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Jenny Lind: The Swedish Nightingale
by [?]

Poor Fru Lind was at last receiving her compensation for the hardships of her life!

But Jenny’s trials were not yet over. Her voice, though pure and clear, was wanting in flexibility, and she could not easily hold a tone or sing even a slight cadence. These defects she worked constantly to overcome, but saw that she was not thrilling her audiences as before, and yet she was conscious of possessing a God-given power of which she must make the most. She felt sure that she needed teaching of a kind not to be gained in Sweden. In Paris was Manuel Garcia, the greatest singing teacher in the world, and to him she felt she must now go. But this could only be achieved by her own effort, as the trip and the teaching would necessitate spending a large sum of money.

At once, before her star had grown any less dim, the plucky girl persuaded her father to go with her on a concert tour of cities in Norway and Sweden. By this she earned the necessary amount, but the trip was very exhausting, including as it did, so much travelling, in all kinds of weather, and after singing twenty-three times in Lucia, fourteen times in Robert le Diable, nine times in Freischutz, seven times in Norma, not to mention other plays and concerts, also appearing for the four hundred and forty-seventh time at the Royal Theatre, where she had first played in the Polish Mine, as a child of ten, she was pretty well tired out. Two weeks later, however, she went to Paris and called on the great singing teacher, Signor Garcia. The opera she sang was Lucia, and she broke down before she was half way through the part, to her intense mortification. The great teacher, approaching the trembling girl, put a hand on her shoulder, saying brusquely, “It would be useless to teach you, Mademoiselle. You have no voice left. You are worn out. I advise you not to sing a note for six months. At the end of that time come to me and I will see what I can do for you.”

Poor Jenny! The words were a death knell to her, and she said afterwards that what she suffered in that moment was beyond all the other agony of her life.

But it was not like her to give way even under such a blow as this. Leaving the great teacher she went to a quiet spot and spent the six months of enforced rest studying French, and at the end of the time went back to Garcia, who to her unspeakable relief said at once, “It is better, far better! I have now something to work on. I will give you two lessons a week!”

In rapture Jenny flew home that day, and in the following months practised scales and exercises, four hours daily, gaining a great deal from Garcia’s method, but always conscious that her real power came from another source, as she said years later, “The greater part of what I can do in my art, I have myself acquired by incredible labour, in spite of astonishing difficulties. By Garcia alone have I been taught some few important things. God had so plainly written within me what I had to study; my ideal was and is so high that I could find no mortal who could in the least degree satisfy my demands. Therefore I sing after no one’s methods, only as far as I am able, after that of the birds, for their Master was the only one who came up to my demands for truth, clearness, and expression.”

After a year under Garcia’s tuition, Jenny went back to the Stockholm Theatre, where she met Myerbeer, the composer, who at once declared her voice was “one of the finest pearls in the world’s chaplet of song,” and immediately arranged to hear her under conditions which would put her voice to a severe test. He arranged a full orchestral rehearsal and Jenny sang in the salon of the Grand Opera, the three great scenes from Robert le Diable, Norma and Der Freischutz so successfully that the young singer returned to her native city a new creature, at last assured of her genius and of her ability to use it rightly, and thrilled with joy at the knowledge of her power.