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Under Guggy's picture ran the the legend: "Holton first, last and always -that's Guggy Ralston." In the back was a section for signatures and mottoes. "Good old Gug," followed by the signature of Captain Lugger Haines. "Guggy, you're an ace, and here's hoping you're never in a hole; Jake Stevens." "To my old shipmate, the best Holton man ever," etc. etc. Guggy laid the book on the parlor table, and used to look at it every night before going to bed. As he turned the pages a sweet smile would come over his face, and he'd murmur, "That was a great year at Holton. Guess I'll go back for the Alumni Day game with Saugus."
After the Holton incident was officially closed, Guggy began to look for a job, “in a sales capacity," and was not notoriously successful in finding one. Benedict Brown, the local haberdasher, had just hired a man, and so the ideal berth for Guggy was unfortunately occupied. Finally he took a job as tire salesman, handling the goods of a cheap shyster company. He had no office and no stock, but shipped his orders directly from the factory.
To complain to Guggy was to receive immediate satisfaction, and he spent his commissions "making good" on tires that his company had never guaranteed. Finally, people found out that he was easy, and began to work him for adjustments on all sorts of pretexts. The poor kid was no match for his gentry, and on my advice he announced his withdrawal from the tire business. He became a house-to-house canvasser, selling magazine-subscriptions, soaps and fountain-pen ink all one winter. He barely made expenses, and the
constant walking almost wore him out. His old hernia came back on him occasionally, and made walking an agony, but he kept up his door-todoor campaign without complaint, until one day Father Gillen saw his condition and got him a job as messenger in the Boston National Bank.
Guggy started in at twelve dollars a week and worked two years without ever getting a raise. He made his rounds in the morning, gathering petty cash deposits from customers; in the afternoon he sorted cancelled checks until four o'clock, then walked out on State Street a free man until eight-thirty the next morning. With this freedom he did nothing particularly good or bad. It was his custom to walk down to the North Station, gazing in shop windows as he went, take the 4.47 local, drop into Cullen's Pool-Parlor for an hour, then come home for supper. At our family suppers there never was any passionate exchange of ideas, but we liked to see one another and usually got along without much bickering. If there was any joshing Guggy was always the good-natured butt. After a few remarks about Holton, and an emulous observation on a top-coat he had seen in Benedict Brown's show-window, he would call up his friend Jip Kelly, and together they might call on a couple of girls or play penny-ante with the gang. Once Guggy came home mildly drunk, but was so sick the next day that he never touched liquor again. A package of cigarettes lasted him three days, and he always carried a paper of five-cent caramels in his coat pocket. He fancied his own poker game, but I never heard of his winning more than sixty-five cents at
a time. His particular admiration a blonde, tailored gray-eyed piece of
was Frank Crumit, the musical comedy tenor; he bought all of Crumit's records and played them every evening on the phonograph. After listening to the record for a couple of nights, Guggy would warble it softly to himself, then try it out on the family. The effect was not unmusical and I often wished we had a spare thousand to spend on his voice. He might have made a hit in smalltime vaudeville, but he never got any greater encouragement than second prize in an amateur-night contest held by the local Casino.
Guggy liked the girls and the girls seemed to like him, too. He had the usual succession of sweeties until he was twenty-two; club-dances and movies were the entertainment he offered them, but because he was making only twelve dollars a week, marriage was out of the picture. He seemed satisfied to plug along innocently enough—until he met Jill Flaggett. Then he fell down and broke his crown, but Jill did not come tumbling after. As Jip Kelly remarked: "He fell for her and she let him lay."
