Jenny Lind: the Swedish Nightingale

By Gladys Denny Shultz | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN
The Break with Barnum

JENNY'S welcome back to the Eastern seaboard, however, more than made up for the rudeness of the Pittsburgh miners. Her concerts in Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York were as successful as her first appearances in these cities. The one given for charity in Baltimore cleared more than $37,000. Jenny asked that $2,400 of this be distributed among the orchestra members who had accompanied her on the tour.

In New York, reporters again followed her every move, and the newspapers were filled with compliments for her singing. All but the New YorkHerald. James Gordon Bennett continued his caustic comments, and Walt Whitman, too, sided with the opposition, writing in one of his "Letters from Paumanok," in the New York Evening Post, "The Swedish Swan, with all her blandishments, never touched my heart in the least. I wondered at so much vocal dexterity; and indeed, they were all very pretty, these leaps and double somersaults. But even in the grandest religious airs, genuine masterpieces as they are, of the German composers, executed by this strangely overpraised woman in perfect scientific style, let critics say what they like, it was a failure, for there was a vacuum in the head of the performance. Beauty pervaded it, no doubt, and of a high order, but it was the beauty of Adam before God breathed life into his nostrils." He mentioned Jenny again in his "Good-bye My Fancy." "The canary and several other sweet birds are wondrous fine, but there is something that goes deeper--isn't there?"

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