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Jenny Lind, an internationally acclaimed singing sensation, made an American tour in 1850 and 1851. Her only appearance in Indiana was on April 11, 1851, in Madison.
Olive Logan, a former actress, lecturer, and author, repeated the following story that she had heard about Jenny Lind's visit to Madison. Since the pieces mentioned do not match the advertised program for the evening, the story may be an apocryphal "Hoosier joke."
A lady in whom I have the fullest confidence relates as an actual fact the story of Jenny Lind and the Hoosier. She tells me that during her march of triumph through America, and after her visit to Cincinnati, where she captivated all hearts, Jenny Lind found herself one evening in the (then) small town of Madison, Indiana, where Mr. Barnum had made an arrangement with the captain of the mail steamer which plies between Cincinnati and Louisville, to have the boat lie by on the Indiana shore long enough for the divine Jenny to give a concert at Madison.
The largest building in town having been prepared for her reception, an auction of the tickets took place in the hall on the morning of her arrival. The capacity of the building was fully tested by the anxious Madisonians.
'Coming through the Rye' was given first. This was followed by 'Home, Sweet Home;' and who can describe the marvelous effect of that song, as rendered by Jenny Lind? The famous 'Bird Song' was then the popular air of the country, and it was given as the concluding piece on the evening in question. The last line of the song ran thus: 'I know not, I know not why I am singing,' and Jenny gave it with her full power. At this moment a genuine Hoosier, indigenous to the soil, rose up in the auditorium, and thus delivered himself:
'You don't know why you are singing? Gosh! I know, if you don't! You're singing to the tune of five dollars a head, and I reckon dad's hogs will have to suffer for my ticket!'