Impressions That Remained - Memoirs of Ethel Smyth

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Read Books, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 600 pages
IMPRESSIONS THAT REMAINED emoirs By ETHEL SMYTH Introduction by ERNEST NEWMAN NEW YORK ALFKED A. EDSTOPF 1 946 FIRST PUBLISHED 1919 by Longmans, Green Co., Ltd RESET AND REPRINTED September 1946 INTRODUCTION COPYRIGHT 1946 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages or reproduce not more than three illustrations in a review to be printed in a magazine or newspaper. Manufactured in the United States of America. Published simul taneously in Canada by The Ryerson Press. This is a Borzoi Book, published by Alfred A, Knopf, Inc. The Author, agd afam jfk e IN MEMORY OF M E P THE HON. LADY PONSONBY AND OF OUR LONG FRIENDSHIP 1890 1916 1 find Lady Ponsonby, the wise judge the firm Liberal, more and more de lightful at last one feels she is getting old she is eighty-two. She is like a fine flame kindled by sea-logs and sandlewood good to watch and good to warm the mind at, and the heart too. EDITH SICHELL 1914 INTRODUCTION Ethel Smyths Impressions That Remained when it was first published in England I expressed the opinion that this was one of the half-dozen best autobiographies in the English language. This estimate has been confirmed by a recent re-reading of it for the present American edition. But there are several other books by the same author equally worth reading, for Ethel Smyth was one of the most remarkable women of her epoch and I am glad that a request from Mr. Alfred Knopf to furnish an Introduction to this new edition affords me an opportunity of telling the American musi cal public more about her than is contained in her firstbook. The autobiography may be trusted to tell its own story so far as it goes. But it was issued in 1919, and a great deal happened be tween then and the authors death in 1944. The memoirs, apart from a brief reference in the Epilogue to friends or incidents of the years immediately following, carry us only as far as 1892. Writing as she did in 1918 her scope was necessarily restricted here and there by the fact that several people who had played a considerable part in her life-story were still alive. One of these was the Ex-Empress Eug6-nie of France, with whom she was on terms of close friendship for more than a quarter of a century from 1890 onwards, the Empresss English estate at Farnborough Hill being close to the Smyth house at Frimley and to later residences of Ethel. It would obviously have been impossible for the author to write about the Empress at any length or with any freedom while she was still alive. She died, at the age of ninety-five in July 1920 a year or so after the publication of the Impressions and in her second book, Streaks of Life 1921, Ethel Smyth painted a portrait of her that is not only fascinating in itself but of value to students and historians of the Second Empire. The passing of the Empress from the scene also placed the author Introduction at liberty to indulge in some amusing reminiscences of the old Queen Victoria, with whom she had come into contact through Eug6nie they include the rich story, told with rich humour, of the dreadful breach of etiquette of which Ethel was innocently guilty at an after-dinner reception at Balmoral. At one end of the large room was a fireplace, and in front of this a hearthrug on which, in remote dignity, the Queen wasstanding with the Empress. Lead ing up to the two august ladies, says Ethel, was an avenue composed of royal personages ranged, as I afterwards found out, in order of precedence, the highest in rank being closest to the hearthrug which avenue, broadening towards its base, gradually became mere ladies and gentlemen of the Court, and finally petered out in a group of Maids of Honour huddled ingloriously in the bay-window...

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