Jill was secretary to Clyde Morressey, "President" of the Wage-Earners Investment Corporation, a here-today-and-gone-to-morrow brokerage racket with two desks in a fiftydollar a month office on Broad Street. The Wage-Earners Investment Corporation dealt in job lots of unlisted stock; it reamed, fleeced and otherwise attended to the needs of the suburban boobisserie who came in with a hundred dollars and bleatingly confided to Jill that they were all set for a killing; which they passively were. The part was written for Jill
female marble who could be stunningly confidential with "the right parties." Why she ever paid any attention to Guggy when she was surrounded by gamier curb-men and hundred-share plungers, is not easily explained. Perhaps she had illusions about his supply of cash, or his chances at the bank. She made no secret of her admiration for ready money and what it could do. To keep her illusions bright, Guggy withdrew his hundred and fifty dollars from the bank and bought Jill a sapphire dinner-ring. Guggy was a dear, and sapphire rings were very nice; but winter was coming, and Jill needed a new beaver jacket.
This may explain why Guggy started reading stock quotations after supper. At first I kidded him, called him young Durant, and asked him how General Motors was coming along. With literal seriousness he told me he wasn't interested in Motors, but in Grisco Linoleums, an unlisted subsidiary of American Leather.
"Who says it's a subsidiary of American Leather?" I asked.
"Jill did, and she ought to know. Clyde Morressey, the president of her company, has put ten thou' into it in the last month. Ought to be a pretty good buy, don't you guess?" I could only reassure him with a mocking, "If Jill says so, it must be so."
"That's just what I say. I wish I had just about five hundred bucks, I'd trail right along behind Morressey. You got to have money to make it these days." And with this bit of aphoristic wisdom, he dove into the stock sheet again and didn't come up all evening.
One night about a week later he did not come home to supper. For Guggy to miss the 4.47 was a domestic catastrophe, an omen lightly to be thrust aside. So when the telephone rang, I leaped for it. Guggy's voice, thin and frightened, was at the other end.
"Come down to the bank," he said. He did not have to add, "I'm in trouble."
I reached the bank in twenty minutes. A guard led me to the treasurer's office. As I entered, the treasurer was striding up and down the room; Guggy, shrunken and afraid, sat at a little table. I patted him on the shoulder as one might pat a good old dog that has accidentally knocked over a china vase. Then the treasurer handed me the check he had been fingering. I saw immediately what had happened. By a palpable erasure it had been raised from thirty dollars to three hundred, the substitutions inexpertly made in Guggy's illiterate scrawl.
"Bungling stupidity," I observed. "Precisely," said the treasurer. "And why young fellows attempt it, I can't understand. However, that doesn't make it any less a felony; and in this case it isn't helping us recover our three hundred dollars. Your brother is-er-secretive, Mr. Ralston, as to what he did with the money; it's my belief that he is shielding some one."
I turned to Guggy. He was so dumbly helpless and ineffectual that I could not bear to be harsh with him. "Let's have it straight, old boy," I said. "The straighter the better for all. Now what happened?"
Guggy struggled to keep back the tears. Then hesitantly he began;
"Do you realize, Ralston," asked the treasurer, not unkindly, "that check-raising is a felony, punishable by ten to twenty years in prison?"
Guggy shook his head, and a fat tear dripped from his unlined cheek.
"No," I said, "he doesn't realize it. He's so thick and gullible that he doesn't realize he's been messing around with a couple of crooks. And he never will realize it. But now, Mr. Treasurer, if you'll consider a plea for leniency, I propose that you give us a chance to make restitution, full and immediate—and that you permit me to find my brother a place in some other line of business, away from the Street and the temptation of loose money. You can see he's not vicious; why, he isn't even plausible. And there are circumstances that his misguided sense of chivalry won't permit him to mention. You'll be merciful and humanly wise, sir, if you'll give him another chance."
The treasurer was thoughtful. "If
your brother were cleverer, I should certainly be obliged to hand him over to the law. But he's too too pitifully dull-witted and goodnatured to be clapped into prison for ten years. Naturally, we can't have him around the bank any longer. Take him away, and for God's sake don't expose him to any more cashhandling jobs. Let him wait on trade in-in some clothing store. That's about his gait. And as for the money, bring it in as soon as you can, tomorrow, if possible. You are quite welcome, sir; I hope your brother gets straightened out. Good-night, gentlemen, good-night."
