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Kathleen, Lady Kennet


Kathleen, Lady Kennet, born Kathleen Bruce (1878-1947), English sculptress.


From her autobiography titled Self-portrait of an artist, 1949.\



  "As an artist I thought of the dancer as a resplendent deity; as a human being I thought of her as a disgracefully naughty child. As an artist I exulted in her; as a tiresome child I could not abandon her. "Come with me to Brussels," said she, and I went. "Come with me to Berlin," and I went. "Come with me to The Hague."

  At each place and many more she gave her grand performance. The greatest conductors led the finest orchestras for her; the houses were crowded out. At Liege one night the audience stood up in their seats and waved their hats and roared.

  I sat quietly on my seat, disposing of my preposterous tears before going round to see that my dancer had her fruit and milk and a shawl over her whilst she cooled off, before facing the wild enthusiasts who surged around the stage-door and yelled their delight.


  No friends at all had we in these foreign towns. If pressmen came the dancer was self-conscious and austere, and since she talked nothing but American the interviews were brief. We got up early, ran in any park that was near, and did a few gymnastics.

  Whatever happened later, and terrible things did happen, at that time the dancer was a healthy, simple-living, hard-working artist, neither beautiful nor intelligent apart from her one great gift for expression. Moreover, she was not musical in the usual sense of the word, though her rhythm could rouse the greatest and the least to delirious rapture.

  She was open-handed, sweet-tempered, pliable, and easy-going. "Oh, what's the difference?" she would say, if I, who hated to see her put upon, wanted to stand out against over-charges. "What's the difference?" But she ate carefully, and drank nothing ever at this time but water or milk. She was making enormous sums of money.

  Whatever she may have thought of herself afterwards, at that time she was nothing but a frightened girl."





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