Of the many completely happy periods of Richard's life there were few more joyous than the first years he spent as a reporter in New York. For the first time he was completely his own master and paying his own way--a condition which afforded him infinite satisfaction. He was greatly attached to Brisbane and as devoted to the interests of The Evening Sun as if he had been the editor and publisher. In return Brisbane gave him a free rein and allowed him to write very much what and as he chose. The two men were constantly together, in and out of office hours, and planned many of the leading features of the paper which on account of the brilliancy of its news stories and special articles was at that time attracting an extraordinary amount of attention. Richard divided his working hours between reporting important news events, writing specials (principally about theatrical people), and the Van Bibber stories, nearly all of which were published for the first time in The Evening Sun. These short tales of New York life soon made a distinct hit, and, while they appeared anonymously, it was generally known that Richard was their author. In addition to his newspaper work my brother was also working on short stories for the magazines, and in 1890 scored his first real success in this field, with "Gallegher," which appeared in Scribner's. This was shortly followed by "The Other Woman," "Miss Catherwaite's Understudy," "A Walk up the Avenue," "My Disreputable Friend, Mr. Raegen," "An Unfinished Story," and other stories that soon gave him an established reputation as a writer of fiction. But while Richard's success was attained in a remarkably short space of time and at an extremely early age, it was not accomplished without an enormous amount of hard work and considerable privation. When he first went to New York his salary was but thirty dollars a week, and while he remained on The Evening Sun never over fifty dollars, and the prices he received for his first short stories were extremely meagre. During the early days on The Evening Sun he had a room in a little house at 108 Waverly Place, and took his meals in the neighborhood where he happened to find himself and where they were cheapest. He usually spent his week-ends in Philadelphia, but his greatest pleasure was when he could induce some member of his family to visit him in New York. I fear I was the one who most often accepted his hospitality, and wonderful visits they were, certainly to me, and I think to Richard as well. The great event was our Saturday-night dinner, when we always went to a little restaurant on Sixth Avenue. I do not imagine the fifty-cent table d'hote (vin compris) the genial Mr. Jauss served us was any better than most fifty-cent table-d'hote dinners, but the place was quaint and redolent of strange smells of cooking as well as of a true bohemian atmosphere. Those were the days when the Broadway Theatre was given over to the comic operas in which Francis Wilson and De Wolfe Hopper were the stars, and as both of the comedians were firm friends of Richard, we invariably ended our evening at the Broadway. Sometimes we occupied a box as the guests of the management, and at other times we went behind the scenes and sat in the star's dressing-room. I think I liked it best when Hopper was playing, because during Wilson's regime the big dressing-room was a rather solemn sort of place, but when Hopper ruled, the room was filled with pretty girls and he treated us to fine cigars and champagne.
Halcyon nights those, and then on Sunday morning we always breakfasted at old Martin's on University Place eggs a la Martin and that wonderful coffee and pain de menage. And what a wrench it was when I tore myself away from the delights of the great city and scurried back to my desk in sleepy Philadelphia. Had I been a prince royal Richard could not have planned more carefully than he did for these visits, and to meet the expense was no easy matter for him. Indeed, I know that to pay for all our gayeties he usually had to carry his guitar to a neighboring pawn-broker where the instrument was always good for an eight-dollar loan. But from the time Richard first began to make his own living one of the great pleasures of his life was to celebrate, or as he called it, to "have a party." Whenever he had finished a short story he had a party, and when the story had been accepted there was another party, and, of course, the real party was when he received the check. And so it was throughout his life, giving a party to some one whom a party would help, buying a picture for which he had no use to help a struggling artist, sending a few tons of coal to an old lady who was not quite warm enough, always writing a letter or a check for some one of his own craft who had been less fortunate than he--giving to every beggar that he met, fearing that among all the thousand fakers he might refuse one worthy case. I think this habit of giving Richard must have inherited from his father, who gave out of all proportion to his means, and with never too close a scrutiny to the worthiness of the cause. Both men were too intensely human to do that, but if this great desire on the part of my father and brother to help others gave the recipients pleasure I'm sure that it caused in the hearts of the givers an even greater happiness. The following letters were chosen from a great number which Richard wrote to his family, telling of his first days on The Evening Sun, and of his life in New York.
