総集編1-2J. P. スーザ自叙伝"Marching Along"…「悪童」バイオリン奏者からオペラ指揮者デビューまで



















Whether pastry and music can be prevailed upon to go hand in hand is a question. Of course there is one classic instance ― M. Rageuneau in Cyrano de Bergerac, whose pastry-cooks delighted in presenting him with a lyre of pie crust! The fact remains, however, that I once came very near being a baker instead of a bandmaster. 




A violinist begins a tone with a turn of the wrist which may best be described as the compelling impulse. A compelling impulse turned me baker's apprentice! My father had enrolled me in the conservatory of music of Professor John Esputa, Washington, D. C., and at the end of my last year there, our pleasant relationship of master and pupil was marred by a personal combat. 




The professor had been afflicted with boils, and was reclining in a hammock swung near the stove in the recitation room, when I came for my violin lesson. I observed that he was in a very bad humor but began my exercises, unheeding. Nothing I did met with his approval. Finally he told me to “draw a long bow.” 




“I am drawing the bow as long as I can.” I said. 

That seemed to incense him greatly and he shouted, “Don't you dare contradict me!” 

“But I am drawing the bow as long as I can.” I repeated. “My arm is up against the wall now.” 






He was holding in one hand a valuable violin bow, recently presented to him. Just what he intended to do, I do not know, but in his anger he jerked the bow back and struck the stove, breaking the bow in half. His rage knew no bounds! 




“Get out of here,” he yelled, “before I kill you!” Taking my fiddle by the neck, I said clearly, “You attempt to kill me and I'll smash this fiddle over your head.” 

“Get out,” he raged. 

“I'll get out,” I replied, “but don't you dare hit me, because if you do you'll get the worst of it.” 

I put my instrument in its green bag and walked home. 







My father, sensing something wrong, said, “What's the trouble?” 

“Oh, I have just a fight with Esputa,” I answered and, still shaking with wrath, explained the whole thing. 




“Well,” said my father, “I suppose you don't want to be a musician. Is there anything else you would prefer?” 

With a heart full of bitterness I said, “Yes; I want to be a baker.” 

“A baker?” 

“Yes; a baker.” 







“Well, he mused, “I'll see what I can do to get you a position in a bakery. I'll go and attend to it right away,” and out he went. 




In about half an hour he came back and said, “I saw Charlie (the baker just two blocks away) and he says he will be glad to take you in and teach you the gentle art of baking bread and pies; but,” he added, “I have noticed that bakers as a rule are not very highly educated, and I believe if you would educate yourself beyond the average baker, it would tend to your financial improvement in this world at least; so I insist, as gently as a father can, that you keep on going to public school and pay no attention to your music. Give that up, and when you are through school the baker can start you.” 




Father then went on to say, “The baker has consented that you come tonight. You should be there by half-past eight.” 




That night I went to the bakery, and I am sure that no apprentice ever received such kindness as was shown me by Charlie and his wife and his journeyman bakers. I was there all night, and in the morning helped load the wagon and went out with the driver delivering bread to the various customers. I was particularly impressed by the intelligence of the horse, who knew every customer's front door along the route. 




After I got back to the bakery about eight in the morning, I went down home, ate my breakfast and, since my father had said he wanted me to be a highly educated baker, I went to school. I had probably half an hour's sleep that night. The bakers, after all the bread was in the ovens and the pies were ready to be baked, threw a blanket on the troughs and took forty winks of sleep, and so did I. 




When I came home from school that afternoon I suddenly lost interest in playing baseball and hung around the house. After supper I went up to the bakery for my second night. 




As I look back on it, I remember thinking that the baker and his assitants and his wife were slightly severe with me, for I was kept on the jump pretty constantly the whole night. When everything was in the ovens and we had had our usual half hour's sleep, we started loading the wagons. I went around delivering bread, returning home about eight o'clock, with an appetite, to be sure, but very drowsy. At school that day I learned nothing, and when night came I dragged myself to the shop. Alas, the baker was no longer the kindly employer, but a dictator of the worst description, and I was hounded at every step. About half past twelve the baby upstairs began to cry and the baker's wife snapped at me, “Here, you, go on up and rock the cradle.” 




I was only half awake, as I wearily mounted the stairs, and I must have fallen asleep before I had rocked the cradle three times, although Master Baby was yelling in my ears! I was awakened by a smart cuff and “You miserable lummox” from the busy baker-lady. 




When I reached home the next morning after delivering the bread again, I was absolutely tired out. My father said, “How do you feel this morning?” with a solicitude that did not ring true to me. Before I could answer, I had fallen asleep. He woke me up, called my mother and said, 




“Give the boy some breakfast and put him to bed. Let him sleep all day. Of course you want to be a baker, don't you, Philip?”  





“No,” I moaned; “I'd rather die than be a baker!” “Then” he said, “I think you had better make it up with Esputa and start in with your music again.” 




Thus it was that my father brought Professor Esputa and myself together again and we buried the hatchet for good. Even after that (years later I orchestrated a mass for him) we were the best of friends. To prove my sincerity, I studied hard and made great progress in orchestration, harmony and sightreading. 




The incident of the bakery is ample proof of my father's kindly wisdom and common sense. We were, withal, an odd family. Father, being a Portuguese born in Spain, remained a votary of the daily siesta. Mother supplied the Nordic energy, and I, being the first boy, was inclined to despotism over my devoted parents. I was born in Washington, D. C. , on the sixth day of November, 1854, and a tyrannical youngster I must have been. When I reached my fifth year Mother refused to allow me my full quota of doughnuts, and I informed her she would be “sorry later on,” planning meanwhile what I intended to be a cruel revenge. 




It was raining hard, and I moved out a plank in our front yard, placed it on two trestles, and then proceeded to make it my bed. In fifteen minutes I was soaked to the skin, and in half an hour my mother discovered me shivering and chattering with cold. I was carried into the house and put to bed. In a few days pneumonia developed and I was not able to leave my home for two years. My warning to my poor mother was correct ― she was sorry later on! 




Had I exterminated Sousa on that rebellious day, in my heartless attempt to punish Mother for having refused me the extra cruller, a kindly musical public would never have given me the title of “March King,” King Edward VII would have presented his Victorian Order to some more deserving artist, the French Government would have bestowed the palm of the Academy on some other fortunate mortal, and five Presidents of the United States would have sought another bandmaster than myself. 




