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Jenny Lind On A Mississippi Steam Boat

Jenny Lind On A Mississippi Steam Boat image
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Capt. St. Clair Thomassen, who died tli other day, used to be commander of on of the great Mii-sissippi stearoer.0, and wa fond of relating the incidents of a journey made on his boat by the famnus prim, donna frotn New Orleans to Louisville His story runs as follows : " Wlien we were fairly on our way u the river, one of' the ladies - she was a great belle in her day, the daughter of a senator, and afterwurds a wife of one of ou foreign ministers- came to me and aske whether it were really true that Miss Lin ueaiu to keep her stateroom all the way to Memphia. 01 eourse not,' said I. 'Everybody cornos to dioocr on my boat.' "Then I went to Barnutn- Barnuni, the showman- who was nianaLÍng Miss Lind "'Barnam,' said I, 'is Miss Lind get ting ready for dinner V ' 11 Barnum looked surprieed. ' Why, no,' said he, 'Miss Lind eats her meals in her room.' " ' Not on my boat,' said I ; for you see I didn't want to disappuint the ladies. Well, Barnuin and I argued this awhile, and then I agreed to talk to Miss Lind myself about it. I knocked at the door oi her stateroom. "The pleasantest voice I ever heard said, 'Come in.' " ' Miss Lind, said I, I am the captain of this boat. There are twenty ladies on board- ladies of the ürst station in Amerioa - whom I had brought anywherc trom 200 to 600 miles down to New Orleans to hear and to see you. They couldn't get even to the door of' jour concert room f br thecrowd. So they took passage on my boat againwith no other hope than just to see you. They didn't mean to be rude- neither do I ; but I do hope you will satisfy theni and not seclude yourself all this long trip.' " ' My dear captiaine,' said she, as pleasantly as could be, 'I don't niean to hide myself. Why should I ? But what would you have me do ? ' "'Come and sit at my right hand at dinner,' said 1. ' It's nearly time for tlie bell toring.' "'Wiz ze greatest pleazure,' said the great lady, and when dinner was ready she came out of' her stateroom smiling, and bowed to everybody in the ladies' cabio, and sat down by my side. " ' Will you not do me ze honaire to introduce me to ze ladies ? ' she said, and I introduced her to all the lady passengers that were at my table- all the ladies, mind 'OU. It was the most pleasant dinner 1 ever had. After dinner the tables were cleared away, and Miss Lind sat dowo on the sofa at the end of the cabin. I went brward to where Barnum wassitting, near the clerk's office. ' Barnum,' I said, won't Miss Lind sing sonjething for the ladies? ' " 'Captain,' said he, turning on me, 'are 'ou going raving mad? Miss Lind sing in a public place like this ! Why, man, you make me laugh ! Miss Lind gets a thousand dollars for every song she sings. Perlaps you've got a thousand dollars about you to spare. Offer her that, and then - ' " 'Allright, Barnum,' said I, 'we'llsee.' " Well, then, I went into the pantry and got my nigger band together. There was one likely young boy among 'em who had such a voice as you never heard. 1 was younger, then, considerably, than I aui now, but I could never hear that boy sing one of his old plantation songs without the ars coming into my eyes. ButI thought would try him íirst. So one of the boys ept time on his banjo, and the fellow saug over his song. It was about a yellow girl fho had been sold off into slavery from ïer Louiuiana home into Ueorgia. I alpays thought the boy made it up himself. never heard the music or tho words be'ore or since. The words didn't exactly hyme, nor the niueic wasn't such as you - . :_ in i.i, iuv i i.,,cn ;b wo„u j.. So I got the boys together in tiio cabio, and ifter they had played awhile the boy sang lis song. Miss Lind listened from first to ast, and there were tears in her eyes, too, when it was throueb. I don't exaotlv cnow how it was, but five mioutes aftcrward she was at the piano and sang first he music of that Bong as well as she eould emember it, and then song after song of kt owd. And not only that eveniag ither, but every eyeniog that she was on he boat. The pianist of her troupe played, oo, and the other members of the cotnpany sang or played, and my ladies also, nd such concertH there never were in Araerica before or since.


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News