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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66              A CENTURY OF BALLADS
there was nothing for it but compliance. He sang the ' Bay of Biscay'; the sudden lull was positively startling—it was a calm in which after the discordant cries his melodious voice seemed additionally sweet, but no sooner had the last mellifluous note died away than a simultaneous and intensified shout burst forth, the shrill cries of women and hurrahs of men combining to support the bravos and clappings of ladies as well as gentlemen."
Mr. Baring-Gould tells a story of Lady Hamil­ton and Braham's singing of 'The Death of Nelson " which I cannot refrain from repeating here. Mathews, the comedian, being informed by Lady Hamilton that she intended to come and see The Americans at the Lyceum, did his best to dissuade her, thinking that the subject of the opera would be likely to distress her. However, Lady Hamilton disregarded the warning, and Mathews, seeing her come into a private box one evening, went to Spring, the box-keeper, and, taking out his watch, said, " Spring, I give you notice that at twenty minutes past nine o'clock (the usual hour at which the ' Death of Nelson ' was sung) a large lady, now sitting in the stage-box opposite, will be taken very ill and require assistance. On no account be out of the way, and have ready a glass of water and a bottle of smell­ing-salts." Precisely at twenty minutes past nine
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