Jenny Lind: the Swedish Nightingale

By Gladys Denny Shultz | Go to book overview

CHAPTER NINETEEN
After America

WITH P. T. BARNUM no longer dedicated to supplying the newspapers with accounts of her doings, American knowledge of Jenny's later life remained sketchy and was considerably distorted. Barnum, however, did correct a widely circulated rumor in 1890, three years after her death, to the effect that Otto had never loved her and was neglecting her grave. The showman told reporters, when he returned from a trip to England, that Jenny had been very happy with her husband, and that Otto sent fresh flowers to her grave every day. He concluded lyrically, "Her whole life was a song!"

Even Barnum's biographer, M. R. Wemer, seems to have been strangely misinformed about jenny's life after her marriage. He states that her retirement was practically complete, except for a few oratorios in England and a few concerts on the Continent, finding it significant that she "could still her voice as soon as she changed her name to Madame Goldschmidt." He blamed the religious influences to which she had been subjected, naming in particular Josephine Åhmansson and the Bishop of Norwich, for what he considered a defect in her character. "There must have been moments in those later years of uninterrupted existence along family lines when Jenny was restless--for what, she did not know; but unfortunately for the development of her talents, in such moments she could always take quick refuge in God. Some pagan influences might have made her a great woman, for the God she adored had done all He could in the way of native gifts." Werner concludes his section on the Jenny Lind episode in Barnum's life with this paragraph:

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