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An Indianapolis newsboy had this to caught him up and covered him with tell of Riley: “This morning we were kisses who won his heart? No, it was talking about your birthday and the the people whose hearts he thought he teacher asked us if we knew or ever saw you. I was the only one in the “So with this little, strange child in room that raised my hand. I told her the room, I would sit still and pretend that I have sold you many newspapers
to be talking with the grown-up people. by the market. She asked me if you But I never ceased to be conscious of ever gave me
him for a minany tips, as us
ute-only I newsboys call
wouldn't have them. I told the
let him know teacher that one
that for the day you gave me
world. I wooed a quarter tip.”
him instead as Riley never
subtly as asked a newsboy
lover wooed for change.
and, when you explained, “were
consider it, a lovvery scarce when
er woos as if his I was a boy."
sweetheart were On just one
a child, underoccasion he was
valuing what is drawn into an
too easily won, intimate talk in
and overestimatwhich he re
ing what is hard vealed from his
to possess. vivid memory of
So I would hold the boy he used
out my hand to to be the real
the child with all * secret of his un
the absent-mindderstanding of
edness I could children.
muster, and I “There is al
would keep on James Rule, Whitcomb Rule, Riley Rule ways beside me
talking. The litthe little boy
tle, strange child I used to be, and I can think his would watch like a little, shy rabbit, and thoughts, and live his hopes and his come a little nearer, and a little nearer, tragedies now, just as much as I could and finally he would be standing with when I looked like him.
my arm around him, and all the while I “We have great times together—this would be talking to some one else, and little boy and l-and we are never more not seeming to pay him the slightest intimate than when some other little attention. Then at length he would bechild is near us. I have sat here by gin to make timid efforts to attract my the fire, or by somebody else's fire, notice, and, finally, I would let him. and have seen a little, strange child After that we would be fast friends."
come into the room when it seemed as Riley took his correspondence with in if he must know how much alike we children seriously. Always he saw that
were and that I must go and talk with no child's letter went neglected, even him. But I never did go to him right though he himself had ordinarily no away, or call him to me. Why? Be more than time to read the messages. cause the little boy I used to be was Often he replied with little souvenir at my elbow, and I remembered very bookmarks or Christmas cards which well how he used to like to have people he ingeniously devised, or booklets of treat him. Was it the people who verses in facsimile of his handwriting. made an affectionate rush at him and He always was thoughtful and consid
TRIPLETS NAMED AFTER THE POET
erate of their feelings. If there were A little girl, the daughter of old two in the family two souvenirs exactly friends, wrote from his native town, alike must go.
Greenfield, for a contribution for her And so the hosts of small friends who school paper. Riley replied: wrote to him were never forgotten by
Miss HELEN DOWNING: Riley. They were held to him not
DEAR FRIEND AND FELLOW CITIZEN,—It is only by his poems, but by the personal just impossible for me to write a suitable letter which cheered. There are men article for "The High School Budget,” in and women to-day who have preserved the time you give me, being now a child no as a most precious memory a cherished more. But I want you to tell “the Graduate letter from Riley like this one:
ing Class,” for me, that, as their view of the
World which they are now about to enter JAMES L. MURRAY:
might make Providence alter His plans quite DEAR LITTLE BOY,-No-sir-ee! I couldn't
a good deal, each worthy pupil ought to write verses when I was nine years old like think ahead, and so put the great Master to you. But, as you do, I could get verses “by
the least possible embarrassment. Well can heart," for speeches at School-only I al I fancy-in the old days with what surprise ways got pale and sick and faint when I
He ultimately found an utterly unpromising tried to speak 'em-and my chin wobbled, "scholar” amounting to something. So, and my throat hurt, and then I broke clean
say to you—in lieu of any literary attempt down and cried. Oughtn't I been ashamed
on my part to break into “The Budget” of myself? I bet you ain't goin' to cry-in while the editors are looking the other way,the Second Room of the A Grade!
tell all the children, in High or Low school, I was sorry to hear your mother died
that here's an old schoolboy a-bettin' on 'em when you were only one year old. My all-thinkin', trustin' and knowin' that mother is dead, too; and so I wouldn't be everyone of 'em is goin' to do his and her
very surprised if your mother and my mother were level-best to make things "unembarrassing" together right now, and know each other, for the One Supreme Master of us all. and are the best friends in their World, just as you and I are in this. My best respects to your good father and teachers all.
