Stephen Collins Foster Biography - online book

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

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DRIFTING                                73
Evidently he was still in Pittsburgh at the time his sister's letter was written, as she refers, in her invitation, to her house "well shaded by trees," as being "pleasanter than Pittsburgh this hot weather."
Morrison Foster says:
He had received very flattering offers from his publishers in New York, and strong inducements to make that city his home. He removed there and had every favorable prospect that a young man could hope for. He was paid a certain sum for every song he might choose to write, besides a royalty on the copies printed.
He went to house-keeping and liked New York very much. But after a year the old fondness for home and mother began to be too strong for him to overcome. One day he suddenly proposed to his wife that they return to Pittsburgh. He brought a dealer to the house, sold out everything in the way of furniture, and within twenty-four hours was on the road to the home of his father in Alleghany. He arrived late at night and was not expected. When he rang the bell, his mother was awakened and knew his footsteps on the porch. She arose immediately and went down herself to let him in. As she passed through the hall she called out, "Is that my dear son come back again?" Her voice so affected him that when she opened the door she found him sitting on the little porch-bench weeping like a child.
The date, circumstances and length of the sojourn in New York are shrouded in mystery.
Here is the only available bit of documentary evidence bearing on the subject:
New York, July 8, 18S3. My dear brother, [Morrison]
Your letter of the 6th is received. The vest arrived safely, I am glad you sent it. I wish you would send me Messrs. Firth, Pond & Co.'s note for $125, which I gave you. In my anxiety to pay you I rather stinted myself, expecting to be able to live modestly at home, but circumstances have increased my expenses, as you know, since that time. They have just rendered my account, which is over $500, and that for the dullest season in the year. So you see my prospects are good, but I dare not claim any money until these notes are paid. The full amount of my account current is passed to my credit and balance due to be claimed after that time. If you will let me have the note, I will take the first occasion to pay you. I am not living expensively and I hope it will not be long before I can pay you back the amount. I made it payable to your order, so if you send it, don't forget to endorse it.
I am getting along first rate, with plenty of work to keep me busy. Hippodrome no humbug, races there very exciting. Taylor's Saloon great. Sontag in opera with Salvi & Co. next week, Crystal Palace in a week. Fourth of July here good for nervous sick people I dare say. Cleared myself out of town, went over to Staten Island and

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