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264 A CENTURY OF BALLADS
about with him, and often has them in his mind for a year or longer before he attempts to set them. "I memorise the words," he said once, "eat them up, chew them thoroughly, until I am filled with the spirit of them." Then he awaits the necessary inspiration.
The songs of Lawrence Kellie may be said to form a sort of link between to-day and yesterday. It was in 1886 that he made his first public appearance, at the Royal Academy of Music concert, in the triple role of composer, singer, and accompanist, which was, I believe, a novelty in those days. The songs he sang on that occasion were "How easily things go wrong' and a setting of Tennyson's "As through the land at eve we went." To the former there is an interesting story attached.
Maude Valerie White heard the song, and was immensely struck with it. She took the young composer down to Metzler's and made him sing it to them. They were delighted with it, and straightway offered him a contract to write songs for them. From this circumstance sprang Kellie's future career as a composer. But as to the song itself there is yet another story. When it came to the question of publication a difficulty arose about the copyright of the words, which, as everyone knows, were written by George Macdonald, and it was not till twenty