YORK Evening Sun--1890
Today is as lovely and fresh as the morning, a real spring day, and I feel good in consequence. I have just come from a couple of raids, where we had a very lively time, and some of them had to pull their guns. I found it necessary to punch a few sports myself. The old sergeant from headquarters treats me like a son and takes the greatest pride in whatever I do or write. He regularly assigns me now to certain doors, and I always obey orders like the little gentleman that I am. Instead of making me unpopular, I find it helps me with the sports, though it hurts my chances professionally, as so many of them know me now that I am no use in some districts. For instance, in Mott and Pell streets, or in the Bowery, I am as safe as any precinct detective. I tell you this to keep you from worrying. They won't touch a man whom they think is an agent or an officer. Only it spoils my chances of doing reportorial-detective work. For instance, the captain of the Bowery district refused me a detective the other morning to take the Shippens around the Chinese and the tougher quarters because he said they were as safe with me as with any of the other men whose faces are as well known. To-night I am going to take a party to the headquarters of the fire department, where I have a cinch on the captain, a very nice fellow, who is unusually grateful for something I wrote about him and his men. They are going to do the Still Alarm act for me.
These clippings all came out in to-day's paper. The ladies in the Tombs were the Shippens, of course; and Mamie Blake is a real girl, and the story is true from start to finish. I think it is a pathetic little history.
Give my love to all. I will bring on the story I have finished and get you to make some suggestions. It is quite short. Since Scribner's have been so civil, I think I will give them a chance at the great prize. I am writing a comic guide book and a history of the Haymarket for the paper; both are rich in opportunities. This weather makes me feel like another person. I will be so glad to get home. With lots of love and kisses for you and Nora.
Brisbane has suggested to me that the Bradley story would lead anyone to suppose that my evenings were spent in the boudoirs of the horizontales of 34th Street and has scared me somewhat in consequence. If it strikes you and Dad the same way don't show it to Mother. Dad made one mistake by thinking I wrote a gambling story which has made me nervous. It is hardly the fair thing to suppose that a man must have an intimate acquaintance with whatever he writes of intimately. A lot of hunting people, for instance, would not believe that I had written the "Traver's Only Ride" story because they knew I did not hunt. Don't either you or Dad make any mistake about this.
As a matter of fact they would not let me in the room, and I don't know whether it abounded in signed etchings or Bougereau's nymphs.
Today has been more or less feverish. In the morning's mail I received a letter from Berlin asking permission to translate "Gallegher" into German, and a proof of a paragraph from The Critic on my burlesque of Rudyard Kipling, which was meant to please but which bored me. Then the "Raegen" story came in, making nine pages of the Scribner's, which at ten dollars a page ought to be $90. Pretty good pay for three weeks' work, and it is a good story. Then at twelve a young man came bustling into the office, stuck his card down on the desk and said, "I am S. S. McClure. I have sent my London representative to Berlin and my New York man to London. Will you take charge of my New York end?"
If he thought to rattle me he was very much out of it, for I said in his same tone and manner, "Bring your New York representative back and send me to London, and I'll consider it. As long as I am in New York I will not leave The Evening Sun."
"Edmund Gosse is my London representative," he said; "you can have the same work here. Come out and take lunch." I said, "Thank you, I can't; I'll see you on Tuesday."
"All right," he said. "I'll come for you. Think of what I say. I'll make your fortune. Bradford Merrill told me to get you. You won't have anything to do but ask people to write novels and edit them. I'll send you abroad later if you don't like New York. Can you write any children's stories for me?"
"No," I said, "see you Tuesday."
This is a verbal report of all and everything that was said. I consider it a curious interview. It will raise my salary here or I go. What do YOU think? DICK.
