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Speeches by Vinnie Ream

The District of Columbia Public Schools held its annual exhibition of drawing and penmanship. Vinnie Ream Hoxie was invited to speak and the following account of her remarks appeared in the Evening Star.

"I have a warm sympathy for all of you who are studying art, whether it may be for the sake of its many useful applications, or for the purpose of making it your profession in life, as painters or sculptors. For the few who may contemplate this, every moment is precious. A drawing from nature, a sketch from life, will never be thrown away. Go into the woods and study the humblest of God's works. Do not come back from any stroll, or drive or picnic with your sketch book empty, but each day return with something. These will be the suggestions which will fill your mind with riches laid up for the rainy day--the less fortunate hour, when you cannot go into the woods to study them.

"If you lie down to rest on the green grass, watch the sunlight glisten and the leaves glow; coax the birds to come and sing to you. Watch them build their nests and take lessons from their cunning. Watch the ants toil and take from their patience. Watch the spider weave its web and take lessons from its skill. Listen to the thousands of voices and hear how busy nature is. She does not lose a moment. She does not tire. Why should we?

"Watch the clouds as they canopy you in fleecy folds and arise from your dreaming with a desire to imitate these wonderful works of nature. She is the great teacher and every true artist bows down before her. Her brightest robes and sunniest smiles beckon the discouraged onward and in her transient frown, the lowering Heaven and the storm tossed billows, there lies an immortality for him who can impress his image on the canvass.

"As art more nearly approaches Nature, it is the more excellent. The truth we can never quite attain, but perfect Nature stands forever before us. Never sneering, but encouraging to greater effort--a just and generous critic. How naturally and intuitively we desire to paint the green meadows that we may view them in the bleak days of winter. To paint the storm-tossed sea and contemplate the picture in quiet hours. When we leave our homes we desire to take with us pictures that will recall dear and familiar scenes, and when we return, to bring back pictures of the wonders and the beauties of nature which we have visited. What a comfort they are! Here in our rooms hang the sketches of Venice and we are in the gondola again. It is moonlight, the air is full of music, and we are floating over the lagoons. Here are the pictures of Naples and we are again in the shadow of Vesuvius. Here are the pictures of Triest. We are again on the Mediterranean and can hear the melancholy waters as they dash themselves against the Palace of Maximilian.

"Michael Angelo [sic], said, 'The proper end of painting is to purify the affections, by imitating in color the actions and sentiments of men and the human figure itself which it effects, not by a mere literal imitation of nature or art or of whatever object may be presented to the eye, but by giving expression to the sentiments and feelings of the human mind.' Choose, therefore, worthy themes; such as will elevate the human race and ennoble human nature. One of the lessons that the past has taught us is that art has not always been used to dignify and ennoble but sometimes, unfortunately, to degrade.'

"Ruskin says that we should place 'truth first and beauty afterwards.' Let us, then, select the beautiful and try to represent it truthfully. To take the color from the earth, or clay from the bank--to take that which is nothing and create something from it, is an almost a Divine attempt, if our subject be worthy. We cannot all be Raphaels or Titians, but we can aspire to follow in their footsteps; and though the pathway is full of thorns, yet the flowers that blossom along the road are redolent with perfume, and if we are wise enough to gather them we may weave them into immortal garlands . . .

"To succeed in anything we may undertake means hard, constant and earnest work. Especially so it is in art and he who is not prepared for such a struggle and to encounter and overcome all obstacles, had better seek some other field of usefulness. This is not the hard work that always has something to show for itself in return, but the study of weary hours, the days of painstaking and toil, which may meet as return with only heartless criticism when the effort is over. It is so difficult to do anything well and so easy to criticize, that there will be always more fault-finders than workers. More liberties are taken with the work of artists than with that of any other profession and many will venture to criticize who cannot do so intelligently and from whom you will derive no benefit--only discouragement. The effort to do--the desire to undertake something excellent is creditable, even if the result is a failure.

