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AN HARMONIOUS QUARTET 193
fact that he played it for Maybrick when the latter sang it in manuscript for the first time in public at a Stratford Bow subscription concert. Maybrick was somewhat nervous as to its reception, but his fears were soon allayed, as it secured a tremendous encore. It is said that the song was refused by several publishers, who have probably since regretted the fact, especially in view of the following paragraph which appeared in the columns of a musical journal in January, 1878: " "Nancy Lee' is the greatest song of the present day. Seventy thousand copies have been sold in about eighteen months, and yet the demand continues."
" An unmusical friend," said Weatherly once, in speaking of " Nancy Lee," " who prided himself on his common sense, told me that the refrain 'The sailor's wife, the sailor's star shall be' was a fine sentiment. He liked the idea that the sailor's wife was always looking after him, but he wanted to know whether the words meant that, being up aloft, she could always keep an eye on him."
An equally famous song was the ''Midship-mite," which had a tremendous run of popularity. When sung by Maybrick himself at the St. James's Hall ballad concerts it created quite a furore. Apropos of this the following story, for which Mr. Mackinlay is my authority, is rather amusing:— 0