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HOME > Biographical > A Book About Myself > CHAPTER LIII
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 Well, such was my brother Paul and now he was here. Never before was he so much my dear brother as now. So generally admirable was he that I should have liked him quite as much had he been no relative. After a few moments of explanation as to my present state I offered to share my room with him for the period of his stay, but he declined. Then I offered to take him to lunch, but he was too hurried or engaged. He agreed to come to my room after the show, however, and offered me a box for myself and my new friends. So much faith did I have in the good sense of Peter, Dick and Rodenberger, their certainty of appreciating the charm of a man like Paul, that I brought them to the theater this same night, although I knew the show itself must be a mess. There was a engine in this show, with a heroine lying across the rails! My dear brother was a comic switchman or engineer in this act, roars of low-brow laughter by his antics and jokes.  
I shall never forget how my three friends took all this. Now that he was actually here they were good enough to take him into their affectionate consideration on my account, almost as though he belonged to them. He was “Dreiser’s brother Paul,” even “Dear old Paul” afterwards. Because working conditions favored us that night we all three on the Havlin together, sitting in the box while the show was in progress but spending all the intermissions in Paul’s dressingroom or on the back of the stage. Having overcome his first surprise and possibly dislike of my brash newspaper manner, he was now all smiles and plainly delighted with my friends, Rodenberger and Peter, especially the latter, appealing to him as characters not unlike himself, individuals whom he could understand. And in later years, when I was in New York, he was always asking after them and singing their praises. Dick also came in for a share of his warm affection, but in a slower way. He thought Dick amusing but queer, like a strange animal of some kind. On subsequent tours which took him to St. Louis he was always in touch with these three. Above all things, the grotesqueries of McCord’s mind moved him immensely. Peter’s personality and daring unconventionality seemed to fascinate Paul. “Wonderful boy, that,” he used to say to me, almost as though he were a deep secret. “You’ll hear from him yet, mark my word. You can’t lose a kid like that.” And time proved quite plainly that he was right.
During the play Paul sang one of his own compositions, The Bowery. It was an exceptional comic song, quite destructive of the good name of the Bowery forever, so much so that ten years later the merchants and property owners of that famous thoroughfare petitioned to have the name of the street changed, on the ground that the involved in the song had destroyed its character as an honest business street forever. So much for the import of a silly , and the passing song—writer. What are the really powerful things in this world anyhow?
After the show we all to some scowsy music hall in the vicinity of this old theater, which Dick insisted by reason of its very wretchedness would amuse Paul, although I am sure it did not (he was never a satirist). And thence to my room, where I had the man who provided the midnight lunch for the workers at the Globe spread a small feast. I had no piano, but Paul sang, and Peter gave an imitation of a street player who could manipulate at one and the same time a drum, mouth-organ and . We had to beat my good brother on the back to keep him from choking.
But it was during a week of breakfasts together that the first impressive conversations in regard to New York occurred, conversations that finally me with the feeling that I should never be quite satisfied until I had reached there. Whether this was due to the fact that I now told him about my present state and ambitions or dreams and my somewhat success here, or that he was now coming to the place where he was able to suggest ways and means and at the same time indulge the somewhat paternalistic in himself, I do not know, but during the week he persisted in the most florid descriptions of New York and my duty to go there, its import to me intellectually and otherwise; and finally he convinced me that I should never reach my true intellectual unless I did. Other places might be very good, he insisted, they all had their value, but there was only one place where one might live in a keen and vigorous way, and that was New York. It was the city, the only city, a wonder-world in itself. It was great, wonderful, marvelous, the size, the color, the tang, the beauty.
He went on to explain that the West was narrow, slow, not really alive. In New York one might always do, think and act more freely than anywhere else. The air itself was . All really ambitious people, people who were to do or be anything, eventually drifted there—editors, newspaper men, actors, , song-writers, musicians, money-makers. He to himself as a case in point, how he had ventured there, a gawky stripling doing a , and how one , now of antique “Bowery Theater” fame, had seized on him, carried him along and forwarded him in every way. Some one was certain to do as much for me, for any one of ability. In passing, he now that only recently, from having been the star song-writer for a well-known New York music publisher (Willis Woodward), he had succeeded, with two other men, in organizing a music publishing company in which he had a third interest, and which was to publish his songs as well as those of others and was pledged to pay him an honest (a thing which he insisted had not so far been done) as well as a full share as partner. In addition, under the friendly urging of an ambitious manager, he was now writing a play, to be known as “The Green Goods Man,” in which within a year or two he would appear as star. Also he reminded me that our sister E——, who had long since moved to New York (as early as 1885), was now living in West Fifteenth Street, where she would be glad to receive me. He was always in New York in the summer, living with this sister. “Why not come down there next summer when I am there off the road, and look it over?”
As he talked, New York came nearer than ever it had before, and I could see the light of conviction and enthusiasm in his eye. It was plain, now that he had seen me again, that he wanted me to succeed. My friends had already sung my praises to him, although he himself could see that I was fast emerging from my too shy youth. St. Louis might be well enough, and Chicago—but New York! New York! One who had not seen it but who was eager to see the world could not help but and up his ears.
It was during this week that I gave the supper mentioned, and took my fiancée to meet my brother. I am satisfied that she liked him, or was rather amused by him, not understanding the least detail of his life or the character of the stage, while the sole comment that I could get out of him was that she was charming but that if he were in my place he would not think of marrying yet—a statement which had more light thrown on it years later by his to if not dislike of her, altho............
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