During the two years of my illness my sister Tinnie and my father taught me to read and write and I became quite a student. It was a very common thing, however, for me to hear from some whispering neighbor, “I don't believe they will ever raise that boy!” 

When I was at last able to be out again I was sent to a little private school opposite my father's house on 7th Street, from there to a larger one half way down the block, and, soon after, I applied for admission to the primary department of the public school in our district. I was there only a few hours when I was transferred to the secondary school; it seemed that the teacher thought I knew too much for a primary pupil! So I spent the rest of the term at the secondary and then was transferred to the intermediate, where I remained the following year, I was then about nine years old, and at ten I was in grammar school. 




From childhood I was passionately fond of music and wanted to be a musician. I have no recollection of any real desire ever to be anything else. Washington was, in those Civil War days, an armed camp, and there were bands galore. Strange is the boy who doesn't love a band! I loved all of them, good and bad alike. So far as I know, there was no question of heredity in my love for music; I simply loved it because it was music. 




The first to initiate me into the mysteries of the art was an old Spanish gentleman, a friend of my father's, who, with his wife, came to our home nearly every evening. One night when I had been particularly active in rolling a baseball around the room, to the evident discomfort of our visitors, the old gentleman suggested that a few lessons in solfeggio would do me no harm. My father thought I was too young to begin the study of music but finally consented. 




The start was not particularly encouraging. The old Spaniard was a retired orchestra player and knew instrumental music, but he had an atrocious voice. All musical intervals were sounded alike by him. When he was calm he squawked; when excited, he sqeaked. At the first lesson he bade me repeat the syllables of the scale after him. 




Do,” he squawked. 

Do,” I squawked in imitation. 

“No, no,” he cried, “sing do,” and he squeaked the note. 

Do,” I squeaked, in a vain effort to imitate his crow-like vocalization. 







He grew very angry, stormed and abused me. His mental ear was alert and true enough, but the articulated sounds of his voice conveyed nothing but a grating noise to my child mind. For an hour he roared, and I floundered hopelessly after him. At last the lesson was over, I almost a nervous wreck. During the entire time that I remained his pupil, the sound of his toneless voice hung over me like a pall. 




One night after my highly irascible teacher had come to the house for my usual music lesson, he discovered the loss of his spectacles. He searched in his pockets and in his cloak which hung on the balustrade, but all in vain. His wife, who accompanied him, was positive that he had the glasses when they left home, which was but a few minutes' walk from our house, so it was proposed that the entire household should search the street. 




The younger members of the Sousa family took lighted candles and the hunt began. Soon I was far ahead of the others. The street was deserted, and as I came near the old gentleman's house I saw the glasses on the lawn. Quickly I picked them up and put them in my pocket and then continued the search more assiduously than ever. When some one would point out the futility of our efforts, I would, by proposing new huntinggrounds, reawaken interest. Anything to prolong the search, so that I might escape the horror of at least one evening's lesson. My plan succeeded. We finally gave up and my teacher, with many imprecations on his ill luck, dismissed from his mind any idea of solfeggio. 




Finally we returned to the house; I sat on the stair near the place where the old gentleman's cloak was hung, and when the family and their guests were engrossed in conversation, I slipped the spectacles into the inside pocket of the cloak. Then, with a cheery “buenas noches” I stole to my room, not to sleep, but to listen. On the stroke of nine, I heard my teacher walk into the hall, and when he wrapped his cloak about him, there came a loud cry as his hand struck the pocket containing the spectacles. “Caramba! Maldito! To think we have been hunting so long for that which I have just found. And I searched my pocket,” ― and with many angry mutterings he stamped out of the door. I crept back into bed, well satisfied with the evening's exploit, and closed my eyes for the first peaceful slumber since my introduction to solfeggio! 




It was this eccentric old fellow's son, John Esputa, who started the conservatory of music in our neighborhood, and with whom I had the quarrel over the violin bow. Esputa's suggestion to my father was that “even if I didn't learn anything, it would keep me off the streets.” 




I was dully enrolled in 1861 as a student in Esputa's class of some sixty pupils. I am sure that during my first three years I was the silent boy of the class. I was noisy enough out of the classroom, but Iago himself couldn't have outdone me for silence when a class met. It was the result of Professor Esputa's remark to my father that if I didn't learn anything it would keep me off the street. I resented the imputation and so said little to the offending speaker but at the same time I drank in knowledge thirstily.  




At the end of my third year at the academy, the first examinations were held. The Professor went to my father next morning and with the emphatic way peculiar to himself, said; 




“That damned boy of yours has won all five medals, but I can't give them all to him ― it would excite comment.” 




My father smiled as he replied,”Why, John, it isn't necessary to give him any, I'm happy to know that he has won all of them. The possession of the medals won't make him any smarter, and if you can make better use of them, by all means do so.” 




“Oh, no,” said Esputa, “I'm going to give him three of them and I'll give the rest to other pupils.” And he did. I have those three medals today ― little gold lyres ― a constant reminder, when I see them, that I had fooled everyone by silence ― always golden. 




When I had reached my eleventh year, I had made sufficient progress on the violin to be selected by Esputa as one of the soloists for his annual concert at St. Elizabeth's Asylum for the Insane, just outside of Washington. I was already playing as a professional. Unfortunately, on the day of the concert, I was scheduled to pitch a game of baseball. I returned home after the game hungry, tired and dirty, to find the house in a state of confusion; the usually faithful maid-of-all-work absent, my eldest sister away on a visit, and my mother so ill I was not allowed to see her. As it was near the hour for me to dress for the concert, I had but a few moments to eat a sandwich. Then, going to my room, I got out my Sunday clothes and my clean shoes and stockings, but for the life of me I could not find a shirt, the laundress having failed to return our linen. I hurried to the Conservatory to tell my teacher of the predicament. 




“That's all right,” he said, “run over to my wife and tell her to give you one of my shirts.” 




I went over, and the good-natured Mrs. Esputa put one of the professor's shirts on me. The bosom seemed to rest on my knees, and as the collar was many sizes too large, she pinned it together and I started with the party to the Asylum. 




