Stephen Foster youth's golden gleam - online book

His Life And Background In Cincinnati 1846 - 1850 by Raymond Walters

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16               Youth's Golden Gleam
of the big Ohio-Mississippi boats is depicted by Mark Twain who, a decade later (i 856-1857) was- to live in Cincinnati for a short time, work­ing there as a printer.20 We need only imagine Stephen instead of Mark exploring "a big New Orleans boat/' Said Mark:
I began to prowl about the great steamer and fill myself with joy. She was as clean and dainty as a draw-ingroom; when I looked down her long, gilded saloon, it was like gazing through a splendid tunnel; she had an oil-picture, by some gifted sign-painter, on every stateroom door; she glittered with no end of^ prism-fringed chandeliers; the clerk's office was elegant; the bar was marvellous. . . . The boilerdeck [i.e., the second story of the boat, so to speak] was as spacious as a church, it seemed to me; so with the forecastle; and there was no pitiful handful of deck-hands, firemen, and roustabouts down there, but a whole battalion of men. The fires were fiercely glaring from a long row of furnaces, and over them were eight huge boilers. This was unutter­able pomp.21
The pomp and the glory were symbolic of the very real economic importance of the steamboat in that period. River Commerce or River Intelligence was a standing head-

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