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During the early Victorian era, Thackeray published over five hundred articles in over twenty periodicals; but the varying circumstances of these writings are obscure. Following the money trail (i.e., identifying and matching specific writings and payments) clarifies terms and rates of pay and supports narrative expositions of Thackeray’s periodical relationships. Thackeray wrote out of financial need. On a per-character basis, the payments which drove his choice of venues are shown to have varied by a factor of 5. Thackeray’s income from periodicals is shown to have peaked at £60–70 per month before the advent of Vanity Fair.