When it came my turn to play I tuned my violin and began the first movement. As the physical effort of playing became greater, the pins that held the shirt in place suddenly gave way and it fell from my neck. I forgot my notes, looked wildly at the dropping shirt and the laughing audience, and rushed off-stage in confusion, where I sought an obscure corner of the anteroom and wished that I was dead. 




At the end of the concert, the superintendent invited the professor and the pupils into the diningroom to have some ice cream and cake. I thought only of escape, but the professor intercepted me, and said: 

“You made a nice mess of it. You should be ashamed of yourself and do not deserve any refreshments. You should not have spent the afternoon playing ball, but should have prepared yourself for more important work of the evening.” His lecture and punishment, for I had no ice-cream, had a salutary effect upon me, and from that day to this I have made it a rule never swap horses in crossing a stream. I either play or work, but I never try to do both at the same time.   































In my boyhood Washington was just a sleepy Southern town. There were omnibuses but of course no trolley cars and the appearance of the first horse-car was a momentous event. The street railway company decided to equip its conductors with a sort of portable cash register worn around the neck like a yoke. One conductor refused to wear it ― we learned later that he was “well-fixed” and lived in a fine residence on the outskirts of Washington. When cable-cars arrived, the drivers appeared in all the glory of great raccoon coats; I have no doubt that I regarded them with much the same admiration and awe with which the pre-school boy regards the 'coon coats of college undergraduates.  




When I see the hectic hurry and the complexities of presentday life, I realized how simple was life in Washington in the sixties. Mother always went to market herself, though I went occasionally on errands. Once she entrusted me with money to buy some things for the household. On my way I was lured aside by an auction sale, where the eloquent barker enticed me, and before I knew it I had bid in several gross of knives and forks made of pseudo-silver. I found that I hadn't money enough to pay for my purchase, but when I tried to explain my plight to the auctioneer, he only shouted, “This damned boy hasn't enough money!” I gave him every cent I had and went home with assortment of worthless knives and forks instead of bread and meat for the family. 




I remember well the fright of Washingtonians at the time of Early's raid, when the Confederate cannon boomed only a few miles away. Every man capable of bearing arms went out to protect the city. As for the Grand Review, after the war was over, surely no normal boy of eleven would miss that spectacle. It is as vivid today as if it all happened only yesterday. I have described it in fiction form in my novel, “Pipetown Sandy,” and I venture to quote here that account which is based on my own recollection of the impression the historic event made upon me. 





(from “Pipetown Sandy) 








It was just a little while after General Grant and General Lee had their great 'conference' at Appomattox and settled things. I guess everybody was mighty (= very) glad they talked it over and made up their mind to quit fighting each other. 




My father was reading the Evening Star after supper and he suddenly says "Jennie, I see in this here paper that the army is coming home". "The Lord be praised for that", says mom and I hope and pray they'll stay home and never go off fighting again". At which point my dad says "Amen !" 




"Jennie," he says, "I feel it's almost 'Lights out' with me (= the end of my life) but if the Lord wills to let me stay till the army comes back I'm gonna put on my uniform and just go out and see them marching up the street". 




My old dad was ailin' a terrible lot (= in a lot of pain) just then. Between three or four lead bullets that had never been taken out, and his sawed off leg, he was full of misery but he never died (croaked). The only way we knew he was suffering was when he would holler out in his sleep and then he wouldn't 'low (= allow =admit) he did when we told him. He would say he was just dreaming of nothing in particular but of course, we knew better. 




Sure enough the corporation (= the city) began cleaning the streets, and hanging out the bunting (=draped banners) and flags and evergreens and there were signs stuck up everywhere that said: "Welcome to the Nation's Heroes", "Welcome to the Army of the Potomac", and "Welcome to the Gallant Fifth and Sheridan's Invincibles” etc.(such like). 

グランドレビューを控え、街中の通りが清められ、横断幕や旗、それから常緑樹も植えられて、街のあちこちに、文言が踊った「歓迎 ポトマック軍」「歓迎 勇猛たる第5連隊」「歓迎 無敵のシェリダン将軍」等々。 



The old man got out his uniform and had mom sew up the bullet holes so people wouldn't think it was motheaten or worn out and when the day came he spruced up (got cleaned up and dressed up) and me and him legs it (=walked) uptown to see the soldiers come back. 




When we got to the Capitol, the school children were standing around on all sides waiting. The girls were all dressed in white and the boys had duck pants on and blue jackets and all of them had red white and blue rosettes (circular cloth medallions?) pinned on their shirts. Some of them had bouquets and things like that to give to the soldiers when they came along.  

We stood there a little while and heard them singing "Rally Around the Flag" and "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" and then the old man (=my father) said startingoff (= starting to walk) "Let's mosey along to (= move slowly) where Andy Johnson and Grant are going to review the boys. 





We kept on walking until we got up by (=near) the President's house and we stepped up, brash (=confident) as you please on a stand just across from the place were Andy Johnson and General Grant and the other big guns (generals etc.) were going to sit and look. Nobody said anything to us and we squats (=sat) right down and watched the people come piling in (=arrive in great numbers). 




It was "Governor this" and "Governor that" and "Governor the other"- it was just raining governors. We weren't governors and we knew we didn't belong there but we didn't shout it out so folks could hear us and nobody noticed the difference. Before long there was some clapping and shouting and Andy Johnson and the General came out on the stand opposite (us). Then a lot of high ranking officers and such people hurried on looking very well kept (=well-groomed and clothed) and important. There were two boys among that crowd and somebody said they were the General's children. I 'spect (=expect =guess) they were awful (very) proud of their daddy for you could hear the people hollering "Grant! Grant! Hurray for Grant!" more than anything else just then. 




Well sirs, we heard a rumbling down the street and we knew the army was coming. There was a fine looking general riding in front. One of the pack of governors said "There's Meade!" I'd never seen him before but I took the governor's word for it. Then came a lot of officers some clean and new looking and the others considerably soiled as they passed the President, they saluted with their swords and kept right on. 

I was wishing it would get a little exciting when lickety-split (=all of a sudden) the Devil's own horse came tearing (galloping quickly) up the street for all he was worth (=as fast as he could). He certainly looked bad. The crowd stopped cacklin' (like chickens) and rose up like swarming bees and strained their necks peekin' (to look). There was an officer on the horse with no hat on. His long blond hair was just blowing every which way; there was a great wreath hung on his left arm and that there horse was running as if Satan himself was chasing it. I was so scared I just shut my mouth for fear I'd spit out my heart! My father grabbed my arm as tight as a vise; you could see the mark a week later. 





