in a cheap form. The other day, one of the books I speak of fell into my hands; it rejoiced in the title of 'Skittles: the History of a Fascinating Woman'. It was not without a degree of cleverness; it was not to be called indecent; it was simply infamous. The next day, in the columns of a morning paper, I saw a series of these precious books advertised; also, a series of the 'Women of London, illustrated'. These books are on the plan and in imitation of two atrocious French works, called 'Ces Dames' and the 'Memoires de Rigleboche'. They all have the same aim, which is to give pictures of life and manners of persons of whom wone would wish both one's sons and daughters to be ignorant. The English book is more demoralising than the French prototype, because it is better written, and the immorality treated in such a calm, decent, matter-of-fact manner that it will circulate where a gross book would be at once discerned and discarded.
The writer claimed that his reading of Skittles left him feeling degraded. Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper (30 October 1864) tackled "the 'yellow' fever" by asking "Are books like these to be permitted to enter our English homes, to fall into the hands of English matrons and English maidens? We are warned that the yellow covers already appear in places deemed respectable ... The Athenaeum correspondent asks whether this stream of pollution cannot be stayed! He asserts that the yellow books are not indecent within the meaning of the statute -- but that they are "infamous". There is a subtle -- but a most deadly poison in them."

The Athenaeum continued to cover the books in following issues: "Truly may they be called 'Anonyma Literature,' written as they are by fellows who are prudent enough to be anonymous; put forth by a proprietor who does not venture to publish them from his own house; and professing to narrate the adventures of women who have relinquished the names assigned to them by law and custom ... The two first books of the series, 'Anonyma' and 'Skittles', had some sale, their success being, in a great measure, attributable to their immorality being a matter of jest. The later volumes, however, have met with comparatively few purchasers, and if proper precautions are taken the unsold copies will either remain on the publisher's hands, or be sent to the chandler's."

A correspondent of the Pall Mall Gazette (5 September 1866) calling himself Chickering P. Bloodgood of Pantonia claimed "I am a literary detective, and keep a private inquiry office, where I pry into all secrets and solve all mysteries connected with authorship, be it anonymous or otherwise." Bloodgood wrote:
The flower and cream of this literature is unquestionably the "Anonyma-and-Skittles" series. Anyhow they are its most popular works; perhaps the most popular of all their contemporary books. They certainly beat everything in 1864 and 1865, just as "Ecce Homo" is beating everything in 1866. I know them by heart and I have studied contemporary manners in them with an earnest and a loving spirit -- and a thoughtful one too ... I have long wished to attribute these works to somebody. The workmanship is clearly not that of Jack Lennox, for there is no recherche food nor steam navigation in them. For want of a better idea I have accepted and propagated the theory that they are the work of the late Southey, alias Forwood, the murderer. I have come to this provisional conclusion mainly on literary grounds, for the two styles are absolutely identical with one another, being at the same time formed on the same model, at which I will not even venture a hint, much less repine, for it has the largest circulation in the world, and it is going to be the English of the future. Moreover, the suspension of all further issue of these works does curiously coincide with that of Southey alias Forwood. Partial friends have called this a good bit of detective work, and I have arched my back at the praise, though not fully satisfied with my own decision. But last Tuesday I fell upon something which has put me on an entirely new scent. I always read the Paris correspondence of the Daily Telegraph as a matter of course, for it falls within my beat. I see by your paper, Sir, that you do so likewise, and quite seriously too; and, therefore, may incline your ear to anything I may tell you about it. Well, Sir, before I had got through ten lines I came upon a tanza which lighted up my whole soul, as the lay of Blondel must have lighted up the soul of Richard in his dungeon. This was from a masterpiece of gents' poetry; whether written by some gentesque Dr. Watts, or sprung spontaneously out of the aggregate of gents, just as the ballad poetry of rude nations springs from the nation itself and not from any single author, I cannot say. I had no time nor heart to think either of the authorship or the merits of the fragment. What concerned me was that it was a fragment, and that it fitted in metre, rhythm, tone, style, treatment, idea, morals, and all, with another fragment, cited in one of the most impressive scenes of the book 'Skittles in Paris.' Now I have no wish to strip a single leaf from the literary laurels of so gifted and unfortunate a man as the late Mr. Southey, but I cannot conceal from myself that the new evidence points in a different direction; and my present theory is capable of being additionally supported by much internal proof out of the last-mentioned work. I have, in fact, achieved a surprising literary discovery; and it is with the view of communicating it forthwith to the public that I now have recourse to your columns.
Frustratingly, Bloodgood fails to mention who he believes authored Skittles in Paris. His identification of Stephen Forwood as Anonyma seems a little odd. Forwood was born in Ramsgate and was apprenticed to a baker; he later took over the business of a Mr. Jones but it collapsed in only 15 months. Moving with his wife and child to London, Forwood worked for a sailcloth manufacturer and afterwards as a commission agent. His wife and son returned to Ramsgate due to the son's ill-health; Forwood visited occasionally but, around 1858 or 1859, having by now adopted the name Ernest Walter Southey, he fell into financial difficulties and could no longer visit. He began making a livelihood playing billiards and writing begging letters and had a precarious life. In 1865, he poisoned the three children of a woman he had been cohabiting with in London, and then murdered his wife and a daughter in Ramsgate. He was tried and sentenced to hang in December 1865.

One wonders whether correspondent Bloodgood misheard one of his contacts and erroneously wrote about Stephen Forwood instead of Stephen Hayward.

The "author of 'Anonyma'" disappeared for some time, reappearing in 1867 with London By Night and, again, in 1869 with Formosa (based on a play by Dion Boucicault), Cora Pearl (the infamous Parisian courtesan) and Mabel Gray (a London girl known as Queen of the demi-monde whose photograph was a huge best-seller for four or five years in the 1860s). In March 1870, The Mordaunt Divorce Case, published by Evans, Oliver & Co., 81 Fleet-street, was advertised as "with an introduction by the Author of 'Cora Pearl', 'Mabel Gray', &c."

A final novel, Dalilah; or, The Little House of Piccadilly (1884) was later published by C. H. Clarke as being the work of "the author of 'Skittles'" and other titles; however, the book had appeared in The Million in 1870 bylined Maurice Connell, perhaps a pseudonym of the author who penned the Anonyma books as it is otherwise untraced.

1 comment:

Melissa Rossi said...

A fine bit of detective work! Bravo!