As to the old song-rhymes of mine you deEver your friend,
sire to print-Yes, put 'em in "The Budget,” JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY.
if they're worthy-which I doubt.... And To another and older boy, the son of
now, my dear child, let me startle you a Riley's life-long friend, Dr. Franklin
trifle, maybe, by telling you that right in the W. Hays, the poet sent a letter with
midst of all you lovely children is a little
... 'cause he's the verses , "A Simple Recipe -Show- chap you never see at all!
a ghost!--And a nawful happy shore-'nuff ing How to Make the Right Kind of ghost!--And it's me!—Back to Greenfield-a Man Out of the Right Kind of a my home,-and your home—and your parBoy."
ents' home—and the best home outside of DEAR FRIEND TOM,—You have written me
Heaven. a mighty fine letter and as interesting and
So, with all hale greetings to everybody, I entertaining, from start to finish, as Gentry's
am your old Hoosier friend and schoolmate, show of trick-animals—in the highly enthusi
James WHITCOMB Riley. astic midst of which
To little Elizabeth Page, who wrote
about a “beautiful collie pup honored “The Baby Elephant goes round and round, The band begins to play,
with the name of James Whitcomb Riley And the little boys under the monkey's cage
Page," the poet replied: Had better git out o' the way!"
Dear ELIZABETH Page, You have sent
me a mighty good letter, and I thank you The little pony the poodle rides,
heartily. I receive a great number of letAnd the “munk” that beats him too— ters, mostly written by grown-up people, The wild sea-hoss, and the 'noss-e-ross, and it is really surprising how uninteresting The koot, and the kangaroo!
they can be.
Give me a letter any time from the ElizaIndeed the letter is as though I were an beth Pages of this world. What you say in excited spectator of the whole delightful per appreciation of your “Daddy”, goes spang formance. .
to the spot.
That is right, bet on your Your affectionate old friend,
"Daddy above all other men however James WHITCOMB Riley. bright they shine in the spotlight of your
picture of Budiz Sumar when he mus a Bally: truly boy, und the t montes The little window when
Riley's Home the son came perping
out at mornin kring on the reach sides of the house non continu inn
Free wat nito. B.R
A POST-CARD TO “DORY ANN," WRITTEN FROM THE POET'S OLD HOME AT GREENFIELD, INDIANA
gubernatorial halls. And the dog James be brave and gallant in our affliction and I Whitcomb Riley Page at once romps into think the Good Lord will eventually reward my affections. As you say, you “hope he us,-reward us with the good health of our will be a smart dog” and if he is not you will more fortunate constituents. I mean some change his name to Edgar Allen Poe.” I time to answer your invitation and stop to agree with you, as I too dislike Poe so much
see you, just as soon as I find myself a little that I am glad he is not here to be embar less unwieldy. rassed thereby.
Present my best wishes and regards to Thank you very much also for liking my your parents and believe me always books, and always have your "Daddy”
Very truly your friend, my friend—to interpret them to you.
JAMES WHITCOMB Riley. By the way, though, you must spell Allan with an a, as Mr. Poe was very touchy on
Among the letters of Riley to chilthat point.
dren, those to the little niece of his As ever and always your old friend, lifelong friend, Miss Edith M. Thomas,
JAMES POPCORN RILEY. the poet, have a particular interest. During Riley's last years, on hearing in the inevitable course of events she
With her Riley exchanged letters until of the serious illness of the little son of his old friend, the late Senator Kern of grew up. In a child's spirit, and often Indiana, Riley wrote a sympathetic
in its language, he made some of the
most intimate revelations of his charnote:
acter. Among his papers was found this DEAR John KERN, JR.,—You are a brother unfinished letter begun but never sent. invalid but you have the edge on me, for you She had written to express her delight are able to write your own letters while I in “Orphant Annie” and “The Runhave not made a scratch of a pen for nearly
away Boy.” Riley prepared this reply: three
years. It is very good to hear from you, although I feel that I know you well for DEAR LITTLE FRIEND, One time an old your father's sake.
middle-aged man-a very middle-aged manWe are patients of the same doctor and who from his childhood had been playing like you I enjoy Mr. Noblet's ministrations. that he was a poet-got some sure-enough As yet I walk about the same as you do from books of poetry-pieces printed, at last, and his description, but am earnestly hoping that sprinkled them over his friends like salt on you and I will ca per about together at some cantalopes; and then leaned back and early future time. All we have to do is to waited for applause and laughed to himself
so that he would not miss any voice of praise weeks. In a letter telling of her accident out of the vast chorus of the world at large. she inclosed her photographs. Few litAnd—he is listening still—though, like the
tle girls ever received a more deft mesbass kings in the O-r-tao-ri-o,
sage of comfort than this:
MY DEAR Miss MEDAIRY DORY ANN,-No
use trying, for I just can't tell you how HA!
proud I am of your letter and the portraits
too-though to save me I can't see, by your And yet not quite in vain has he been listen- picture, which arm it is that has been hurting ing all these years, for now and then faint
so.—Strange that the artist should take the murmurous accents like yours reach his al
arm so lifelike and yet leave out the ache! most starving senses; and as he hears them, Surely he must have neglected something, the old man's fancies find his Youth again the day you say—wasn't it a dark, damp, sort and all the childish joys that once were his.
