Jenny Lind: the Swedish Nightingale

By Gladys Denny Shultz | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
Out into the Great World

ON APRIL 17, 1847, Jenny's good friends, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and Mrs. George Grote, were pacing anxiously up and down on the west side of Belgrave Square in London, with an eye always on the doorway of the Grote house. They had been waiting in Mrs. Grote's drawing room for Jenny to arrive from the Continent. But she had not arrived, and they had begun to fear very much that she would not. Finally, to relieve their tension, they had taken to walking up and down out of doors.

Jenny had been giving her friends in London a very bad time that spring. She had contracted to make her London debut in Her Majesty's Theatre in early April, arriving in the English capital as soon as possible after the close in March of her engagement with the Vienna Opera. But instead she had stayed on in Vienna. His Majesty, King Ferdinand of Austria, had appointed her Imperial Chamber Singer, she was making appearances at the Austrian Court; she refused even to discuss going to London with an emissary sent out from Her Majesty's Theatre.

Almost too much had happened to Jenny in the five years that had elapsed since her year of study in Paris. She had been dragged into the great world in earnest, protesting every step of the way. It appeared that she had decided she had gone far enough and had determined, with unshakable obstinacy, not to go one step farther.

To begin with, she had not been compelled, after all, as it is hardly

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