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SONGS OF TO-DAY AND YESTERDAY 249
finished within an hour. Antoinette Sterling was so pleased that she wanted to purchase it, but he eventually sold it to the publishers outright, without a royalty!
After "The Better Land" had been out for some time Cowen received an amusing letter from a man who was unknown to him, saying that it was one of the finest songs ever written, both as regards words and music, and was rendered even more so by Antoinette Sterling's perfect interpretation of it. Would he (Cowen) set some of the writer's lyrics enclosed in the letter, which ended with the expression of a hope that they four (Cowen, Mrs. Hemans, Sterling, and the writer) would all meet one day in "The Better Land," where they could go on writing and singing beautiful songs between them.
"The Children's Home," the words of which are by Weatherly, had almost as great a vogue as "The Better Land." It represented a type of ballad which was very popular at that time, and though tastes have changed considerably since then the song is by no means forgotten to-day.
To "The Promise of Life' there is rather a quaint story attached, in view of what the song has done since. Cowen wrote it for a firm who objected to it on the grounds that it was too difficult and not popular enough, and asked him