A Century Of Ballads 1810-1910, Their Composers & Singers

With Some Introductory Chapters On Old Ballads And Ballad Makers - online book.

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106             A CENTURY OF BALLADS
To return to "The Light of Other Days." Mrs. Byrne in her amusing Gossip of the Century relates how, at an entertainment at Holford House, just as the singer was about to begin this song, the gas went out, and the cry was for the 'Might of other days," i.e. tallow and composite candles. She also records the fact that Balfe used to sing his own songs in drawing-rooms, and adds : "He found it a profitable business ; his terms were high, and he had a trick of disappearing as soon as he considered he had done enough for the money." The remark has a spice of malice about it, and is hardly in accord­ance with what is known of Balfe's open-handed disposition.
Balfe and the pianist Sigismund Thalberg were great friends, and the two were always playing practical jokes on one another. Once, however, Thalberg nearly offended Balfe for life. The latter was singing "The Light of Other Days," in which he greatly fancied himself, when at a moment of deepest pathos Thalberg crept up behind him and popped a lump of sugar into his mouth. Balfe's Irish temper was up in a moment and there threatened to be a serious breach, but luckily his sense of humour saved the situation.
This new fashion of a cornet accompaniment, mentioned above, was later introduced again in
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