"My God, he'll be dashed to pieces!" yelled a lady, holding onto the rail. 

"Who is it?" shouted a Governor, shaking like an aspen leaf. 

"It's Custer!" bellowed an officer, jumping on a chair, mos' (=almost) dead (=extremely) from excitement. 

"That's all right!" my daddy yelled as loud as he knew how. "Sit down, and enjoy yourself". 







Just then the horse reared up, and when he came down I thought he was goin' heels over head (= to fall backwards). 

"Oh!" cried all the people shudderin' (shaking in fear). 




"Sit down" my dad yelled again. "Sit down; it's Custer and it's all right. He doesn't ride a horse because he has to; he rides because he can". 




For a moment you could hear a pin drop. And lo and behold we saw the General coming back and his horse was stepping soft and acting as gentle as a parson's (Christian minister's) horse on Sunday. Custer was bowing to Andy (Johnson) and Grant and the ladies as he passed and he was just as calm and smiling as if he was in a parlor. (living room) 




Oh my, how that crowd did clap and hurray! You would've thought there was a house on fire. My dad said he felt like he had hair clean (=completely) down his back and everyone was standing up, when he saw that horse running away but when he heard it was Custer he just laid back and could've snoozed, he felt so peaceful. Pop said Custer wouldn't know how to start getting scared. 




Pretty soon along comes his cav'lry, an' they cert'nly did look scrumptious with their carbines, an' sabers an' red scarfs a-danglin' sassy-like 'round their necks. They had a band, an' it was tootin' chunes that ev'rybody was keepin' time to, an' even Dad was a-pumpin' up an' down with his cork leg.  




After a while the Zoo-Zoos comes by, all in red trimmin's an' read tassels on the caps, an' it wuz jest great, an' the Tramp, Tramp, Tramp the Boys Are Marchin' stayed with me till I got home. Lots of the flags had crape on 'em. One of the guv'ners sed it wuz 'cause Mr. Lincoln had died, an' that wuz mighty sorrowful to ev'rybody aroun' to say nuthin' of ol'dad. 




When dad an' mum an' me was sittin' talkin' 'bout it that night, pop sez: “It wuz fine, an' no mistake.” But after he had lit his pipe, he sez: “Jest wait till to-morrer, an' then yer'll see somethin'. My army is comin'. The Bummers with Uncle Billy an' Black Jack'll be marchin' in, an' they'll make Rome howl!” Pop was powerful fond of Uncle Billy an' Black Jack, an' proud he'd been with The Bummers. When he wuz argufyin' he'd say it might be a matter o' dooty fer a sojer to lose his leg with any army, but with The Bummers it wuz a pleasure, an' I don't believe he'd a-taken it back if hell had froze over. 




Well, sir, nex' mornin', bright an' early, me an' dad starts up, an' when we gits to the Botanical Gardens by the Tiber Creek bridge, we finds a pile o' bricks, an' they looks handy to set on, so we preempts 'em, an' we could see hunky-dory. 




At nine o'clock, “Boom!” goes the signal gun, an' afore yer got tired waitin' along comes The Bummers. They looked like they had been mos' too busy to change their fightin' clo'es. Their broad-brimmed hats looked great, an' the crowd got stuck on 'em mighty soon.  




Officers come 'long with wreaths on their horses' necks an' lots an' er the sojers had bo'kets stuck in their guns, an' Lor' alive, but they did hoof it. Yer could hear em plunk, plunk, plunk, the boys are marchin', till yer couldn't rest. 




Well, sir, here comes a sojer marchin' 'long with his comp'ny, an' I-hope-I-may-die, if he didn't have a raccoon a-settin' on his shoulder. That raccoon jest put his face down by the side of the sojer's cheek an' looked out at the crowd, jest as sharp an' bright as yer please, an' it seemed to me he was sayin': 




“I've bin there, I've bin there; I've bin fightin'.” 




The crowd clapped and laughed to split their sides. Then up comes a tall sojer carrying' a flag pole, an' the flag was faded an' shot to pieces. There wuz stains on it that looked like blood, an' all at once the breeze jest flung that flag out, proud an' defiant like, an' I thought it sed, plain as possible: 




“I've bin there, I've bin there; I've bin fightin'.” 




The crowd clapped till the flag was out er sight, an' pretty soon along comes mules, an' donkeys, an' goats, an' dogs, an' cows, an'-I-hope-I-may-die if there wuzn't a rooster perched on a horse's back, an a-crowin: 




“I've bin there, I've bin there; I've bin fightin'.” An' we jest went crazy, clappin'. 




When the sappers an' miners comes, their blouses tucked in their pants, an' their belts tightened, an' shoulderin' their shovels, picks an' axes, we knowed they'd bin there. We knowed they had chopped, had dug, had shoveled their way to vict'ry an' to Glory Hallelujah. An' when they passed, the line comes to a halt fer a minute. My ol' dad wuz keepin' both eyes open, an' all of a sudden I seen a sojer lookin' at dad, an' he hollers out: 




“Well, I'll be damned; there's Dan Coggles!” And afore yer could say Jack Robinson, he tosses his gun to another feller, an' rushed over to dad an' honest-to-goodness, if they didn't hug each other like they wuz two mothers. 




“I thought yer wuz dead, Dan,” said the sojer, as if he wuz goin' to cry. 




“I heerd you wuz, Sam,” said dad, an' he wuz a-blubberin'. “No; I'm all right,” said Sam, laughin' happy like an' pattin' my head. 




“An' I'm all right, too,” said dad. He wuzn't, but he didn't let on. 




An' then I know'd the sojer was Sam Dickson who had gone to the war with dad, an' they had marched an' starved an' almost died together. I knowed it, fer one of the other sojers told me. 




Well, sir, what must we do, but dad jest takes his place in that 'ere comp'ny right 'long side o'Sam, an' Sam handed his gun to me, an' I walked in front a-totin' it at right-shoulder-shift, jest like all the sojers in the regiment. 




An' Tramp, Tramp, Tramp the Boys Are Marchin' we went up the Av'nue. Dad stepped out jest as if he hadn't enny cork leg, an' I streched my shank's fer all I wuz worth. 




