Argles, Theodore Emile (Argyles; Harold Grey)

nlaTheodore Emile Argles (Argyles) (1851-1886)  also wrote under the pen names Harold Grey, The Devil in Sydney, The Moocher and The Pilgrim.

Born in London, Argles is referred to by co-founder of The Bulletin, John Haynes, as Harold Grey. Sylvia Lawson writes Haynes praised Grey, “as there never was a more polished satirical writer in Australia” (2006; 90). Although  Marcus Clarke  also wrote satirical literary journalism, Grey focused on Sydney rather than Melbourne.

Grey was entrepreneurial, publishing  Scenes in Sydney by Day and Night: Social Sketches of Sydney under the pseudonym “The Moocher (1878) and Harold Grey’s The Pilgrim: a sensational weekly pamphlet, (1879) which is thought to be a response to the Vagabond’s papers about poverty in Melbourne and Sydney (Wantrup, 2012). He also contributed to the Evening News; Freeman’s Journal and edited Common Cause in Adelaide (1879).

Lawson (2006) places Grey among the first Bulletin writers, writing reviews. It is likely, given it is stylistically similar to Grey’s other work,  that he also wrote the satire  “A Heavy Wet”  under the pseudonym, The Man in The Bottomless Pit. The article concerns a visiting preacher who performed public baptisms and it was published in the first Bulletin (1880).

However, Grey’s satire wasn’t appreciated by everyone. When writing poetry under the pseudonym The Devil in Sydney, Lawson recounts, ‘Haynes claimed, “half the populace, with clenched fist, was in search of the Devil in Sydney”‘ (Lawson 2006;90) .

A  January 1879  Newcastle Morning Herald article headlined ‘Harold Grey, alias ‘The Pilgrim’ in Trouble Again’ stated he was asked to leave Melbourne due to a past forgery conviction, but also mentions Grey’s immersive visits to prisons and asylums in Adelaide and yet another pseudonym, Arthur Russell.

After his death in 1886, The Pilgrim was remembered in his obituary for his ‘cleverness and wit that lit up newspapers’.

Selected Articles:

  • “Poverty Point”,  Scenes in Sydney by Day and Night, 1878
  • “Aspasia and Co”, Scenes in Sydney by Day and Night, 1878
  • A Heavy Wet“, The Bulletin, January 31, 1880 (unconfirmed).
  • “Vortex of Vice”,  Scenes in Sydney by Day and Night 1878