The more I thought of the McClure offer the less I thought of it. So I told him last night I was satisfied where I was, and that the $75 he offered me was no inducement. Brisbane says I will get $50 about the first of October, which is plenty and enough for a young man who intends to be good to his folks. I cannot do better than stay where I am, for it is understood between Brisbane and Laffan that in the event of the former's going into politics I shall take his place, which will suit very well until something better turns up. Then there is the chance of White's coming back and my going to Lunnon, which would please me now more for what I think I could make of it than what I think others have made of it. If I had gone to McClure I would have been shelved and side-tracked, and I am still in the running, and learning every day. Brisbane and I have had our first serious difficulty over Mrs. R----, who is staying with Mrs. "Bill." There is at present the most desperate rivalry, and we discuss each other's chances with great anger. He counts on his transcontinental knowledge, but my short stories hit very hard, and he is not in it when I sing "Thy Face Will Lead Me On" and "When Kerrigan Struck High C." She has a fatal fondness for Sullivan, which is most unfortunate, as Brisbane can and does tell her about him by the half hour. Yesterday we both tried to impress her by riding down in front of the porch and showing off the horses and ourselves. Brisbane came off best, though I came off quickest, for my horse put his foot in a hole and went down on his knees, while I went over his head like the White Knight in "Alice." I would think nothing of sliding off a roof now. But I made up for this mishap by coming back in my grey suit and having it compared with the picture in The Century. It is a very close fight, and, while Brisbane is chasing over town for photographs of Sullivan, I am buying books of verses of which she seems to be fond. As soon as she gets her divorce one of us is going to marry her. We don't know which. She is about as beautiful a woman as I ever saw, and very witty and well-informed, but it would cost a good deal to keep her in diamonds. She wears some the Queen gave her, but she wants more.
DEAR MOTHER (LATE MA):
I am well and with lots to do. I went up to see Hopper the other night, which was the first time in three months that I have been back of a theater, and it was like going home. There is a smell about the painty and gassy and dusty place that I love as much as fresh earth and newly cut hay, and the girls look so pretty and bold lying around on the sets, and the men so out of focus and with such startling cheeks and lips. They were very glad to see me and made a great fuss. Then I've been to see Carmencita dance, which I enjoyed remarkably, and I have been reading Rudyard Kipling's short stories, and I think it is disgusting that a boy like that should write such stories. He hasn't left himself anything to do when he gets old. He reminds me of Bret Harte and not a bit of Stevenson, to whom some of them compare him.
I am very glad you liked the lady in mid-air story so much, but it wasn't a bit necessary to add the MORAL from a MOTHER. I saw it coming up before I had read two lines; and a very good moral it is, too, with which I agree heartily. But, of course, you know it is not a new idea to me. Anything as good and true as that moral cannot be new at this late date. I went to the Brooklyn Handicap race yesterday. It is one of the three biggest races of the year, and a man stood in front of me in the paddock in a white hat. Another man asked him what he was "playing."
"Well," he said, "I fancy Fides myself."
"Fides!" said his friend, "why, she ain't in it. She won't see home. Raceland's the horse for your money; she's favorite, and there isn't any second choice. But Fides! Why, she's simply impossible. Raceland beat HER last Suburban."
"Yes, I remember," said the man in the white hat, "but I fancy Fides."
Then another chap said to him, "Fides is all good enough on a dust track on a sunny, pleasant day, but she can't ran in the mud. She hasn't got the staying powers. She's a pretty one to look at, but she's just a 'grandstand' ladies' choice. She ain't in it with Raceland or Erica. The horse YOU want is not a pretty, dainty flyer, but a stayer, that is sure and that brings in good money, not big odds, but good money. Why, I can name you a dozen better'n Fides."
"Still, somehow, I like Fides best," said the obstinate man in the white hat.
"But Fides will take the bit in her mouth and run away, or throw the jock or break into the fence. She isn't steady. She's all right to have a little bet on, just enough for a flyer, but she's not the horse to plunge on. If you're a millionaire with money to throw away, why, you might put some of it up on her, but, as it is, you want to put your money where it will be sure of a 'place,' anyway. Now, let me mark your card for you?"
"No," said the man, "what you all say is reasonable, I see that; but, somehow, I rather fancy Fides best."