The people clapped an' clapped, an' give me a bo'ket, an' dad got a lot of 'em, an' the officer who wuz marching' right in front er the comp'ny kep' his eyes glued ahead, an' pretendin' he didn't see nothin' which cert'nly was mighty white er him 




We wheeled round the corner. Jest as we got to the gran' stan' the officers shouted out their orders. Me an' the Bummers presented arms, an' dad s'luted as we passed the President. The crowd seemed jest crazy happy but I wuz orful lonesome, 'cause I wuz the only one in that 'ere hull review who couldn't say: 




“I've bin there, I've bin there; I've bin fightin'.” 



(end, from “Pipetown Sandy) 







When I was a boy in Washington everybody who lived east of 6th Street, S. E. and south of Pennsylvania Avenue lived “on the Navy Yard.” In fact, it was not a difficult matter to find out in just what section of town a boy lived by asking him what he was. The city was divided, in our boyish minds, into regions - the “Navy Yard,” “Capitol Hill,” “Swampoodle.” (which is now in the vicinity of the Terminal Railway Station and the Post Office) and “the Island,” which was south of Pennsylvania Avenue between Tiber Creek and the Potomac River. The nabobs who lived in the Northwest hadn't reached the dignity of a neighborhood nickname and the nearest approach to their vicinity was the “Northern Liberties,” which was out 7th Street, N. W. While the “Navy Yard” section was probably ten squares from the United States Navy Yard near where I lived, I always said, “I live on the Navy Yard.” 




The boys who lived “on the Navy Yard,” with scarcely an exception, toted a gun as soon as they were old enough to shoot and went out on the river - the Potomac or “Anacostia,” as we called the eastern branch - and into Prince George County whenever game was in season. A boy who couldn't shoot a gun or sit out all day in the sun fishing had no standing “on the Navy Yard.” 




Thus very early in my life I was inoculated with the love of duck and quail shooting, my father being an inveterate hunter, and whenever he had the time, he was out hunting quail or decoying ducks during the season. 




When I was still too young to carry a gun, but not too young to lug the provender, my father took me on hunting trips. We would usually be up at four o'clock in the morning, for a hearty breakfast, if it was to be a quail shoot over Benning Bridge and into Prince George County. 




I remember one occasion when I everlastingly disgraced myself. My mother always prepared a lunch for us of four boiled eggs, two rolls and a couple of apples, which was enough for anybody's luncheon. On this particular morning we started out happily, and, when we got over in the cultivated fields where there were quail, the dogs made a point, the birds were flushed and my father brought down one of them. He then started in a relentless pursuit of the squandered birds. About ten o'clock he was so far ahead of me that I could just hear the occasional sound of his gun, and suddenly I became very hungry. It was two hour before luncheon and in my boyish mind I felt I should probably starve to death if I hadn't something to eat before the lunch hour. So my hand stole into the haversack and I felt a hardboiled egg in the corner. I took it out, looked at it admiringly, almost reverently, took off the shell and ate it. I next took one of the rolls and ate that. Instead of appeasing my appetite it seemed to give more, and, to hasten matters, before twelve o'clock had come I had eaten four eggs, two rolls and one apple. 




About twelve o'clock I caught up to my father and he, putting his gun against a tree, said cheerily, “Now we'll sit down and have luncheon.” 




Suddenly, at the word “luncheon,” it dawned on me that I was probably the most abject scoundrel in the world, but I said nothing. My father lifted the haversack off my shoulders, put his hand in it, and then a puzzled look came over his face and he said, “Strange, strange; your mother never forgets,” and drew forth one solitary apple left of the entire luncheon. 




He raised his eyes and saw my guilty face and the telltale egg around my mouth. He looked at me for perhaps half a minute, then said, “You're not a hunter, you're a loafer.” 




He went down to the brook, took a drink, came back and offered me the other apple, saying, “Before eating it, I would wash my face if I were you.” And that was the end to the incident! 




This quiet father of mine was one of the best-informed men I have ever met. A most accomplished linguist and an inveterate reader, he had stored up wisdom from a multitude of sources. In the last days of his life, when he was an invalid, I have noticed on his table four or five books in different languages, each of which he delighted to read. I am happy now, to recall that I was not only his son but his companion, and whenever there was a hunting trip or a fishing expedition or any other pleasure, I was always with him. Many of his observations made an impression on my youthful mind and, with his wide knowledge, he had a story suitable for any incident in our daily life. One thing he fastened in my mind very strongly: never assume that you know all about a thing, or try to talk the other man down; instead, agree as nearly as possible with his opinions and so gradually forced him to see yours. No better way can be found to get at the truth. 




Father had his lovable and amusing little foibles. For one thing, he was not fond of work despite the fact that he was wonderfully handy at doing the things he liked. And like all Portuguese, he liked to take a siesta after his luncheon hour. I can recall Mother, who was charged with ambition and energy, saying despairingly, “O, Tony, Tony, don't go to sleep this afternoon!” But he would continue slowly upstairs, saying: “Elise, the night is for sleep, and the day is for rest.” 




Father was very reticent about his boyhood days, and almost never talked of Spain, or his days on the sea, but I did know that his parents were driven out of Portugal during the Revolution of 1822, and went over into Spain where he was born in Seville, on September 14, 1824. As a youth, he left Spain and went to England, and from England came to America some time early in the forties. In Brooklyn he met Elizabeth Trinkhaus, a young woman who was visiting the United States with some school friends (she was a native Franconia, Bavaria) and after a short courtship they were married. Mother used to recount with much pride in Father's ingenuity (for if ever a wife worshipped her husband it was she!) how Father got out her German Bible and his English one, and how thus she learned English, and he conveyed his tender sentiments to her by that highly respectable medium! Father never let us know - and if he told Mother, she kept her own counsel - just what his standing was in the Old World, but I have read so much about the Sousas since I have grown to manhood that I have every reason to believe that he was a man exceptional in education and family. He was a gentleman in the liberal and the accurate significance of that much abused word. He was always keenly interested in literature, language and current events, and although his technical knowledge of music was limited, he possessed an unusually acute ear. 




