Manners and customs of ye Englyshe/Ye Pvblick its Excytemente on ve Appearance of Miss Lind.

Illustrated by Richard Doyle

Manners and Customs of ye Englyshe in 1849. No. 9.

Ye Publick its Excytemente on ye Appearance of Miss Lind.


Ye Pvblick its Excytemente on ve Appearance of Miss Lind.

[Saturday, May 5, 1849.]

TO the Queen's Houſe in the Haymarket to hear Jemmy Lind, whom Everybody do call the Swediſh Nightingale. Did go with a Pit Ticket, coll me 8 s. 6d., which is a mighty Sum of Money to pay for only the Chance of a Seat. Went at 6, p. m., expecting a Crowd, and there a Mob of People already at the Doors, and ſome did ſay they had come as early as Five. Got as cloſe as I could to the Pit Entrance, and the Throng increaſing; and by-and-by Ladies in their Opera Dreſſes ſtanding without their Bonnets in the Street. Many of them between the Carriage Wheels and under the Horſes' Meads: and methinks I did never ſee more Carriages together in my Life. At laſt the Doors open; which did begin to fear they never would, and I in with the Preſs, a moſt terrible Cruſh, and the Ladies (creaming and their Dreſſes torn in the Scramble, wherefore I thought it a good Job that my Wife was not with me. With much ado into the Pit, the Way being ſtopped by a Snob in a green Jockey Coat and Bird's Eye Neckcloth, that the Checktakers would not ſuffer to paſs. The Pit full in a Twinkling, and I fain to ſtand where I bed might, nigh to Fop's Alley: but preſenty a Lady fainting with the Heat and carried out, which was glad of; I mean that I got her Place. I did never behold ſo much Company in the Houſe before; and every Box full of Beauties, and hung with yellow Satin Curtains, did ſhow like a brave Picture in a Gold Frame; which was very handſome to look round upon while the Muſicians were tuning. The Fiddles tuned, and the Overture played, the Curtain up for the Opera; which was the Sonnambula; the Part of Amina acted by Jenny. The momentſhe came on the Stage, the Audience, Lords, Ladies, and all, upon their Legs,ſhouting, cheering, waving Hats and Handkerchiefs, and clapping of Hands in white Kid Gloves. But at laſt they ſilent, and let the Nightingale ſing; and for certain ſhe is a wonderful Singer. It did amaze me to hear how eaſy and ſweetly me do trill and warble the moſt difficult Paſſages: and I perceive ſhe hath a rare Ability of Voice. But what did no leſs aſtoniſh me was her Acting, it being as good as her Singing; for ſhe did ſeem to forget herſelf in her Part, inſtead of her Part in herſelf; which is the Miſtake of moſt Opera Singers. To think that ſhe ſhould draw the whole Town in Crowds together to hear her ſing a few pretty Sugar-plum Melodies and portray the Grief of a poor Peaſant Wench caſt off by her Lover! But ſhe do put a Grace and Beauty of her own into the Character and Muſique: which I take to be the Mark of a true Genius. She made to ſing divers Songs twice over, and called upon the Stage at the End of the Act, and again when the Opera was finiſhed; when, good Lack, to ſee the Noſegays and Poſies flung in Heaps upon the Stage! She muſt needs get a Mint of Money by her Singing; but ſhe has ſpent a Deal of it in building Hoſpitals, and I do wiſh (Heaven forgive me !) I had all ſhe has given away in Charity.