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ST. JAMES'S HALL BALLAD CONCERTS 215
tumes, or gestures. It is a question of art, interpretation, and personality combined."
She always read the words of a new song first. Unless the words pleased her she would not sing the song, however charming. It is a noteworthy fact that Antoinette Sterling sang at every single Boosey ballad concert for twenty consecutive seasons, a record that is probably unique in its way.
Of Sims Reeves there are countless stories told. Mr. Mackinlay gives a neat pen-picture of the famous tenor. " The smiling face, wavy hair parted in the middle, the iron-grey moustache, the frilled shirt, white kid gloves, and neat evening dress. How lightly he would trip on to the platform, amid loud clapping, to sing an encore, a sheet of music in his hands, instead of the book of words which is the more usual substitute nowadays."
Reeves was extremely careful of his voice, and anxious to give the public only of his best. Whenever he felt before a concert the slightest approach of cold or hoarseness he would get into a highly nervous state, which generally culminated in the sending of that long-familiar telegram :—
" Deeply regret a cold prevents my appearing to-night. Sims Reeves."