While I was a pupil of Esputa, I began to attract kindly attention as a violinist, and began to do some solo work in amateur concerts, besides earning money with a little quadrille band which I had organized. This band had a second violin, viola, and a bass, clarinet, cornet, trombone and drum. They were all grown men, in fact, the bass player was a very old man indeed. We became popular as a dance orchestra in Washington, and continued prosperously, until I listened to the anarchistic utterances of my associates and so talked myself out of a job. 




We were playing for Professor Sheldon's dances. They came to me and said, “You're a great favorite here and you ought to make Sheldon pay you more money for the music.” 




Professor Sheldon was probably paying us the fair market price for a small orchestra and I couldn't understand why he should pay more, just because I happened to be popular. But my fellow musicians egged me on until I finally yielded and told Sheldon that he must advance our wages two dollars per man thereafter. 




“And if I don't, what will happen?” he asked. 

“I'll quit,” I replied. 

“Well, I am very sorry to lose you, but it's all I can pay, and all I propose to pay.” 

“Then,” said I stoutly, “I'll quit.” 







At the next Saturday hop there was another man in my place, but the same seven anarchists were meekly playing there at their old wages! It was a lesson I have never forgotten and never shall forget! 




One day while I was playing one of de Beriot's Concertos there came a rap at my door. I found a gentleman there who said, “I have been listening for five minutes to your playing. I was anxious to know just who you were so I rapped at the door.” 




“Won't you come in?” I asked. 

He began, “You play very nicely. Have you ever thought about joining a circus?” 

“No, indeed.” 






“I am the leader of the band in the circus that is showing near Pennsylvania Avenue,” he said, “and if you would like to join I can get you a place.” 




Visions of beautiful ladies in spangled tights, of pink lemonade in buckets, flashed through my mind and I said, “I'd like to do it, but I don't think my father would let me go.” 




“There's no necessity of asking your father,” he replied.  

I told him I wouldn't think of it without asking him, since he was an awfully nice father. 

“Yes, but fathers don't understand the future for a boy travelling with a circus; he might object.” 






“Yes, probably he would.” “I tell you what you do,” he urged. “Tomorrow night we are going to 'strike the tents.' You come over with your fiddle and go along with us, and then, after we've been away for a day or two, write your father and tell him what a good time you are having; perhaps he won't interfere then; but if you tell him now he might forbid you. And, by the way, do you play any brass instrument?” 




I said, “Yes, I play baritone.” And I got out the baritone and played him a few measures. 




He enjoined secrecy, and I agreed to report the following night. The more I thought of it the more wonderful it seemed to follow the life of the circus, make money, and become the leader of a circus band myself. What a career that would be! 




Inevitably, however, I had to let somebody into the secret. Next door to my house lived a good-looking boy and a great playmate of mine, Edward Accardi, so I must go and tell Ed my good fortune, pledging him to secrecy. Ed, I suppose, immediately told his mother, and she, with woman's wild desire to have everybody know everything, told my mother. 




Next morning, while I lay a-bed, dreaming contentedly of circus triumphs ― conducting a gigantic band beneath a moster tent that reached upwards to the stars ― I was roused by the gentle voice of my father, “Good morning, Son.” 

“Good morning, Father.” 





“When you dress today,” he said, emphasizing every word, “put on your Sunday clothes.” 

It was not Sunday and I didn't like at all the idea of making such a radical departure from custom, but I obeyed, put on my Sunday clothes and went downstairs where Father and I had breakfast together, and chatted casually. At the end of the meal he said, “We'll take a walk.” 





We took the walk in the direction of the Marine Barracks ― through the gate in silence and across the Parade Ground to the Commandant's office. 




The record of the Marine Corps says that “John Philip Sousa enlisted on the 9th day of June, 1868.” Somewhat over thirteen years of age, and not fourteen until the following November! 




This father of mine, bless his soul, had played trombone in the Marine Band since 1850, and was very much liked by everybody in the corps from the Commandant down. He had been to see General Zeilin, the Commandant, and they had discussed the matter as two fathers would, and concluded to enlist me in the corps as an apprentice boy to study music until I got over my infatuation for the circus, for my father knew that I was so much a law-abiding boy that I wouldn't desert. 




Being a boy in the band was not a novel situation for me, for from my tenth year I had played triangle, cymbals and Eb alto horn (God forgive me!) at various times with the band, and was a great friend of all the musicians in it. 




The first time that I heard really fine music (apart from the ordinary orchestra or band programmes), was when the Franko family of five wonderfully talented children came to Washington for a concert. Professor Esputa announced to the school that they were exceptionally gifted and that he wanted every student to be sure to attend the concert; and most of us did so. It was the first time I had heard real violin playing, and the exquisite performance of little Nahan Franko, who was a wonder on the instrument, inspired me with zeal to do better. 




His sisters and his brothers, too, added much to the pleasure of that excellent concert. 




My youth up to this time had been spent largely “on the Navy Yard” but as I developed into a professional musician, I became acquainted with people who lived in the Northwest section of Washington, and, until I left the city, my companions were almost entirely from the Northwest. Some of those interesting young people had organized a club which they called the Vis-a-Vis, a literary society which issued a little magazine, containing their own articles. I do not remember what I wrote for them, but I am sure I was active in it. 




While I played more and more in public, I became a member of the Orchestral Union, of which Mr. George Felix Benkert was the conductor. Mr. Benkert was a remarkably fine musician and one of the greatest pianists of that day. I played first violin in the Orchestral Union and evidently looked younger than I really was, for, on one occasion when they gave the oratorio, “The Creation,” Clara Louise Kellogg, the famous American prima donna, who was singing the soprano role, came over and patted me on the head. I have no doubt she did it because she thought I was in the infant class. I was too shy to reciprocate, which shows I still had something to learn. 




A great admirer of my ability as a musician, Dr. Swallow, introduced me to a Washington music lover, the Hon. William Hunter, who was Assistant Secretary of State. Every Tuesday evening during the concert season, Mr. Hunter had a string quartette party come to his house and play from eight until ten o'clock, after which he served a supper, and I was invited to come and take part in one of these musical evenings. I must have favorably attracted the attention of Mr, Hunter, for, until I left Washington a couple of years later, I invariably spent my Tuesday evenings at his home, and my knowledge of some of the leading composers, such as Frescobaldi, Haydn, Tartini, etc., ― what they did and what they wrote ― was entirely due to him. He would place advertisements in the London, Berlin, Paris and Vienna musical papers for certain rare works that he could not obtain in the ordinary music store and, when they came, he would read me the biography of the composer out of a European encyclopedia, translating as he read, and in that way I grew to know much about the old-timers. 




