Fanny Kemble

I want to do everything in the world that can be done.

Fanny Kemble (November 27, 18091893) was a famous British actress and author in the early and mid nineteenth century.


  • Though the Negroes are fed, clothed, and housed, and though the Irish peasant is starved, naked, and roofless, the bare name of freemen—the lordship over his own person, the power to choose and will—are blessings beyond food, raiment, or shelter; possessing which, the want of every comfort of life is yet more tolerable than their fullest enjoyment without them.
    • Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839, ch. 1 (1863).
  • As for the exhortation with which Mr. ------ closes his letter, that I will not "go down to my husband's plantation prejudiced against what I am to find there," I know not well how to answer it. Assuredly I am going prejudiced against slavery, for I am an Englishwoman, in whom the absence of such a prejudice would be disgraceful.
    • Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839, ch. 1 (1863).
  • I want to do everything in the world that can be done.
    • Journal of a Residence in America, entry for September 11, 1832 (1835).
  • Simplicity is a great element of good breeding.
    • Further Records, 1848-1883, vol. 1; entry dated January 20, 1875 (1891).
  • A good many causes tend to make good masters and mistresses quite as rare as good servants.... The large and rapid fortunes by which vulgar and ignorant people become possessed of splendid houses, splendidly furnished, do not, of course, give them the feelings and manners of gentle folks, or in any way really raise them above the servants they employ, who are quite aware of this fact, and that the possession of wealth is literally the only superiority their employers have over them.
    • Further Records, 1848-1883, vol. 1; entry dated February 12, 1874 (1891).


  • What shall I do with all the days and hours
    That must be counted ere I see thy face?
    How shall I charm the interval that lowers
    Between this time and that sweet time of grace?
    • Absence.
  • Maids must be wives and mothers to fulfil
    The entire and holiest end of woman’s being.
    • Woman's Heart.
  • A sacred burden is this life ye bear:
    Look on it, lift it, bear it solemnly,
    Stand up and walk beneath it steadfastly.
    Fail not for sorrow, falter not for sin,
    But onward, upward, till the goal ye win.
    • Lines addressed to the Young Gentleman leaving the Lenox Academy, Mass.
  • Better trust all, and be deceived,
    And weep that trust and that deceiving,
    Than doubt one heart, that if believed
    Had blessed one’s life with true believing.
    • Faith.
  • Youth, with swift feet walks onward in the way;
    The land of joy lies all before his eyes;
    Age, stumbling, lingers slowly day by day,
    Still looking back, for it behind him lies.
    • Faith.

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Last modified on 4 April 2014, at 23:21