The Literati of New York/No. I/William M. Gillespie
Mr. William M. Gillespie aided Mr. Park Benjamin, I believe, some years ago, in the editorial conduct of "The New World," and has been otherwise connected with the periodical press of New York. He is more favourably known, however, as the author of a neat volume entitled "Rome as Seen by a New Yorker" — a good title to a good book. The endeavour to convey Rome only by those impressions which would naturally be made upon an American, gives the work a certain air of originality — the rarest of all qualities in descriptions of the Eternal City. The style is pure and sparkling, although occasionally flippant and dilletantesque. The love of remark is much in the usual way — selon les règles — never very exceptionable, and never very profound.
Mr. Gillespie is not unaccomplished, converses readily on many topics, has some knowledge of Italian, French, and, I believe, of the classical tongues, with such proficiency in the mathematics as has obtained for him a professorship of civil engineering at Union College, Schenectady.
In character he has much general amiability, is warm-hearted, excitable, nervous. His address is somewhat awkward, but "insinuating " from its warmth and vivacity. Speaks continuously and rapidly, with a lisp which, at times, is by no means unpleasing; is fidgety, and never knows how to sit or to stand, or what to do with his hands and feet, or his hat. In the street [he] walks irregularly, mutters to himself, and, in general, appears in a state of profound abstraction.
In person he is about five feet seven inches high, neither stout nor thin, angularly proportioned; eyes large and dark hazel, hair dark and curling, an illformed nose, fine teeth, and a smile of peculiar sweetness; nothing remarkable about the forehead. The general expression of the countenance when in repose is rather unprepossessing, but animation very much alters its character. He is probably thirty years of age — unmarried.