When we arrived home I said that we had been to a movie and that Guggy felt sick. He went to his room and was sick. No one suspected anything, and there was only a mild flutter of surprise when Guggy informed the family a week later that he had left the bank and was working for Benedict Brown, the clothier. At Brown's he got thirteen a week; he had no carfares to pay and could eat three meals a day at home. Finally, he could exert a sartorial influence in the old home town. He liked the job; and from the first day, made a hit with the local boys who wanted counsel in matters of "What the Man Shall Wear." He held the old customers and attracted new ones. Within a year he had paid me back every penny of the three hundred dollars I had put up for him. He added, of his own accord, eighteen dollars interest. Then he got himself a nice girl, went with her for a year and at the age of twenty-seven was happily married by Father Gillen's successor, Father Spears.
accepted a professorship in a Western college. It meant the breaking of home ties, and I haven't seen Guggy since the day he put me on the train. But he writes me every month, and his letters are as naïve as ever. He has left Benedict Brown's, and now owns a small haberdashery shop in Holton, as near the campus as he can get. His shop is called "The Toggery," and when times are good he sells many neckties and shirts to the thinly gilded youth of the academy. As an old Alumnus, he claims the privileges of extending credit to all Holton men, and of lecturing them fraternally on the importance of being earnest in matters scholastic. He has a little house, with a sleepingporch and a lawn and an enormously long hose. He takes his wife and baby out riding in the family "coop" on pleasant evenings. He belongs to no lodges; to be enrolled among the number of Holton men is glory and happiness enough for him. He always puts a new dollar in the box at mass, and according to his latest letter, will have another baby around December.
Dear Guggy, I see you now cheering for Holton, or wrapping up some shirts and neckties for a young academician who is going to ask you to charge it. "Sure," you will say. I feel again your warm hand-shake as you bade me good-by at the train; promising to write, and wishing me all the good things that brothers can wish each other. You will never go to college; neither will you ever go to prison. Sweet, stupid, lovable Guggy -how shall we who are cleverer, harder, bitterer-how shall we estimate the depth and tenderness of
It is nearly three years now since I your gentle heart?
Fifty Years of Music with Grace-Notes on To-Day
FIND it somewhat difficult to draw a true and complete picture of the founding of the Symphony Society of New York by my father, Leopold Damrosch, fifty years ago. Even to-day my feelings are somewhat mixed, my memories contradictory. My pride in this notable Society with its great influence on the development of music throughout the country, and in New York particularly, is clouded by the anxieties of those early days-the difficulties my father encountered, the malicious attacks made on him by friends of Theodore Thomas, who resented the coming of another orchestral conductor to New York. I recall my father telling of his introduction to Thomas in the old Schubert music-store on Union Square, and that Thomas's first words were:
"I hear that you are a fine musician, Dr. Damrosch, but I want to tell you one thing. Whoever crosses my path, I crush."
In the fall of 1876, my father was elected conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra. It was then, and for many years after, a coöperative body of orchestral musicians, banded together for the purpose of studying and publicly performing symphonic works. They were the pioneers;
their history most honorable; and for years they prospered greatly, dividing among themselves the net proceeds of the concerts. Their decline began when their conductor, Carl Bergman, was incapacitated by an illness which often prevented him from properly officiating. They also suffered from the competition of Theodore Thomas, who had formed an orchestra of his own, though a number of the Philharmonic musicians played with him also. One of the difficulties resulting from this double membership, was that whenever Thomas had a profit-promising out-of-town engagement, such musicians as belonged to both orchestras sent substitutes to the Philharmonic, because the tours of the Thomas orchestra paid them better.
When my father became conductor of the Philharmonic, it was financially and artistically at its lowest ebb. With characteristic energy he proceeded to clean house and reëstablish the discipline of former years. He received the heartiest support from the majority of the members, some of whom were idealists, caring all for art and nothing for dollars. But from those who did not wish to give up the practice of sending substitutes, he encountered opposition. There were about a dozen