Stephen Collins Foster Biography - online book

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

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32              STEPHEN COLLINS FOSTER
put it off for a couple of weeks, as Pa had not much more than the means of getting along. I thought I would write you this letter that you might consider over the matter. I will also have to payf a boarding bill at the end of every month, which will amount to $8.50, that is at the end of four weeks and a half, which generally makes a month, and if you see fit to send me a little of the [word illegible] once in a while I will insure you there is no inducements here to make me spend my money unnecessarily. I will also have to pay about $1.25 per week for washing as I have to keep myself very clean here.
I would inform you in the meantime I need another summer coat or two, especially for Sunday.
The Ohio river is very low and falling gradually. The boats have ceased running.
As I have made out a middling long letter and am clear out of information (news) I would only say, wishing you a safe journey home and through life and that I may some day be fit to render thanks to you for your unceasing kindness to me, I remain your ever grateful and affectionate brother.
Stephen.
These noble and worthy sentiments did not serve to
keep him in college for very long, as three weeks later his
mother writes to William:
Pittsburgh, August 12th, 1841. . . . . Stephen will not stay at Canonsburg; he says he has lost conceit of himself because he was once in his life a great fool and that was when he did not go back with brother William. He begs me to ask you to say that he must board with Ma and go to day school. Indeed, if I am in Alleghany town, I shall be almost too lonely without one child with me, for if I should be ill I would be in a bad way.
Stephen's own rather lame explanation of his leaving school is contained in the following letter to his brother, written from Pittsburgh, August 28:
My dear Brother,
I suppose you are surprised and probably displeased at me for not being more punctual in writing to you every fortnight as you wished to have me do. I will therefore proceed to make my best excuses.
When I wrote you from Canonsburg, I did not tell you whether I liked the place or not (if I remember right), but now I will take the liberty of telling you that I became more disgusted with the place as long as I stayed in it. It is not a good time to begin college in the middle of the session, as I could not get into any class for three or four days after I went there,and when I did get started in a recitation it was in irregular hours.
If I had gone as a regular student I might have been examined and got along very easily, but going as I did, just to stay a session or two, I suppose they did not care much whether I was attentive or not. Besides when I had been there but five days I took sick from a dizziness in my head occasioned by an overflow of the blood, and







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