Jenny Lind: the Swedish Nightingale

By Gladys Denny Shultz | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWELVE
Benevolent Lady

BARNUM'S announcement signalized a change in his arrangement with Jenny. The auction on Saturday had alone brought in more than $10,000, and the complete sellout indicated that the profit on the first concert, after expenses, would come to $20,000. (This did not include the profit, never divulged, made by ticket speculators, who appeared on the New York City scene for the first time when it became obvious that people would pay any price to hear Jenny Lind. They flourished throughout Jenny's New York run, and ticket speculators have been a fixture in the city ever since.)

As soon as Jenny heard this, she asked that her arrangement with Barnum be reconsidered, though she said she realized that her contract was legally binding, and that she would hold to it if Barnum insisted. He listened attentively, then told her to tear up that contract and have her lawyer draw up another according to her dictation, naming for her services whatever she thought fair. "I will sign it without hesitation." Maunsell Field was sent for and a new contract was drawn up on the spot.

Jenny and Maunsell Field agreed that the move to change the contract came from her. In his memoirs, Barnum says he volunteered the change, and his biographer, M. R. Werner, ponders on the childish vanity Barnum revealed in so doing. The promoter had in fact acted most magnanimously, and when it was found that the profits only amounted to some $17,000, a number of bidders at the auction having failed to pick up their expensive tickets, Barnum gave Jenny $10,000, taking the loss himself. At the same time, in his memoirs he distinctly

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