Stephen Collins Foster Biography - online book

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

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82               STEPHEN COLLINS FOSTER
day from a long visit home. Mrs. Foster and Maggie are quite well. Your account of your appearance on the stage rather got them.
I am much obliged to you for that dog, "Rat Trap," as we call him on account of his well-known ferocity towards those animals. You must pardon me if I inform you that he is now with us no more. He continued to devour shoes, stockings, spools, the cat, and everything else that he could find lying around loose. At last we held a council of war and thought that we would put him in the yard, then we thought we wouldn't. We concluded at last to put him in the cellar. There he stayed for three days and howled all the time and would have howled till now if I had not let him out. I was afraid the neighbors would inform on us for keeping a nuisance. Soli­tary confinement did not agree with him. He lost his appetite. Then I gave him some garlic as you had instructed me. This gave him a sort of diarrhea and he got to Mit's room and defiled his bed, then he scattered Mit's dirty shirts over the floor, sprinkled his shoes and played hob generally. This performance seemed to bring him to his appetite, for the same evening he stole a whole beef steak off the kitchen table and swallowed it raw. We concluded this was too much to stand even from "friendship's offering," so I made up my mind to trade him off. John Little had a friend in Chicago who wanted just such a dog, so he gave me a very fine Scotch terrier eighteen months old for him. "Trap" is enjoying the lake breezes. / am very much obliged to you for that dog.
James Buchanan has just come in to see me, so here I will wind up.
Your friend,
Stephen C. Foster.
Morrison Foster thus describes his brother: "A stranger meeting him for the first time would have observed nothing striking in his appearance, but an acquaintance and a few moments' observation of and conversation with him would satisfy him that he was in the presence of a man of genius who, however modest in his demeanor, was accustomed to look deep into the , thoughts and motives of men.
"In person he was slender, in height not over five feet seven inches. His figure was handsome; exceedingly well proportioned. His feet were small, as were his hands which were soft and delicate. His head was large and well proportioned. The features of his face were regu­lar and striking. His nose was straight, inclined to aquiline, his nostrils full and dilated. His mouth was regular in form and the lips full. His most remarkable







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