Horace Greeley: Printer, Editor, Crusader

By Henry Luther Stoddard | Go to book overview

Why I Have Written

I CANNOT recall the exact date but certainly I was not quite ten years old when, after climbing two high steps to the door at the rear of a Broadway coach and floundering through the deep, dirty straw that in winter was then always used to cover the aisle floor, I sat with my mother opposite an old man whose white hair and thin fringe of white whiskers like a collar rimming his pinkish cheeks presented a strange picture to me. Looking up over his newspaper he raised his broad-brimmed felt hat in courteous salute, smiled graciously and spoke to her once -- only once. Immediately the page he was reading was again held close to his nearsighted eyes; he knew us no more. My mother had met Horace Greeley several times while visiting my uncle Henry Luther Stuart, who then lived in a Gramercy Park house near the' Greeley home at 35 East Nineteenth Street, and for many years had been on terms of friendship with him.

That was seventy-five years ago, yet I still have clearly in mind the kindly face that for an instant smiled also at me across the aisle -- just once -- but the abiding impression made upon me was the spectacles. They seemed so big and the eyes behind them were so little and so blue! They held my wondering attention until at Canal Street we left the stage.

"The man didn't say good-by," I commented to my mother as we reached the sidewalk.

"No," she replied, "he didn't see us getting out."

Of course not even a boy's wildest imagination could have

-xi-

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