INTERVIEWED THE JERSEY LILY.
' Tell you something about myself ? What do you want to know ? Everything ? That , s rather cruel of you to ask me to be my own biographer, but I'll try. Let me see, you mean my public life, of course ; my pi-ivate affairs cannot possibly interest anybody. You think they would ? How very odd ! Now I would much prefer to confine our conversation to my public career, if you don't mind. You don't, do you ? ' About my friends ? Why, that would be worse still; I hate to talk about myself, but I think it would not be in good taste to gossip abeut the dear friends who have been so kind to me. Very well, then. How persistent you are ! I will tell you how I came before the public if you wish. You know my father is a prominent man in the church. He is the Dean of Jersey and the head of the cccl csiastics in Jersey, and the oldest dean in the Church of England. It is rather curious that all my ancestors—father, grandfather, great grandfather, and I don't know how many more—have been deans. The Le Bretons seem to have a sort of prescriptive right to the deanery of Jersey. My pedigree being good, and my position in Jersey society being assured, it was not surprising that I should be well received. ' Yes, I was born and educated in Jersey, but it is not correct for you to say that I spent my bread-and-butter days there. I never had any bread-and-butter days. As the only sister of six stout brothers I shared their outdoor sports in a most boyish fashion. It would be more accurate to describe my girlhood as my " tomboy days," I think. In reply to my question as to the whereabouts of her six broth ers, Mrs Langtry replied, her beautiful eyes filling with tears : 'Only two of them are living now, One died in Canada, far away from home and family. My brother Clement Le Breton, who is a barrister in good standing in London, married Lord Ranelagh's daughter, and it was through Lord Ranelagh and the painter, Frank Miles, that I was first introduced into London society. This was after I had been married some years to Mr Langtry, who at the time of my marriage owned property in Ireland worth about £3,000 a year, but which is now not worth more than £300. My life in Jersey had been spent almost entirely in the open air, and as Mr Langtry was fond of yachting 1 became an expert yachtswoman and was very fond of all sorts of outdoor exercise, but I longed to see something more of the world.
• Well, I went to London, and was brought oat by my friends. Among the most enthusiastic of those was Mr Frank Miles, the artist. I learned afterwards that he saw mo one evening at a theatre, and tried in vain to discover who I was. He went to his clubs and among his artist friends declaring he had seen a beauty, and he described me to everybody he knew until one day one of his friends met me and was duly introduced. Then Mr Miles came and begged me to sit for my portrait. I consented, and when the portrait was finished he sold it to Prince Leopold. From that time I was invited everywhere, and made a great deal of by many members of the Royal family and the nobility. My husband was delighted at my social success—which he did not, however, care to share—and supplied me freely with the means of going about in English society. The painters completed the work of making me popular. They raved about my " classical hand" as they called it, and declared that they discovered in the shape of my neck rare " lines of beauty." ' ' Now you must know I had never set myself up for a beauty. I never thought I was one, and don't think I am now. lam never in the least surprised when I hear people say they are very much disappointed about my beauty. But the artists insisted that I was. After Frank Miles, I sat for portraits to Millais and Burne Jones, and Erith is putting my face in one of his great pictures.' 'Is it true, Mrs Langtry.' I asked, ' that Mr Miles, having introduced you to the Duke and Duchess of Westminster, Lord and Lady Rosslyn, Lord and Lady Dudley, the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort, you were in a few weeks the favored guest of the Prince and Prinsess of Wales ?'
'It would be absurd,' she replied, ' for mo to enter into explanations as to the precise mode adopted by my friends to make me welcome among the English nobility, and I don't think it would be in good taste to name all tho people to whom I was introduced and who received me. Do you ? In this country we think it best to avoid the mention of great names as much as possible. You want to know how I came to adopt the stage, and I am telling you. After the painters the photographers set to work, and I became famous so that the people stood on chairs in the street to see me pass, and the shopkeepers named their goods after me. I really wish you had not made me talk so much about myself. Let us get to the theatrical career.'—['New York Herald' interview with Mrs Langtry.]
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INTERVIEWED THE JERSEY LILY., Daily Telegraph, Issue 3507, 3 October 1882
INTERVIEWED THE JERSEY LILY. Daily Telegraph, Issue 3507, 3 October 1882
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