I've forgotten now whether Fides won or not, and whether she landed the man who just fancied her without knowing why a winner or sent him home broke. But, in any event, that is quite immaterial, the story simply shows how obstinate some men are as regards horses and--other uncertain critters. I have no doubt but that the Methodist minister's daughter would have made Hiram happy if he had loved her, but he didn't. No doubt Anne ----, Nan ----, Katy ---- and Maude ---- would have made me happy if they would have consented to have me and I had happened to love them, but I fancied Fides.
But now since I have scared you sufficiently, let me add for your peace of mind that I've not enough money to back any horses just at present, and before I put any money up on any one of them for the Matrimonial stakes, I will ask you first to look over the card and give me a few pointers. I mayn't follow them, you know, but I'll give you a fair warning, at any rate.
"You're my sweetheart, I'm your beau."
NEW YORK, May 29, 1890.
This is just a little good night note to say how I wish I was with you down at that dear old place and how much I love you and Nora who is getting lovelier and sweeter and prettier everyday and I know a pretty girl when I see 'em, Fides, for instance. But I won't tease you about that any more.
I finished a short silly story to night which I am in doubt whether to send off or not. I think I will keep it until I read it to you and learn what you think.
Mr. Gilder has asked me to stay with them at Marion, and to go to Cambridge with Mrs. Gilder and dear Mrs. Cleveland and Grover Cleveland, when he reads the poem before D. K. E.
I have bought a book on decorations, colored, and I am choosing what I want, like a boy with a new pair of boots.
Good-night, my dearest Mama.
In addition to his regular work on The Evening Sun, my brother, as I have already said, was devoting a great part, of his leisure moments to the writing of short stories, and had made a tentative agreement with a well-known magazine to do a series of short sketches of New York types. Evidently fearful that Richard was writing too much and with a view to pecuniary gain, my mother wrote the following note of warning:
I wouldn't undertake the "types." For one thing, you will lose prestige writing for ----'s paper. For another, I dread beyond everything your beginning to do hack work for money. It is the beginning of decadence both in work and reputation for you. I know by my own and a thousand other people. Begin to write because it "is a lot of money" and you stop doing your best work. You make your work common and your prices will soon go down. George Lewes managed George Eliot wisely.
He stopped her hack work. Kept her at writing novels and soon one each year brought her $40,000. I am taking a purely mercenary view of the thing. There is another which you understand better than I-- Mind your Mother's advice to you--now and all the time is "do only your best work--even if you starve doing it." But you won't starve. You'll get your dinner at Martin's instead of Delmonico's, which won't hurt you in the long run. Anyhow, $1000. for 12,500 words is not a great price.
That was a fine tea you gave. I should like to have heard the good talk. It was like the regiment of brigadier generals with no privates.
This is a letter written by my father after the publication of Richard's story "A Walk up the Avenue." Richard frequently spoke of his father as his "kindest and severest critic."
PHILADELPHIA, July 22nd, 1890.
10.30 P. M.
MY DEAR Boy:
You can do it; you have done it; it is all right. I have read A Walk up the Avenue. It is far and away the best thing you have ever done--Full of fine subtle thought, of rare, manly feeling.
I am not afraid of Dick the author. He's all right. I shall only be afraid--when I am afraid--that Dick the man will not live up to the other fellow, that he may forget how much the good Lord has given him, and how responsible to the good Lord and to himself he is and will be for it. A man entrusted with such talent should carry himself straighter than others to whom it is denied. He has great duties to do; he owes tribute to the giver.
Don't let the world's temptations in any of its forms come between you and your work. Make your life worthy of your talent, and humbly by day and by night ask God to help you to do it.
I am very proud of this work. It is good work, with brain, bone, nerve, muscle in it. It is human, with healthy pulse and heartsome glow in it. Remember, hereafter, you have by it put on the bars against yourself preventing you doing any work less good. You have yourself made your record, you can't lower it. You can only beat it.