Knowing that I was earning my living as a musician, Mr. Hunter took a very delicate way of paying me for my service. Every Tuesday evening after the quartette playing, when we were packed up and about to leave he would come over to me and say, “Young man, you did very finely tonight.” 

Of course I would utter a modest “Thank you.” 

He would then say, “What a splendid vest you have on tonight,”  and would slip five dollars into my vest pocket. Five dollars was a lot of money in those days. Gradually I tired of my position in the Marine Band. At a change of leadership of the Band I had written a march, “Salutation,” and when the new conductor came on the Parade we were playing it in his honor. When he reached the band he said, “What is that you're playing?” 






The assistant leader answered, “That's a march by that boy there,” pointing to me.  

“Take it off the stands!” he ordered. Needless to say, he and I never became friendly. 





I went to Mr. Hunter and told him I was unhappy in the band and asked him to see the Secretary of the Navy and secure my release, which he did. 




The very moment I was released from the Marine Band, Mr. Hunter said, “You should go to Europe and complete your musical education.” 




I told him that was impossible; that my father had a number of children and could not afford to do it. 

“I know a gentleman,” he said, “who, I'm quite sure, would send you.” 

“But I wouldn't want anybody to support me.” 

“I wouldn't be so particular about that,” he said. 

“If the man wants to spend money to educate talented young musicians, why not let him do it? I'll see the gentleman tomorrow and make an appointment.” 








It was Mr. W. W. Corcoran, the great philanthropist. Mr. Hunter made me promise a few days later, after he had seen Mr. Corcoran, that I would call on him. So I went to his house, pulled the bell rather timidly, and an overwhelming footman came to the door and asked me, in the splendid manner of footmen, what I wanted. I told him that I had called to see Mr. Corcoran, and also told him to tell his master that I had been sent by Mr. Hunter. 




In a little while, Mr. Corcoran descended the stairs, came over to me, and asked me my name and ambitions. Finally, he said, kindly, “Well, now, I'll think over your case and you call again in five or six days.” 




I never got out of a house quicker than I did out of that one, and I didn't call up in five or six days; in fact, I haven't called up to date! The idea of being under obligations to anybody was very distasteful to me and though Mr. Corcoran might have sent me to Europe, I feel that I am better off as it is ― even without the benefits of European education ― for I may therefore consider myself a truly American musician. 




Meanwhile, I was beginning to get pupils. I had three or four nice little Italian boys who played the violin in the streets, to a harp accompaniment. The little fellows had talent, even though they smelled of garlic. 




I had a cornet pupil who wanted to learn only one tune, The Last Rose of Summer, and my efforts to teach him exercises went for naught ― he wanted the fingering for the cornet part of The Last Rose of Summer and nothing else! That is all he studied with me for a period of three months. He had a yacht and his great delight was to take friends down the Potomac, get out his cornet and play this old melody. He was a fine swimmer, and when he had a party of men aboard, and The Last Rose of Summer had become a bit wilted with repetition, they would throw his cornet overboard, whereupon he would immediately dive after it and fish it up! 




The variety theatre of those days corresponded to the vaudeville of today, except that the only ladies present were on the stage. The principal variety theatre in Washington was Kernan's Theatre Comique. Mr. Kernan decided to open a summer garden on a lot adjoining this theatre. The lot was below street level, but seemed otherwise well adapted to such use. The stage was built, the singers and orchestra engaged, when suddenly they realized that there was no conductor, since the regular conductor of the Theatre Comique had gone off for the summer with his orchestra to a watering-place in Virginia. Leaders of variety were scarce in Washington and Mr. Kernan was in a dilemma, until one of his musicians said, “I know a boy up on Capitol Hill who would, I think, suit you as an orchestra leader.” 




Kernan immediately sent a messenger to my house and asked me to call on him, which I did with a speed that would not have shamed Nurmi. 




Kernan said, “What experience have you had in variety?” 


“Do you read music?” “Of course.” 

“Well, I'm willing to give you a chance.” 

“Thank you.” 

“Rehearsal will be on Saturday morning and we'll give a performance on Saturday night.” 









When I joined the orchestra to lead it for rehearsal it was a very easy matter to play songs and dances and so on, and I got through swimmingly, with everybody delighted. 




I went home and in order that I might be on time for the performance at eight o'clock that night I returned to the Theatre Comique at five! 




About half-past five one of those well-known Washington summer showers came down and flooded the Garden until everything was afloat except the piano, and the waves were lapping the black keys. As I stood there with Kernan looking out upon the deluge, he groaned, 




“We can't give a show there tonight. We'll have to give it in the Theatre Comique, indoors.” 

“All right,” I answered, pulling on my rubber boots, “but if you're going to do that, we must have the piano moved up right now.” 





Three or four husky Africans were summoned, who exhibited such a fine carelessness in the process that the instrument finally reached the Theatre Comique and was installed in the orchestra pit with every wire, from middle C down, torn from its mooring! 




This was before the days of a steel E string for fiddles and when you sometimes got a lot of bad strings. Before we had finished what they were pleased to call on the program The Overture, I had snapped my E string and was given an exhibition of jumping up position on the A which would have done credit to a half dozen Paganinis rolled into one. 




One of the admirable qualities of a vaudeville entertainment is its incessant action; so we had no more than played the last note of the overture (I frantically trying to put on a new E string) when the bell rang for the beginning of the performance. 




During the short dialogue that intervened, I managed to put the E string on; but I had played only fifteen measures of the next movement when the D string broke, and before the performance was over I think every string on the violin broke from one to five times, except the G, and that was a hardened old sinner and stayed by me the whole evening. The pianist couldn't hit a bass note because there was no note there to hit; the cornet player worked hard but was wheezy; the clarinet player was extremely nervous, and the drummer thumped irregularly. It was without any doubt the worst orchestral performance that was ever given in this imperfect world. 




Kernan's reputation as a dangerous man in an argument was already known to me and, before the performance, I had been told that he didn't hesitate, in a fight, to bite off a man's ear or gouge out his eyes. He had been a sailorman. 




