Stephen Collins Foster Biography - online book

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

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AMBITION
59
to make good "copy." As late as 1860 there are refer­ences in his letters to "Jane" and "Marian" (his daughter) and although his wife was not with him in New York at the time of his death in 1864, she came on immediately on receipt of the news and accompanied the body home. It is a subject that we would gladly pass over in silence, were it not for the fact that a true picture of Foster's life would be impossible without it. So much has already been written and said about his marriage and his in­temperance, that it would seem to be advisable to exam­ine both stories in the light of whatever authentic his­torical evidence there may be.
The only suggestion in any of the family letters or papers that Stephen's marriage was not happy is con­tained in a letter written in 1853 to Morrison Foster by his sister Henrietta, who was living in Youngstown, Ohio. Several lines have been carefully scratched out, evidently in deference to Stephen's memory, although no good purpose would seem to be served at this time by such deletion.
Youngstown, June 21st, 1853. My beloved Brother,
. . . . How sorry I feel for dear Stephy, though when I read your letter I was not at all surprised at the news it contained in regard to him and—(name scratched out). Last winter I felt con­vinced—(three lines scratched out, ending in the word "mistake"). Though I never wrote a word of the kind to Stephy, for I thought he had trouble enough already. Tell him to come out and stay a while with me; we have a delightful house, well shaded by trees and I know it must be pleasanter here than in Pittsburgh this hot weather. You did not tell me what he had done with little Marian. I feel quite concerned about her; dear little lamb, who is she with? Give much love to Stephy for me and tell him to feel assured that he has the prayers and sincere sympathy of his sister Etty. Dear boy, may God lead him in the ways of peace and fill his heart with that love which alone is satisfying and which never disappoints, a love that will take such complete possession of the soul, as to make all other loves but matters of small importance.
During the first year of his married life, Stephen worked industriously at his new vocation of song-writing. Fourteen songs were published in the year 1851; of ten the composer wrote the words as well as the music. If







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