In the latter part of December, 1890, Richard left The Evening Sun to become the managing editor of Harper's Weekly. George William Curtis was then its editor, and at this time no periodical had a broader or greater influence for the welfare of the country. As Richard was then but twenty-six, his appointment to his new editorial duties came as a distinct honor. The two years that Richard had spent on The Evening Sun had been probably the happiest he had ever known. He really loved New York, and at this time Paris and London held no such place in his affections as they did in later years. And indeed there was small reason why these should not have been happy years for any young man. At twenty-six Richard had already accomplished much, and his name had become a familiar one not only to New Yorkers but throughout the country. Youth and health he had, and many friends, and a talent that promised to carry him far in the profession he loved. His new position paid him a salary considerably larger than he had received heretofore, and he now demanded and received much higher terms for his stories. All of which was well for Richard because as his income grew so grew his tastes. I have known few men who cared less for money than did my brother, and I have known few who cared more for what it could buy for his friends and for himself. Money to him, and, during his life he made very large sums of it, he always chose to regard as income but never capital. A bond or a share of stock meant to him what it would bring that day on the Stock Exchange. The rainy day which is the bugaboo for the most of us, never seemed to show on his horizon. For a man whose livelihood depended on the lasting quality of his creative faculties he had an infinite faith in the future, and indeed his own experience seemed to show that he was justified in this belief. It could not have been very long after his start as a fiction writer that he received as high a price for his work as any of his contemporaries; and just previous to his death, more than twenty years later, he signed a contract to write six stories at a figure which, so far as I know, was the highest ever offered an American author. In any case, money or the lack of it certainly never caused Richard any worriment during the early days of which I write. For what he made he worked extremely hard, but the reputation and the spending of the money that this same hard work brought him caused him infinite happiness. He enjoyed the reputation he had won and the friends that such a reputation helped him to make; he enjoyed entertaining and being entertained, and he enjoyed pretty much all of the good things of life. And all of this he enjoyed with the naive, almost boyish enthusiasm that only one could to whom it had all been made possible at twenty-six. Of these happy days Booth Tarkington wrote at the time of my brother's death:
"To the college boy of the early nineties Richard Harding Davis was the 'beau ideal of jeunesse doree,' a sophisticated heart of gold. He was of that college boy's own age, but already an editor--already publishing books! His stalwart good looks were as familiar to us as were those of our own football captain; we knew his face as we knew the face of the President of the United States, but we infinitely preferred Davis's. When the Waldorf was wondrously completed, and we cut an exam. in Cuneiform Inscriptions for an excursion to see the world at lunch in its new magnificence, and Richard Harding Davis came into the Palm Room--then, oh, then, our day was radiant! That was the top of our fortune; we could never have hoped for so much. Of all the great people of every continent, this was the one we most desired to see."
Richard's intimate friends of these days were Charles Dana Gibson, who illustrated a number of my brother's stories, Robert Howard Russell, Albert La Montagne, Helen Benedict, now Mrs. Thomas Hastings, Ethel Barrymore, Maude Adams, E. H. Sothern, his brother, Sam, and Arthur Brisbane. None of this little circle was married at the time, its various members were seldom apart, and they extracted an enormous amount of fun out of life. I had recently settled in New York, and we had rooms at 10 East Twenty-eighth Street, where we lived very comfortably for many years. Indeed Richard did not leave them until his marriage in the summer of 1899. They were very pleasant, sunny rooms, and in the sitting-room, which Richard had made quite attractive, we gave many teas and supper-parties. But of all the happy incidents I can recall at the Twenty-eighth Street house, the one I remember most distinctly took place in the hallway the night that Richard received the first statement and check for his first book of short stories, and before the money had begun to come in as fast as it did afterward. We were on our way to dinner at some modest resort when we saw and at once recognized the long envelope on the mantel. Richard guessed it would be for one hundred and ninety dollars, but with a rather doubting heart I raised my guess to three hundred. And when, with trembling fingers, Richard had finally torn open the envelope and found a check for nine hundred and odd dollars, what a wild dance we did about the hall-table, and what a dinner we had that night! Not at the modest restaurant as originally intended, but at Delmonico's! It was during these days that Seymour Hicks and his lovely wife Ellaline Terriss first visited America, and they and Richard formed a mutual attachment that lasted until his death.
