Article #191 - Jenny Lind



            Jenny Lind in Philadelphia



            Ever anxious to keep pace with the times in what is new and interesting, and having recently had a fair specimen of Negro oritory [sic] in which the cause of humanity was earnestly

enlisted, and a few days later enjoyed a delightful intellectual feast provided by the world renowned orator, phylanthropist [sic] and reformer from the British Parliament and upon seeing

it announced in one of our county papers that the far-famed songstress from Sweden wouild give her last concert but one on the 14th, I resolved to go and hear her.

            The day was beautiful, though warm, and as I passed by the wood on my way to the Depot, my attention was arrested by the incessant din of our periodical visitors who were

busily enguaged [sic] in their concert by which I was led to make a contemplation of Jenny’s musical performance.

            As the borough clock struck four we pushed out our omnibus and hooked in the old iron horse who immediately gave one tremendous s[q]ueal as if he had been spurred in the flank, which were immediately succeeded by a severe spell of coughing as though he had heaves or some

other pulmonary disease he had caught by keeping bad hours or eating dry clover hay, but at length he shook his narataive [?] all of a sudden and we were of[f] to hear Jenny with light hearts and anticipating great pleasure. I use the word we now as I had an acquaintance for comrade. Our old black snorted and puffed after the spasmodic action subsided, though he trotted rather high until he turned out on Uncle Sam’s course when he went right down to it at the rate of 2.4 [?] as the saying is. In the course of 2 hours and a quarter we landed at Market and Broad where I met an acquaintance who bore the disagreeable news that every ticket was sold and there was no possible chance of gaining admittance. I tell you now this went down like a dose of assafoetida, yet I determined to make an effort so down Market we went at countryman’s gait until we arrived at the Penn [?] Hotel where we swallowed a snack in about the same time that a toad would swallow a june bug, with the intention of masticating it for past time while the audience assembled. We left this place without much ceremony to search for the whereabouts of the musical fund Hall which was found with but little difficulty but to gain admittance was drawing teeth or rather dingbats. Tickets all sold, last hope extinguished, I felt as if I would rather be at home with mother.

            At this moment the words given by the gallant Capt. Perry to his soldiers at the crisis of battle, Don’t Give up the Ship, flit across my mind which induced me to make another effort by which I purchased a ticket and secured a tolerable good seat. This you must recollect was about an hour and a half before the concert commenced, which forcibly reminded me of the kitchen

addage [sic] that a watched pot was long about boiling.

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temperature of the atmosphere besides the frequent inspiration and exhalation was charged with carbonic acid gas almost to suffocation which set the fans in motion similar like the bees on a warm summers day.

            It appeared to me as though time had forsaken its light and pleasant wide and shady paths, to journey across a desert of sand in a sled. But at length the long [??] came at last. Musicians made their appearance amid shouts of applause from part of the spectators, who [??] the instruments of a complete band, which when tuned were straightened out on an overture, which in fact turned him over to its old gaiety if not faster. This was succeeded by a

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manner, yet I was not much delighted, because I went to hear a lady not a gentleman with black mustaches hanging over a great opening in his face like a hedge fence leaning over a ditch or the latter end of our dog’s tail when he brushes it on the floor, which to me are disgusting. A few

moments of silence ensued in which every eye was directed to the stage to catch a glimpse of the world renowned songstress when brought forward for introduction which was done amid deafening and long continued shouts of applause from every curious spectator to whom she bowed in a very graceful and genteel manner. The tumult at length subsided to a dead stillness when Jenny after assuming the best possible position commenced her warbling. I had before heard vocal music that was pleasant to the auditories but there appeared to be almost as much difference between that and Jenny Lind’s as the music of the base [sic] drum and fine finished violin. It would be vain for me to attempt to convey to you an exact or correct knowledge

of her musical gifts and talents as a songstress, as appeared forth in beautiful melodies or notes as [I] ne’er had heard, though the language of the songs was a perfect stranger. Such a command of voice carrying it with the greatest ease from the sharp and thrilling notes which could be heard distinctly at the distance of 300 feet to a few bars lower when it would produce a loud and heavy

strain similar to the continued quire and organ and descending bar after bar with the regularity of a scale to the soft and low notes sounded by the [A]eolian harp when gently fanned on a summers day until every listener leaned forward from his seat as though they were anxious to go with this note that appeared to reverberate with her beautiful eyes cast downward and an expression of countenance that would become an angel or serve as a key to unlock every recess of his heart

where we find, virtue, piety, charity and disposition to forgive occupy the most prominent position, which after a time she recalled and with apparent light effort resumed a medium tone.

            Such variations as this were of no uncommon occurrence during her performance. When she retired after each song, the spacious hall was shaken to its foundations by the stamping of its many delighted occupants and the air was filled [with] sounds of merriment.

            The last and best piece that was performed was the simple Scotch song of coming through the rye. I oft had heard this sung at, but when the same words were set to music by the Swedish Nightingail [sic] I discovered beauties I least thought existed in those words but like unto the

block of marble in its crude under the chisel of the sculptor it requires a master hand to bring out the hidden beauties that so long have remained dormant. I returned home the next morning much pleased with my journey though something lighter in pocket, yet whenever I hear Jenny spoken of as a songstress it affords me pleasure to enable to judge of her superior talents by personal observation Thus ends my nar[r]ative.