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THE BALLAD FIFTY YEARS AGO 139
" Alice, where art thou ? " instantly sprang into favour. It was first offered to Duncan Davidson (brother of James W. Davidson, the Times critic), who had a small music business at the corner of Regent Street, and had formerly been chief clerk with a Mr. Wessel, the predecessor of Ashdown and Parry. Wessel, it may be noted, originally had a shop over Verrey's, but afterwards removed to Hanover Square, where, when he retired, Ashdown and Parry took over the business. What Ascher received for the song history does not relate, but the eventual publishers must have made a fortune out of it. The words were written by W. Guernsey, who was also the author of " I'll think of thee."
Another popular song which was published by Davidson was Henry Smart's " Lady of the Lea," which was sung so much by Madame Sainton-Dolby. Here, again, no other song of this composer's seems to have attracted much attention, though "Chrystabel," "I'm under the window," and " Only a Rose " were moderately popular.
Two other composers who may fairly be considered as one-song men are Alexander Reichardt, the composer of " Thou art so near and yet so far," and Brinsley Richards, who wrote " God bless the Prince of Wales," the English version of which was by G. Linley. Perhaps Reichardt's "My heart's in the highlands" and "Love's