Richard had always taken an intense interest in the drama, and at the time he was managing editor of Harper's Weekly had made his first efforts as a playwright. Robert Hilliard did a one-act version of Richard's short story, "Her First Appearance," which under the title of "The Littlest Girl" he played in vaudeville for many years. E. H. Sothern and Richard had many schemes for writing a play together, but the only actual result they ever attained was a one-act version Sothern did at the old Lyceum of my brother's story, "The Disreputable Mr. Raegen." It was an extremely tense and absorbing drama, and Sothern was very fine in the part of Raegen, but for the forty-five minutes the playlet lasted Sothern had to hold the stage continuously alone, and as it preceded a play of the regulation length, the effort proved too much for the actor's strength, and after a few performances it was taken off. Although it was several years after this that my brother's first long play was produced he never lost interest in the craft of playwriting, and only waited for the time and means to really devote himself to it.
BOSTON, January 22nd, 1891.
This is just to say that I am alive and sleepy, and that my head is still its normal size, although I have at last found one man in Boston who has read one of my stories, and that was Barrymore from New York. The Fairchilds' dinner was a tremendous affair, and I was conquered absolutely by Mr. Howells, who went far, far out of his way to be as kind and charming as an old man could be. Yesterday Mrs. Whitman gave a tea in her studio. I thought she meant to have a half dozen young people to drink a cup with her, and I sauntered in in the most nonchalant manner to find that about everybody had been asked to meet me. And everybody came, principally owing to the "Harding Davis" part of the name for they all spoke of mother and so very dearly that it made me pretty near weep. Everybody came from old Dr. Holmes who never goes any place, to Mrs. "Jack" Gardner and all the debutantes. "I was on in that scene." In the evening I went with the Fairchilds to Mrs. Julia Ward Howe's to meet the S----s but made a point not to as he was talking like a cad when I heard him and Mrs. Fairchild and I agreed to be the only people in Boston who had not clasped his hand. There were only a few people present and Mrs. Howe recited the Battle Hymn of the Republic, which I thought very characteristic of the city. To-day I posed again and Cumnock took me over Cambridge and into all of the Clubs where I met some very nice boys and felt very old. Then we went to a tea Cushing gave in his rooms and to night I go to Mrs. Deland's. But the mornings with the Fairchilds are the best. DICK.
In the spring of 1891 my mother and sister, Nora, went abroad for the summer, and the following note was written to Richard just before my mother sailed:
This is just to give my dearest love to you my darling. Some day at sea when I cannot hear you nor see you, whenever it is that you get it--night or morning---you may be sure that we are all loving and thinking of you.
Keep close to the Lord. Your Lord who never has refused to hear a prayer of yours.
Just think that I have kissed you a thousand times.
FRANKLIN SQUARE, NEW YORK.
Your letters are a great delight to me but I think you are going entirely too quickly. You do not feel it now but you are simply hurrying through the courses of your long dinner so rapidly that when dessert comes you will not be up to it. A day or two's rest and less greed to see many things would be much more fun I should think, and you will enjoy those days more to look back to when you wandered around some little town by yourselves and made discoveries than those you spent doing what you feel you ought to do. Excuse this lecture but I know that when I got to Paris I wanted to do nothing but sit still and read and let "sights" go-- You will soon learn not to duplicate and that one cathedral will answer for a dozen. And I am disappointed in your mad desire to get to Edinboro to get letters from home, as though you couldn't get letters from me every day of your life and as if there were not enough of you together to keep from getting homesick. I am ashamed of you. But that is all the scolding I have to do for I do not know what has given me more pleasure than your letters and Nora's especially. They tell me the best news in the world and that is, that you are all getting as much happiness out of it as I have prayed you would. I may go over in September myself. But I would only go to London. Now, then for Home news. I have sold the "Reporter Who Made Himself King" to McClure's for $300. to be published in the syndicate in August. I have finished "Her First Appearance" and Gibson is doing the illustrations, three. I got $175. for it.