of a day, so that the chemicals smelled too So veritably young he is that he goes dancing thick? or did the artist fail to smother himback to his old make-believes, and plays that
self long enough under the velvet cover of he's a poet, just as then.
his camera? or did he, by some fateful overMiss Medairy Dory Ann
sight, fail to instruct you to “look pleasant, Cast her line and caught a man,
"lift the chin,” “moisten the lips," "wink' But when he looked so pleased (alack!)
like a kinettescope and "hold perfectly She unhooked and plunked him back, - still,”—all at one and the same sneezible “I never like to catch what I can,
instant! Be this all as it may, I'm rejoiced Said Miss Medairy Dory Ann.
at the beautiful result—the portraits both
to adorn the walls of my already storied It would be interesting to know why Temple of Fame. Yes, and I'm going to try this letter was never sent. It seems not to take your advice as to writing more at all unlikely that Riley did not send “Runaway Boys” and “Orphant Annies.”
Very gratefully your old Hoosier friend,
JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY.
In one of her first letters the little girl tried to coax the poet to New
York for a visit by exw why pressing the hope that if
he came they might have "ice cream and salted almonds for dinner.” A little later Riley addressed a letter to her signed “Bud,” the name he went by as a child:
Dear frund i rite to Let
The Worlds in bed all
White like its Ma Said
Night. it because he wanted to write to the ever thine yore littel po-itry friend, little girl as a mere friend and not in the
BUD RILEY. person of a poet. Riley always called After that “Dory Ann” addressed her “Dory Ann," after an old-fashioned him as “Bud” Riley. At Christmasname from the memories of his childhood. time the poet and the little girl regularly When the letters began, the child was in exchanged presents. “Dory Ann's the hospital suffering from an injury to first gift to the poet is of interest beher arm which kept her there for many cause of the letter it inspired:
Our tracher Miss King,
And Feel thee you the inerea
And looks like a custard pic.
DEAR FRIEND DORY ANN,- Indeed I did good-and-creamy, I've got it all licked up! get your fine Christmas present, and beau So I think, when you hint about some folks tiful as it is, I've had it in use ever since it being “pretty mean," that you must have in came. When I read the wondrously wrought mind a certain girl I know—and that's you letters of the legend on it, “Cuffs and Col your-own-sef! (and I spelt self thataway lars," then I seemed to know at once justa-purpose.) But the other day I was a little what it was for, and so I rushed back up to mean, I guess,—when my little third-cousin my room with it and hung it up ins’antly; Helen broke away from her Pa (my secondand then all joyously I took off my cuffs and cousin) and his Pa (my first-cousin) and ran collar and put
right in front of a them in their ex
streetcar and alquizut lovely case
under the -And “O how
wheels, when her sweet they looked
Pa grabbed her, in that ellagunt re
and she was 'most septicul" I then
about to cry, and I exclaimed, radiant
laughed at her and with delight un
clapped my hands speakable. And
and said “Goody! now, ever since,
goody! goody! when callers come
you come purt'to see me, Dennis
near' a-gittin' run tells 'em “Yes'm,
over! GoodyMist' Riley's here,
Goody! that's but I spec' he
what you git when cain't see nobody
you're only ist no more, caze he's
somebody's thirdgot a Christmus
cousin!” gif what he's got
All right about sich a 'miration for
the turkey that dat he done keep
died of old age, his cuffs and col
waiting for me to luhs in it all de
come help eat him! time! — Yes'm –
-If that's a pictan' done sent word
ure of him you to ev'body for to
made, why I think skusen him he
he wasn't the kind cain't come down,
of turkey folks eat, caze he aint got on
anyhow 'cause no cuffs and col
you made him lahs, an co’se he EDITH THOMAS MEDAIRY
with four legs, like cain't come down It is this photograph of "Dory Ann" to which
a work-stand, so no more!"
Riley refers in his letter on the preceding page you ought to have Yours with ever
made casters growing thanks
him 'stead o' and tears of rapchurus Joy. BUD RILEY. toes! Eatin'-turkeys has only got two legs. Next Valentine's Day Riley sent her
Here's a picture of a eatin'-turkey:
And here's a Eatin'-turkey poem:a book, for which Dory Ann thanked him, and added this comment:
When Dory Ann she gave a tea Aunt Edith said people died and made
She specially invited me, you sad. I am sorry. Grim (my cat) just
With other children, two or three, died and I am sad too. When are you coming
And asked us all to come quick! to eat ice cream and turkey?
"Because,” she wrote, “dear friends I've got “Bud” discussed turkey with her year A turkey for you, steaming hot, in and year out.
And each of you—forget it not
Shall have a savory drumstick!" DEAR DORY ANN,-Your last letter was so short I couldn't laugh over it only just a little. And then you choose such small But when her four guests came, and she words and write them in so big a hand on Cut off one turkey-leg for me
weenty-teenty page, that just And one for her—why, there were three about the time your letter gets to tasting More guests might suck their thumbs slick!