When the performance finally came to a close, the stage manager apologized for its obvious faults and informed everybody that it would be improved the following day. I had one wild desire while he was talking ― because it seemed as if everything he said must be directed at my miserable work ― to have the floor open and swallow me up! 




While I was putting away my violin the cornet player leaned over and said, “Here's Kernan coming down the aisle. I hope he doesn't kill you!” 




I turned my head quickly and saw him striding towards me. Just as he got to the orchestra railing I wheeled around and shouted at him, “I never want to play in your theatre again!” 




He looked at me, as if I had gone hopelessly insane. 

“What's the matter with you?” he said. 




“Matter with me? This is a great way to treat a man. You brought me up here in the hottest theatre the Lord ever allowed a man to work in, had a lot of darkies smash the piano so we couldn't play a note on it, and then you expect me to stand here and submit to it. I never want to play in your theatre again!” 




“Now, son,” he said, “listen.” 

“I don't want to listen!” 

“Now you listen, or I'll get angry!” 






“Well, go ahead; what do you want to say?” 

“I know you're right. It was no place to put you. We should never have attempted to give a performance. But we'll have a rehearsal tomorrow morning, and everything will be all right.” He was almost gentle ― because he knew of no other leader for his orchestra. I shook my head dubiously at first but soon relented and agreed to try once more. 





Next morning, when I arrived, the lady who sang, We Used to be Friends, But We're Strangers Now, or some such classical selection, descended on me with fire in her eyes: “You spoiled my song last night!” 

翌朝、私が会場に入ると、「 We Used to be Friends, But We're Strangers Now」か何か、そういうクラシック曲を担当した女性歌手が、怒り心頭の目をして私の方へとやってきた。「昨夜はアンタのせいで、あたしの歌が台無しだったわよ!」 



Kernan, who was sitting in the first row, called out to her roughly,  

“That's enough from you; sit down! We've heard all we want. Go ahead with the rehearsal!” 




We rehearsed, everything was all right and I stayed there until the winter season opened. 




However, all was not so pacific where my studies were concerned. I was often disheartened. Professor Esputa was a kind man, but he believed that the way to manage boys was to “treat 'em rough.” He was considerate and kind to his girl students but invariably severe with the boys. This was no way to treat me, for at home I was used to kindness and love. Moreover, since I was following a profession quite foreign to the atmosphere of my home life (since Mother was unmusical and Father was not an especially good technical musician) I felt that every other music student of my acquaintance knew more than I did, and so I required much encouragement to keep me from becoming depressed and unhappy. 




On one occasion I brought my professor an arrangement of my very first musical composition. I had heard the Traumerei of Schumann played very beautifully, and thought it a perfect melody ― to this day it still seems to me surpassingly beautiful ― and I wondered if I could write something a thousandth part as lovely. So I evolved a little piece which I called An Album Leaf for piano and violin, which I played to my unmusical mother, who said it was beautiful, and to my father, who asked to play it over again. Even the neighbors remarked that, while it wasn't as jolly as Dixie or as solemn as Nearer My God to Thee, still it was pretty! So when I went for my first lesson that week, I took it to the professor and placed it through. As we completed the last chord, he took the piano part between his fingers, tossed it over the instrument, and said, “This thing is nothing but cheese and bread, and bread and cheese.” Probably he intended only to stimulate me to greater efforts but, had he struck me, he could not have hurt me more than by that expression. I picked it up and even though it is only “bread and cheese, and cheese and bread,” I have kept that little piece among my treasures even unto today. 




Another of my teachers was Mr. Benkert, with whom I studied harmony, violin and piano. Mr. Benkert took unusual interest in me and under his genial instruction I made rapid progress, especially in harmony, which would occupy most of the hour's lesson; although he would sometimes, when his engagements permitted, give me two- and three-hour lessons. My violin playing would begin after we had finished the harmony lessons. He would pick out a sonata of Beethoven or Mozart and I would play the violin part to his piano accompaniment; but he never gave me any instruction on the piano. Happening to mention that fact to my father, I was told, “Will you kindly say to Mr. Benkert I am anxious that you should know something about the piano?” 




This I repeated to my teacher. He went to the piano and struck C on the ledger line below the staff of the right hand and asked what note it was. I said, “C.” 




Then he struck the same note again and said, “What note is that?” 

“Why,” I said, “That is C on the ledger line above the staff in the G clef.” 




“I think that's as much piano as I want you to know. You seem to have a gift of knowing a composition by looking at it, and you may develop into a very original composer if you follow that line of procedure; whereas, if you become a good pianist you would probably want to compose on the instrument and, if you are not careful, your fingers will fall into pleasant places where somebody else's have fallen before.”  




After I had been with Mr. Benkert I grew to love him. He seemed to me the perfect man. Brown beard, deep sunken eyes, and aesthetic features, he appeared to me a modern embodiment of the Saviour. 




I was past nineteen by that time and playing first violin at Ford's Opera House, where the Alice Oates Opera Company was giving Offenbach's Les Bavards. I took the violin part with me to my lesson to have Mr. Benkert mark the fingering in one or two more or less intricate passages, and at the end, after going over it I said, with an outburst of boyish enthusiasm, “Mr. Benkert, do you think I will ever be able to write an opera?” 




He put his hand on my head and said, “My son, you will write a better opera than this one you have just been playing.” That was encouragement. The nearest he ever showed his displeasure at any of my exercises was slowly to raise his nose. He died in his forties, beloved by every one who knew him, one of the finest musicians to whom American has given birth. 




I published a few compositions while he was still with us; and, although he did not approve of a young man rushing into print too rapidly, he was good enough to go over the proofs of one with me. Its publication came about in an amusing way: a man much older than myself was very much in love with a pretty girl and he thought that a piece of music, dedicated to her, would smooth the road to matrimony. So he offered to pay for the publication of the piece. That brought into existence (they long since dropped into oblivion) a set of waltzes entitled Moonlight on the Potomac. 




My next compositions were a march called The Review and a galop, The Cuckoo. I took them to Philadelphia to the then well-known firm of Lee and Walker. Their editor was the late Thomas a Becket, a fine musician and a splendid man. When he played my compositions they sounded much better than when I played them myself. I sold them to him for a hundred copies of each piece. They did not electrify the public, but were played by a few bands here and there.