Jenny Lind: the Swedish Nightingale

By Gladys Denny Shultz | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN
"Their Sufferings Have Become Historic"

AT FIRST few people noticed the simply dressed young woman who sat toward the back of the George Grotes' box at Her Majesty's Theatre. Nevertheless a rumor that Jenny Lind was present began to spread through the house. There was a stir of excitement when Mr. Lumley visited the box and bowed low over the hand of the mysterious lady. And when Signor Lablache followed suit between acts, a murmur ran through the entire audience. From then on all eyes were directed toward the Grotes' box, instead of toward the stage.

But Jenny refused to discuss any arrangements for her London debut, or even to meet the conductor of Her Majesty's Theatre, Mr. Balfe. At a party the Grotes gave for Jenny, with Mendelssohn, Lablache and Mr. Lumley among the guests, Mendelssohn played the piano for a little while and then asked Jenny to sing his "On Wings of Song," with which she had created so tremendous a sensation in Leipzig. Jenny began to sing, but broke down and was unable to continue, just as she had done when she sang for Manuel Garcia. Lablache bridged the awkward moment with some amusing Italian songs, and Mendelssohn played again for the company. Then Jenny tried again, this time singing some of her Swedish songs, and enchanted the group.

But talk with Mr. Lumley about her appearance at the theater she would not. Her Majesty's limped along, with Mr. Lumley giving away

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