Journey into Fame: The Life of Daniel Chester French

Journey into Fame: The Life of Daniel Chester French

Journey into Fame: The Life of Daniel Chester French

Journey into Fame: The Life of Daniel Chester French

Excerpt

It was once my good fortune to live for several years in Stockbridge when Daniel Chester French was one of the most distinguished and best loved of its summer residents. His daughter, the author of this book, was a gay and highly personable young lady -- at an earlier point of history I suspect she would have been described as "dashing" -- who frequently converted her father's large studio into a scene of revelry, with the work-in-progress shoved into a corner under a sheet, and the guests in fancy costumes. Perhaps she will forgive me if I confess that I was not the only person a bit surprised when the news got around that Peggy French was herself working hard at sculpture.

"Do you," I asked her father, somewhat fatuously no doubt, "criticize Margaret's work?"

In his soft, gentle voice he replied, "Freely."

That settled everything, including me, with true Yankee brevity.

I was again a victim when I was exhibiting to Mr. French a new garden I had fashioned. In this garden was a wall fountain, the water spouting from a marble replica of a Greek mask of tragedy. When I say a replica, I mean that you could recognize the intention. I cut it myself from a piece of marble secured from the local tombstone yard, and took great satisfaction, indeed pride, in the fact that visitors unprompted knew what it was meant to be.

"Mr. French," said I, standing beside this work of my hands, "Until I carved this I didn't know I was a sculptor. . . ."

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