I am now at work on a story about Arthur Cumnock, Harvard's football captain who was the hero of Class Day. It will come out this week and will match Lieut. Grant's chance. In July I begin a story called the "Traveller's Tale" which will be used in the November Harper. That is all I am doing.
So far the notices of "Gallegher" have been very good, I mean the English ones.
I went up to Class Day on Friday and spent the day with Miss Fairchild and Miss Howells and with Mr. H. for chaperone. He is getting old and says he never deserved the fuss they made over him. We had a pretty perfect day although it threatened rain most of the time. We wandered around from one spread to another meeting beautifully dressed girls everywhere and "lions" and celebrities. Then the fight for the roses around the tree was very interesting and picturesque and arena like and the best of all was sitting in the broad window seats of the dormitories with a Girl or two, generally "a" girl and listening to the glee club sing and watching the lanterns and the crowds of people as beautiful as Redfern could make them.
Half of Seabright was burnt down last week but not my half, although the fire destroyed all the stores and fishermen's houses and stopped only one house away from Pannachi's, where I will put up. I am very well and content and look forward to much pleasure this summer at Seabright and much work. I find I have seldom been so happy as when working hard and fast as I have been forced to do these last two weeks and so I will keep it up. Not in such a way as to hurt me but just enough to keep me happy. DICK.
NEW YORK, August 1891. From The Pall Mall Budget Gazette.
"The Americans are saying, by the way, that they have discovered a Rudyard Kipling of their own. This is Mr. Richard Harding Davis, a volume of whose stories has been published this week by Mr. Osgood. Mr. Davis is only twenty-six, was for sometime on the staff of the New York Evening Sun. He is now the editor of Harper's Weekly."
That is me. I have also a mother and sister who once went to London and what do you think they first went to see, in London, mind you. They got into a four wheeler and they said "cabby drive as fast as you can," not knowing that four wheelers never go faster than a dead march--" to-- "where do you think? St. Paul's, the Temple, the Abbey, their lodgings, the Houses of Parliament--the Pavilion Music Hall--the Tower--no to none of these--"To the Post Office." That is what my mother and sister did! After this when they hint that they would like to go again and say "these muffins are not English muffins" and "do you remember the little Inn at Chester, ah, those were happy days," I will say, "And do you remember the Post Office in Edinburgh and London. We have none such in America." And as they only go abroad to get letters they will hereafter go to Rittenhouse Square and I will write letters to them from London. All this shows that a simple hurriedly written letter from Richard Harding Davis is of more value than all the show places of London. It makes me quite PROUD. And so does this:
"'Gallegher' is as good as anything of Bret Harte's, although it is in Mr. Davis's own vein, not in the borrowed vein of Bret Harte or anybody else. 'The Cynical Miss Catherwaight' is very good, too, and 'Mr. Raegen' is still better."
But on the other hand, it makes me tired, and so does this:
"'The Other Woman' is a story which offends good taste in more than one way. It is a blunder to have written it, a greater blunder to have published it, and a greater blunder STILL to have republished it."
I suppose now that Dad has crossed with Prince George and Nora has seen the Emperor, that you will be proud too. But you will be prouder of your darling boy Charles, even though he does get wiped out at Seabright next week and you will be even prouder when he writes great stories for The Evening Sun.
16 Gramercy Park.
I had a great day at the game and going there and coming back. I met a great many old football men and almost all of them spoke of the "Out of the Game" story. Cumnock, Camp, Poe, Terry and lots more whose names mean nothing to you, so ignorant are you, were there and we had long talks. I went to see Cleveland yesterday about a thing of which I have thought much and talked less and that was going into politics in this country. To say he discouraged me in so doing would be saying the rain is wet. He seemed to think breaking stones as a means of getting fame and fortune was quicker and more genteel. I also saw her and the BABY. She explained why she had not written you and also incidentally why she HAD written Childs. I do not know as what Cleveland said made much impression upon me--although I found out what I could expect from him--that is nothing here but apparently a place abroad if I wanted it. But he thought Congress was perfectly feasible but the greatest folly to go there.
Sorry, no summary available yet.