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Adventures and Letters

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
DEAR MOTHER:
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.
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