of American life—a daily journal full of all the doings of all the world.Sometimes even the coarse straw paper failed the publishing fraternity, when an edition was absolutely imperative, yet in such emergency the inventive talent never deserted them. It was considered a wonderful journalistic feat on the part of its publishers for The Vicksburg Citizen, during the siege of that city, to make its appearance, when all other resources had failed, upon wall-paper. Publishers of books and sheet-music occupied a scarcely less helpless condition than the newspaper people. Their sole grounds of superiority consisted in the fact that the demands upon them were not so urgent. The girl who sang to her soldier-lover the popular songs of that time, ‘Lorena,’ ‘When This Cruel War is Over,’ ‘The Standard Bearer,’ or ‘Harp of the South,’ which were all duly advertised ‘at the retail price of $1 per sheet; the trade supplied, however, at half off, with an additional discount where one hundred of one piece are ordered,’ did not experience that immediate and insistent need of the song and its music which men and women alike felt for the newspaper that would tell them where the last battle had been fought, which army had been victorious, who had been promoted, and who had fallen. The fateful column might contain evil or good report of some dear one, and its coming was full of interest and apprehension. Yet the sheet-music, printed, like the newspapers, in the roughest style, upon the commonest paper, with now and then a caricatured lithographic likeness of some Confederate general on the title-page, continued to be sold and sung, even though its price ran from $1 to $2 per sheet. War-songs and war-music were the order of the day, and the soldiers in the camps and the small boys in ragged jackets shouted with an equal zest,The despot's heel is on thy shore!
or,Farewell forever to the star-spangled banner!from diminutive paper-covered books of martial ballads. The little song books cost anywhere from two and a half to five Confederate dollars, and their contents, with a few notable exceptions, were as mediocre as the paper on which they were printed. The sentiment was there, nevertheless, and this was cared for by the singers more than the music or the lyrical or literary excellence of the songs.
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