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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous Sarah Knowles Bolton

Harriet G. Hosmer

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When Harriet tired of books,--for she was an eager reader,--she found delight in a clay-pit in the garden, where she molded horses and dogs to her heart's content. Unused to restraint, she did not like the first school at which she was placed, the principal, the brother-in-law of Nathaniel Hawthorne, writing to her father that he "could do nothing with her."

She was then taken to Mrs. Sedgwick, who kept a famous school at Lenox, Berkshire County. She received "happy Hatty," as she was called, with the remark, "I have a reputation for training wild colts, and I will try this one." And the wise woman succeeded. She won Harriet's confidence, not by the ten thousand times repeated "don't," which so many children hear in home and school, till life seems a prison-pen. She let her run wild, guiding her all the time with so much tact, that the girl scarcely knew she was guided at all. Blessed tact! How many thousands of young people are ruined for lack of it!

She remained here three years. Mrs. Sedgwick says, "She was the most difficult pupil to manage I ever had, but I think I never had one in whom I took so deep an interest, and whom I learned to love so well." About this time, not being quite as well as usual, Dr. Hosmer engaged a physician of, large practice to visit his daughter. The busy man could not be regular, which sadly interfered with Harriet's boating and driving. Complaining one day that it spoiled her pleasure, he said, "If I am alive, I will be here," naming the day and hour.

"Then if you are not here, I am to conclude that you are dead," was the reply.

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As he did not come, Harriet drove to the newspaper offices in Boston that afternoon, and the next morning the community was startled to read of Dr. ----'s sudden death. Friends hastened to the house, and messages of condolence came pouring in. It is probable that he was more punctual after this.

On Harriet's return from Lenox, she began to take lessons in drawing, modeling, and anatomical studies, in Boston, frequently walking from home and back, a distance of fourteen miles. Feeling the need of a thorough course in anatomy, she applied to the Boston Medical School for admittance, and was refused because of her sex. The Medical College of St. Louis proved itself broader, glad to encourage talent wherever found, and received her.

Professor McDowell, under whom the artists Powers and Clevenger studied anatomy, spared no pains to give her every advantage, while the students were uniformly courteous. "I remember him," says Miss Hosmer, "with great affection and gratitude as being a most thorough and patient teacher, as well as at all times a good, kind friend." In testimony of her appreciation, she cut, from a bust of Professor McDowell by Clevenger, a life-size medallion in marble, now treasured in the college museum.

While in St. Louis she made her home with the family of Wayman Crow, Esq., whose daughter had been her companion at Lenox. This gentleman proved himself a constant and encouraging friend, ordering her first statue from Rome, and helping in a thousand ways a girl who had chosen for herself an unusual work in life.

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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous
Sarah Knowles Bolton

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