Stephen Collins Foster Biography - online book

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

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DRIFTING
85
"He was very simple in his taste, and no matter how well his income justified it, he shrank from everything like display. The simplest forms of food satisfied him. Indeed, he never appeared to care what was set before him on the table. If it appeased hunger it was all he cared for.
"His companions were seldom ever musicians. Out­side of his own studies and performances he seemed to prefer to get away from music and musical topics. But he was very fond of the society of cultured people and men of genius in walks entirely different from his own."
From the same authority we quote several anecdotes illustrative of his character:
"This sensitive man had the nerve and courage of a lion physically. From earliest childhood he was noted for his courage, coolness and skill in the combats which continually occur among boys of the same town. As he grew up, no odds ever seemed to awe him. He was known as one who must be let alone, and was held in high respect accordingly.
"One night as he was returning home from Pittsburgh to Alleghany, he found at the end of the bridge two brutes abusing and beating a drunken man. He of course inter­fered, and fought them both rough and tumble all over the street. He managed to pick up a piece of board in the scramble, with which he beat one almost senseless and chased the other ingloriously from the field. A knife wound in the cheek, received in the encounter, left a scar which went with him to his grave.
"His sympathies were always with the lowly and the poor. Once on a stormy winter night a little girl, sent on an errand, was run over by a dray and killed. She had her head and face covered by a shawl to keep off the peltings of the storm and in crossing the street she ran under the horses' feet. Stephen was dressed and about going to an evening party when he learned of the tragedy. He went immediately to the house of the little







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