David Hines (hradzka) wrote,
David Hines
hradzka

more Madge Kendal

At the time of George Eliot's death, Kendal remarked at a gathering that "George Eliot only married for one reason." A gentleman asked what she meant by that, and Kendal said, "To put the word 'wife' on her tombstone."

The gentleman turned out to be George Eliot's widowed husband. AWKWARD.

Most people, if they told this story, would tell it as a moment of horrifying facepalm; Kendal claims that Eliot's husband congratulated her on her brilliant intuition. Kendal also told Eliot's husband that she had cared for Eliot more than he had. Despite having met her maybe six or seven times. And she cites this as a memory she's *proud of.*

Freeeeeeoooowwww. What a piece of work.

(On a better note, she does talk briefly about acting opposite the black American expatriate Ira Aldridge. To judge from her account, Aldridge deliberately manipulated and banked on the audience's inclination to exoticize him: when he played Othello, he insisted that the actress to play Desdemona be as fair-skinned as possible, because he had a bit of business where he took her hand in such a way as to emphasize the difference in their skin tones. He had an impressive command of body language, too, and coupled that gimmick with something inexpressible in his posture -- Kendal could never figure out just what, or how he did it -- but the moment always made the audience applaud.)
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