Adventures and Letters HTML version

New York
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.