Stephen Collins Foster Biography - online book

A Biography Of America's Folk-Song Composer By Harold Vincent Milligan

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BOYHOOD                19
buy black ink but if I had ^fy whistle I would be so taken with it I do not think I would write a tall, there has been a sleighing party this morning with twenty or thirty cupples Dr. Bane got home last night and told us Henry was coming out here. I wish Dunning would come with him. Tell them both to try to come for I should like to see them both most two much to talk about. I remane your loving son,
Stephen C. Foster
A letter from "Mother," written in June of the same year, records that "Stephen has recovered from the whooping cough and is going to school with Morrison to Mr. Todd."
This Mr. Todd, like Mr. Stockton and most of the educators of that time and region, was a Presbyterian minister. His instruction laid special emphasis upon Latin and Greek, and he ite reported to have referred to Stephen as "the most perfect gentleman he ever had for a pupil."
"Little Stephy's" musical talents had been in evidence before this time. There is a family tradition that, at the age of two, he would lay his sister's guitar, which he called his "ittle pizano" (little piano) on the floor and pick out harmonies on it. There may be some truth in this pretty legend as far as the guitar is concerned, but it is extremely doubtful if "Little Stephy" at the age of two, had ever seen or heard a piano. It was not until twenty years later that the first "upright" piano was brought across the mountains to Pittsburgh, and "grand" pianos were certainly not familiar objects there in 1828. At any rate, we know that the Foster family did not possess one at that time. Possibly the guitar was "the deep-toned instrument" mentioned in the letter at the beginning of this chapter in connection with the death of Charlotte.
There is also a story of Stephen's accompanying his mother on a shopping trip at the age of seven, and while in the music store of Smith & Mellor, in Pittsburgh, picking up a flageolet off the counter, and in a few minutes, unaided and indeed unobserved, so mastering

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III