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Fanny Kemble

  • The spring is already here with her hands full of flowers.

  • Maids must be wives, and mothers, to fulfill / Th' entire and holiest end of woman's being.

  • ... Christmas is a season of such infinite labour, as well as expense in the shopping and present-making line, that almost every woman I know is good for nothing in purse and person for a month afterwards ...

  • An actor's life is the shadow of a cloud, the echo of a sound, the memory of a dream, nothing come of nothing. The finest actor does not create, he is but a translator of another man's work.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • in Margaret Armstrong, Fanny Kemble: A Passionate Victorian ()
  • ... cultivate in young minds an equal love of the good, the beautiful and the absurd; most people's lives are too lead-colored to lose the smallest twinkle of light from a flash of nonsense.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • in Margaret Armstrong, Fanny Kemble: A Passionate Victorian ()
  • I am persuaded that we are all surrounded by an atmosphere — a separate, sensitive, distinct envelope extending some distance from our visible persons — and whenever my invisible atmosphere is invaded, it affects my whole nervous system. The proximity of any bodies but those I love best is unendurable to my body.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • in Margaret Armstrong, Fanny Kemble: A Passionate Victorian ()
  • [When her husband said her earnings as a married woman belonged to him:] I cannot persuade myself that that which I invent — create, in fact — can belong to anyone but myself! I wish that women could be dealt with, not mercifully, not compassionately, nor affectionately, but justly; it would be so much better — for the men.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • in Margaret Armstrong, Fanny Kemble: A Passionate Victorian ()
  • The end is come in thunder and wild rain / Autumn has stormed the golden house of summer.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • in Margaret Armstrong, Fanny Kemble: A Passionate Victorian ()
  • Place, time, life, death, earth, heaven are divisions and distinctions we make, like the imaginary lines we trace upon the surface of the globe.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • in Margaret Armstrong, Fanny Kemble: A Passionate Victorian ()
  • Your theory of partial immortality is abhorrent to me. I would rather disbelieve in the immortality of my own soul than suppose the boon given to me was withheld from any of my fellow creatures.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • in Margaret Armstrong, Fanny Kemble: A Passionate Victorian ()
  • The death I should prefer would be to break my neck off the back of a good horse at a full gallop on a fine day.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • in Margaret Armstrong, Fanny Kemble: A Passionate Victorian ()
  • [On acting with William Charles Macready:] He growls and prowls and roams and foams around the stage, in every direction, like the tiger in his cage, so that I never know which side of me he means to be, and keeps up a perpetual snarling and grumbling so that I never feel sure that he has done and that it is my turn to speak.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • in Margaret Armstrong, Fanny Kemble: A Passionate Victorian ()
  • [On John Brown:] The poor wretch is hanged, but from his grave a root of bitterness will spring, the fruit of which at no distant day may be disunion and civil war.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • 1861, in Margaret Armstrong, Fanny Kemble: A Passionate Victorian ()
  • Those that we love never alter, unless we cease to love them ...

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • in Margaret Armstrong, Fanny Kemble: A Passionate Victorian ()
  • Politics of all sorts, I confess, are far beyond my limited powers of comprehension. Those of this country as far as I have been able to observe, resolve themselves into two great motives. The aristocratic desire of elevation and separation, and the democratic desire of demolishing and levelling.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • 1832, in Fanny Kemble Wister, ed., Fanny: The American Kemble ()
  • My chief time for reading is at night while brushing my hair before I go to bed, and as you may suppose, but little profit and pleasure can be derived from such mere sips at the well of knowledge. 'Tis a great privation to me, for my desire for information increases instead of diminishing, and I look forward with great anxiety to the time when I can improve my poor neglected mind and learn some of the few exhaustless store of things which I wish to know.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • 1834, in Fanny Kemble Wister, ed., Fanny: The American Kemble ()
  • ... it's always determined characters who make the greatest fools.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • 1834, in Fanny Kemble Wister, ed., Fanny: The American Kemble ()
  • When marriage is what it ought to be, it is indeed the very happiest condition of existence.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • 1835, in Fanny Kemble Wister, ed., Fanny: The American Kemble ()
  • This country is so vast that one half might eat the other half and the third half be none the worse.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • 1835, in Fanny Kemble Wister, ed., Fanny: The American Kemble ()
  • ... assuredly of all earthly conditions uncertainty is the most unblest ...

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • 1838, in Fanny Kemble Wister, ed., Fanny: The American Kemble ()
  • [On disagreeing with her husband about his slave-holding:] I cannot give my conscience into the keeping of another human being or submit the actions dictated by my conscience to their will.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • 1842, in Fanny Kemble Wister, ed., Fanny: The American Kemble ()
  • Better trust all and be deceived, / And weep that trust and that deceiving, / Than doubt one heart that, if believed, / Had blessed one's life with true believing.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • "Faith," in Fanny B. Bates, ed., Between the Lights: Thoughts for the Quiet Hour ()
  • The Southern newspapers, with their advertisements of negro sales and personal descriptions of fugitive slaves, supply details of misery that it would be difficult for imagination to exceed. Scorn, derision, insult, menace — the handcuff, the last — the tearing away of children from parents, of husbands from wives — the weary trudging in droves along the common highways, the labor of body, the despair of mind, the sickness of heart — these are the realities which belong to the system, and form the rule, rather that the exception, in the slave's experience.

  • ... children are made of eyes and ears, and nothing, however minute, escapes their microscopic observation.

  • [Letter to the editor on Uncle Tom's Cabin:] In treating Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe's work as an exaggerated picture of the evils of slavery, I beg to assure you that you do her serious injustice: of the merits of her book as a work of art I have no desire to speak; to its power as a most interesting and pathetic story, all England and America can bear witness; but of its truth and moderation as a representation of the slave system in the United States, I can testify with the experience of an eyewitness, having been a resident in the Southern states and had opportunities of observation such as no one who has not lived on a slave estate can have. ... with the exception of the horrible catastrophe, the flogging to death of poor Tom, she has portrayed none of the most revolting instances of crime produced by the slave system, with which she might have darkened her picture, without detracting from its perfect truth.

Fanny Kemble, English actor, writer, abolitionist

(1809 - 1893)

Full name: Frances Anne Kemble.