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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous Sarah Knowles Bolton

Rosa Bonheur

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For several years Rosa Bonheur has lived near Fontainebleau, in the Chateau By. Henry Bacon says: "The chateau dates from the time of Louis XV., and the garden is still laid out in the style of Le Notre. Since it has been in the present proprietor's possession, a quaint, picturesque brick building, containing the carriage house and coachman's lodge on the first floor, and the studio on the second, has been added; the roof of the main building has been raised, and the chapel changed into an orangery: beside the main carriage-entrance, which is closed by iron gates and wooden blinds, is a postern gate, with a small grated opening, like those found in convents. The blinds to the gate and the slide to the grating are generally closed, and the only communication with the outside world is by the bell-wire, terminating in a ring beside the gate. Ring, and the jingle of the bell is at once echoed by the barking of numerous dogs,--the hounds and bassets in chorus, the grand Saint Bernard in slow measure, like the bass-drum in an orchestra. After the first excitement among the dogs has begun to abate, a remarkably small house-pet that has been somewhere in the interior arrives upon the scene, and with his sharp, shrill voice again starts and leads the canine chorus. By this time the eagle in his cage has awakened, and the parrot, whose cage is built into the corner of the studio looking upon the street, adds to the racket.

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"Behind the house is a large park divided from the forest by a high wall; a lawn and flower-beds are laid out near the buildings; and on the lawn, in pleasant weather, graze a magnificent bull and cow, which are kept as models. In a wire enclosure are two chamois from the Pyrenees, and further removed from the house, in the wooded part of the park, are enclosures for sheep and deer, each of which knows its mistress. Even the stag, bearing its six-branched antlers, receives her caresses like a pet dog. At the end of one of the linden avenues is a splendid bronze, by Isadore Bonheur, of a Gaul attacking a lion.

"The studio is very large, with a huge chimney at one end, the supports of which are life-size dogs, modeled by Isadore Bonheur. Portraits of the father and mother in oval frames hang at each side, and a pair of gigantic horns ornaments the centre. The room is decorated with stuffed heads of animals of various kinds,--boars, bears, wolves, and oxen; and birds perch in every convenient place."

When Prussia conquered France, and swept through this town, orders were given that Rosa Bonheur's home and paintings be carefully preserved. Even her servants went unmolested. The peasants idolized the great woman who lived in the chateau, and were eager to serve her. She always talked to them pleasantly. Rosa Bonheur died at her home at 11 P.M., Thursday, May 25, 1899.

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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous
Sarah Knowles Bolton

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