"To aspire even to accomplish something great or beautiful is noble and it is possible for every human being to succeed in some direction if he tries hard enough. It is even said that industrious mediocrity has the advantage of negligent superiority. Yet I would not advise anyone to adopt the profession of art unless he feels in his heart a great love for it. It must have only mechanical results if undertaken as a task. To succeed requires the weary waiting and patient working that can only be endured by the heart that loves its work.

"If you are undecided as to the pursuit to which you will devote your life and surely it will be something, no one can afford to be an idler--then try your various powers, examine and convince yourself what will be best. Then apply yourself with your whole soul and soar high. Do not fritter away your youth, undecided, unemployed. If you cannot decide, pick up something and go to work--work is healthful. If you should change your mind afterwards, and find yourself better fitted for something else, well and good, but the study and application you have given will not hurt you. Do not be idle. Do what comes to your hand and do it earnestly. Never mind if people say you are 'crazy.' Robert Hall said that 'one must work with an enthusiasm bordering upon insanity to succeed.'

"If after trying your powers in various directions, rising like the young bird trying its delicate wings, you find they will not lift you into the realm of love for art and devotion to its shrine, abandon the idea and turn your thoughts to other channels. Literature, poetry, music all hold alluring fields, and all are Divine in their inspirations; but if none of these ensnare you, and you have a head for practical matters--if business entices you, still keep as your companion, your ministering angel in time of need, your assistant in practical matters, the sweet spirit of art, she aids and graces every calling and should go hand in hand with all useful industries. Never scorn her help. She embellishes what she touches and even if money making only be considered, she adds intrinsic value where her touch is laid.

"You have exceptional advantages here. Your schools are the best in the country and have already a world-wide reputation. Your teachers are competent, earnest and painstaking. You are learning the rudiments of art. When your school days are over you must still continue to study their wide-spread application, even after acquiring in technical schools that knowledge which will fit for entering upon your chosen pursuits. We must all belong to the working class. We must try to make a demand for the work that calls for brains and pays fair wages. Each of us has his special fitness for work--some have hearts and brains for the greatest of things. Such may follow in the footsteps of Michael Angelo [sic], who could tear down the mountains to erect edifices towering to the skies; but more of us are less gifted, and must attempt more modest ends . . .

"To every hand is given some cunning and each one may help another. The designer should be able to comprehend mechanical execution and help the workman, and the workman should be educated to understand and assist the designer. The schools of our country must send out all our artisans, and they ust be fitted for their work by a technical education. Drawing and art must be cultivated--artistic fingers must be taught to carry out the promptings of artistic minds. Machine work is never artistic. It is accurate, labor-saving and perfect in mechanical execution, but it only frees more human hands from the thralldome [sic] of hard labor, and gives them to the province of artistic work.

"If all trees were of set patterns--if all the leaves of a tree were cast in the same mould how monotonous it would be. It is the ever-varying curve of the boughs, no two alike--the different bending of the twigs--the uneven roughness of the bark, the ever-changing hues, that make the trees so beautiful and always a study. So it is in faces, in the clouds, the billows, the meadows, the waving fields of grain. Nature is always artistic. Nothing can stale her infinite variety. She is beautiful and generous. She does not repeat. She never tires and her works are a never-failing fountain of inspiration. It is art education that enables us to drink from this fountain that gives us skilled labor and delicate taste, apt fingers and a quickened brain. It is this that will enable our artisans to compete with the skilled workmen of other lands.

"We need not then import from abroad our dryers, lace-workers, weavers, potters and carvers. Germany teaches drawing in her Sunday and evening schools and one result of this is that Nuremberg furnishes all countries with toys and whole families, even the little children in the cottages on the cliffs, aid in the work and it is artistic work and early taught them. France furnishes us with artificial flowers and ribands and from their delicate hues, the delicate taste displayed in them, we need not be told that artistic workmen brought them to this perfection. Why should not we have these artistic workmen as well as France? Why should we import our inlaid furniture, our bronzes, carvings in wood and ivory, glassware, paintings on glass--in fact, the quantities of delicate wares produced by the educated taste and skill of foreign workmen.

