excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 269-270 (315 words)

excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 269-270 (315 words)

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Reminiscences of Michael Kelly

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I had composed a plaintive ballad in the second act [of "The Royal Oak"], for a 
Miss Wheatley (formerly a pupil of Attwood's), who possessed a fine deep contre
alto voice...

Upon the fifth representation of the new play, Lady Hamilton, with a party of
friends, occupied one of the stage-boxes, appearing all gaiety and animation.
Scarcely, however, had this ballad commenced, when she became tremulous and
agitated ; and at its conclusion, upon the encore being loudly demanded, she
exclaimed, "For God's sake, remove me I cannot bear it." Her terrified friends
withdrew her from the box, whence she was immediately conveyed home in a
fainting condition. The following morning, Miss Wheatley received a note from her Ladyship, (to
whom she had previously been unknown,) inviting her to her house, where,
after complimenting her upon the force and feeling with which she had given
the melody, she added, "The description brought our glorious Nelson with such
terrible truth before my mind's eye, that you overwhelmed me at the moment,
but now I feel as if I could listen to you in that air for ever." She
prevailed upon her visitor to repeat the ballad no less than four times at
the piano-forte, "as if increase of appetite grew by what it fed upon." Eventually, so powerful became this sentiment, that she induced Miss Wheatley
to retire from the stage altogether, and accept, under her roof, the post of
musical governess to the young Horatia Nelson, who had been confided to her Ladyship's guardianship. Not a day afterwards elapsed, but the favourite song
was put in requisition. I published it under the title of "Rest, warrior, rest.
"It was generally esteemed one of my happiest efforts ; and at the present day
is perpetually performed at concerts and music-meetings, by that delightful
singer, the charming Miss M. Tree, who has given it a renewed fashion and zest.

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excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 269-270 (315 words)


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