The woman who had her in charge when a child used to lock her in a room when she went off to the daily work. There by the hour Jenny would sit at the window, her only amusement singing, while she stroked her cat on her lap. But sitting there by the window her voice fell on a listener in the street. The listener called a music master to stand by the same window, and he was fascinated and amazed, and took the child to the director of the Royal Opera, asking for her the advantages of musical education, and the director roughly said: “What shall we do with that ugly thing? See what feet she has. And, then, her face; she will never be presentable. No, we can’t take her. Away with her!” But God had decreed for this child of nature a grand career, and all those sorrows were woven into her faculty of song. She never could have been what she became, royally arrayed on the platforms of Berlin and Vienna and Paris and London and New York, had she not first been the poor girl in the garret at Stockholm. She had been perfected through suffering. That she was genuinely Christian I prove not more from her charities than from these words which she wrote in an album during her triumphal American tour:
In vain I seek for rest
In all created good;
It leaves me still unblest
And makes me cry for God.
And safe at rest I cannot be
Until my heart finds rest in Thee.
There never was anyone who could equal Jenny Lind in the warble. Some said it was like a lark, but she surpassed the lark. Oh, what a warble! I hear it yet. All who heard it thirty-five years ago are hearing it yet.
I should probably have been a lawyer, except for the prayers of my mother and father that I should preach the Gospel. Later, I entered the New Brunswick Theological Seminary. Why I ever thought of any other work in the world than that which I have done, is another mystery of my youth. Everything in my heredity and in my heart indicated my career as a preacher. And yet, in the days of my infancy I was carried by Christian parents to the house of God, and consecrated in baptism to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost; but that did not save me. In after time I was taught to kneel at the Christian family altar with father and mother and brothers and sisters. In after time I read Doddridge’s “Rise and Progress,” and Baxter’s “Call to the Unconverted,” and all the religious books around my father’s household; but that did not save me. But one day the voice of Christ came into my heart saying, “Repent, repent; believe, believe,” and I accepted the offer of mercy.