Kemble, Fanny (1809-1893)

Kemble, Fanny 1

[Kemble briefly dominated the London stage between 1829 and 1831, but then moved to the U.S. and married a Southern planter. They divorced in 1848, whereupon she resumed her theatrical career. She left an eight-volume autobiography.]

Wishing to explore the countryside of Massachusetts, where she was spending a summer vacation, Miss Kemble hired a local farmer to drive her around. As they set off on their first excursion, the farmer embarked on a detailed description of the area. Fanny brusquely interrupted him: "I hired you to drive me, not talk to me." The farmer said no more until the end of the holiday, when he presented his bill. Miss Kemble studied it for a moment or two. Pointing to one entry, she asked: "What is this item?"

"Sass, five dollars," drawled the farmer. "I don't often take it, but when I do I charge."

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Revised November 11, 1998