<< Back to 'directory' archive

Davenport, Fanny

[T]he artist, whose name is carved in the great book of immortality, was Fanny Davenport. Handsome, full of merriment, making gladness all around her, yet her art was first, and everything must give place to it. When you and I slept, she worked. She learned to become the woman she represented. She learned to know the Italian, the French, the Russian woman, as she really was. While I joyed in the artiste I think, most of all, I loved the woman, and now, when my eyes are filled with tears, it is not that they belonged so much to the great actress, but to the loving wife and sister and the fond and devoted friend. Every one who was of the Davenport kin, no matter how far distant, was recognized and made much of.

I shall never forget a stormy winter day when I met her on the train, that fast train that flies from New York to Buffalo. During the time we were together she was as gleeful as a child, in asmuch as she was trying to make her husband guess what his Christmas gift was.

Like a child in her love of children, she loved them all, and, best of all, dearly loved a little niece who was her namesake. She showered all sorts of wonderful toys and smart little clothes on this small woman and she was most pleased when she was told of something witty that the tiny lady had said. At the time when Mme. Bernhardt was in Boston the French artiste, who also loves children, asked that the little one might be sent to pay her a visit. Dressed in her finest frock and warned that she must do her best in the way of speaking French—for she could chatter in the frivolous tongue a little—she started off with her nurse to call on the lady about whom she had heard them all talk. Mme. Sarah was in bed, but she had her visitor brought up, and she proved a rather embarrassing visitor, since, after being seated on the edge of the bed, she looked and stared as only children can look in that piercing way, as if they were reading one’s soul. At last, annoyed beyond expression, the variable Frenchwoman asked her what she was looking at. Back came the response, “I am looking at you just as hard as I can, and I do believe that my Aunt Fanny is a great deal prettier than you are.” Nurse and baby made a sudden exit, for it is a well known fact that the great artiste still loves to be considered beautiful. Fanny Davenport laughed and upbraided the saucy baby. Still, what woman would not be pleased at such an innocent compliment?

The Witchita Daily Eagle 10/23/1898. Print.

Davenport, The Witchita Daily Eagle, 10/23/1898