The trip from Indianapolis to Toronto was a long and lonesome ride, but it gave me ample opportunity for thought, to "size myself up" and begin to think as a man, and plan for something very different from what as a boy I always had looked forward to as my future, First came the question of living. How was I to live on ten dollars a month, when through the goodness of my parents I had been used to having every home comfort and indulgence? Of course I had saved a few dollars from my earnings during the postwinter, and depended somewhat upon chances of playing nights, this not only to keep up my practice of the cornet, but to earn money.
My intentions were to re-enlist in the Queen's Own Band, which usually had steady engagements, especially during the summer months at Hanlan's Point on the Island. For the latter only a small band of twenty-five to thirty men was used, but I felt confident that my wider experience and increased ability would place me among the selected few, as there were only three cornets used in the band. These jobs paid one dollar an engagement, a small amount, but it would help out considerably when added to my "ten" amonth. I could begin to see now how it might be possible after all to exist on a meager salary without having my parents contribute to my maintenance, something which pride forbade me to accept, much less ask for. Then again, I argued that while it would not interfere with the business I was again to learn, playing the cornet would be a relief and recreation, that it would be a source of pleasure and contentment for me to utilize my evenings in this way. Thus my thoughts kept me from being homesick and dowhearted because of leaving my parents for good, or so I then supposed.
My brother Will met me on the arrival of the train in Toronto, and taking me at once to the store where I was to begin my new business life, introduced me to Mr. John Kay, the "Governor," who started me in to work even before I had found a place to board. Will had a boathouse at the bay, however, and said that I could live there upstairs and so save room rent. This was a blessing as far as economics were concerned, but otherwise when comfort was considered. There was neither cooking stove nor heating apparaus; the room was not even plastered or sheathed, the ice had not yet broken up in the bay, and the cracks in boards made it just about as chilly in - as out-of-doors. I stayed there just the same, however and cooked meals on an oil stove like a genuine camper-out, while waiting for summer time.
The work in the store was quite interesting for the first week; as it was such an absolute change from the bit of professional life I had experienced; in fancy I could see myself before long at the head of this large business establishment, earning all kinds of money and carrying out my fathers advice when he induced me to accept this position by outlining the possibility a successful business man had to attain prosperity. The next week my enthusiasm cooled down a little, as the old desire to play cornet returned and I realized there was no chance for practice except at night, when I would be all tired out and not feeling very ambitious. I also realized that if my practice was neglected my playing would suffer, and I wanted to show the men in the band how I had improved in my playing since leaving Toronto the previous year.
On the following Sunday I called upon Mr. Bayley, the bandmaster, and explaining my presence in the city expressed my desire to again join the band. His reply being favorable I mustered enough courage to tell him how I had improved during the last year, and that I now wished to play first instead of second cornet. He was quite amazed at my presumption, and told me to bring my cornet and prove my ability. I was quite scared, but my pride and ambition pushed me on. After the "try-out" he seemed satisfied that I might make good, and directed me to appear at the regular band rehearsal on the following night and to sit beside the solo cornetist. This elated me greatly, and I felt so happy that all the next day my mind was on the rehearsal in the coming evening. In consequence of this my business work suffered so sadly that I was called down several times for carelessness and stupidity. But what boy wouldn't be excited when every fiber in his body was vibrating with the very thought of playing once more in a big band!