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Will S. Hays, of Louisville, has nuule a small fortune by writing songs! Among his popular compositions arc “ Mollie Darling,” “ Norah O’Neal,” and “Evangeline.” But he got no money from the latter, though it gave him a start in his business. “Just before the war,” he says, “ I was with some young visitors up in Oldham county, Ky. Among them was a beautiful girl who resembled the ideal pictures of Longfellow’s ‘ Evangeline ’ so closely that I called her by the name. We danced at an outdoor frolic one evening, and soon discovered that four of us could sing together. We tried popular quartettes, and got along so well that we became enthusiastic. About 2 o’clock in the morning we started to walk home. The night was as bright as day, with the full moon hanging in the sky, and as we walked we sang. We sat down on a rock to rest, and ‘ Evangeline ’ began to suggest other songs to sing. * I’ll write you a song,’ said I, * if you’ll promise to sing it before we go home.’ This was agreed to. On the opposite side of the road was a white plank fence. Where we were sitting a party of negroes had been roasting ears of corn, and the charred sticks lay all around. With them I wrote the first verse of the song on the top plank of the fence, and the notes for four voices on the planks beneath. Then we stood off, and sang it. The girls were delighted, and insisted on having a chorus, so I wrote the chorus on the planks. Well, we sang it over and over, and went home singing it. Next morning ‘ Evangeline ’ came downstairs humming the air, and asked me to write it out and finish it. I told her I couldn’t do it, but she might go down and copy it off the fence. She took an umbrella and a sheet of paper, and soon came back with the words and music. Then she insisted on another ’ verse; so I wrote another vrrse, on, condition that I should have a kiss r o: it and she'to have the music.” Hays

sent the composition to various music publishers, but couldn’t sell it, and it was at length made public by the voice of Campbell, the negro minstrel. Three hundred thousand copies have been sold, but the kiss was the only pi.y tl'jie author has received.

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Bibliographic details

ONLY A KISS FOR IT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 541, 23 January 1882

Word Count

ONLY A KISS FOR IT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 541, 23 January 1882

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