"Do not think it degrading to lay your hand to the humblest work. Let the artist and workman be combined whenever it is possible. A man may be a great artist and yet apply his talents to ordinary useful purposes. If the Divine Raphael could design patterns for tapestries, we should not hesitate to spend our best energies in beautifying and ennobling all work. There are many more artists in this world than we dream of. In fact, we are, almost all of us, artists in some way. Not that we all have wonderful abilities, but God has implanted in our natures a love for the beautiful and an irresistible desire to imitate his works.

"For as Thackeray says, 'Art itself is the expression of our praise and sense of this beautiful world of God.' We can all do something and we can all do something better than we have done. The rough hand that takes the alligator's tooth and polishes and carves it into rude ornaments might with instruction and cultivation mould more beautiful ornaments; even the genius of a Benvenuto Chellini might be slumbering there. The hands that weave the pretty baskets and embroider them with stiff porcupine quills could be taught to make graceful and natural looking flowers as easily as they now make the crude figures and set flowers in gaudy colors. The boy who sits for hours patiently carving a bit of wood or a tortoise shell into beautiful and delicate but useless ornaments might never be able to suspend a dome like St. Peters in the air, but he might be taught to combine his skill with knowledge and utility--to enlarge his aspirations.

"All that we have in this world we must gain by work of brain and muscle; but as knowledge increases, nature gives more and more in return for our skillful labor and brain and muscle are freed from drudgery to be employed in higher occupations and the higher needs of humanity give employment to these idle hands. As the days go by we are less and less in need of unskilled labor. The labor-saving machines are driving it out of the field and men must be taught that skill which is necessary for the new employments opening out to willing hands. Schools for drawing and technical knowledge and a more liberal education in art will enable all to find useful and profitable occupation; will bring grace and refinement and cultivate a love for the beautiful. He who cannot soar must stay below.

"When the building is to be erected, he who can work from the architectural drawings commands better wages than the man who is only able to carry the hod. He who designs the spire or pinnacle which shall safely rear its head among the clouds, is greater than all those whose laboring hands combine to fashion his creation. Fame follows excellence! We know who designed the magnificent dome of St. Peter's in Rome, but we care little who carried the stone or mixed the mortar. Philosophers tell us that genius is application--knowledge is power. The same natural abilities may be found in the architect, the mechanic and the laborer. The difference in their station in life may be due to hard study and advantages of education in the one case and neglected opportunities in the other.

"The American people have less art education than the natives of European countries. In France the workmen not only understand much about art, but they love it and on holidays the art galleries in Paris are thronged with workmen and their families. It is even said that most of the mechanics of Birmingham and Manchester know more about ancient art than the graduates of American colleges and it is not to be wondered at, for it has long been taught by them, by lectures and pictorial illustrations, by the establishment of schools and museums. In some of our large cities we have all these facilities within our reach.

"Time was when we could not have become familiar with the monuments of ancient art without being blessed with a fortune, that we might travel and see the great museums, old monasteries, distant cities and ancient churches; but now we have the great works of antiquity reproduced in plaster casts, many pictures of the old masters fairly copied and the art of photography bringing all before us. We can sit with a piece of cardboard in our hands and see the Parthenon--that classic temple of ancient Greece rise before us. We can wander in the ruins of the Roman Forum and fancy that the eloquence of the ancient orators is ringing in our ears. We can stand upon the castle of St. Angelo and watch the yellow Tiber with its buried treasures flowing at our feet. We can wander among the ruins of the aqueducts or through the ancient baths and climb the moss grown Coliseum fraught with its fearful memories. We can roam through the Palace of the Caesars or sit by the peasants by the way side shrines.

"We can listen to the fountains and hear the murmurs of the past, dreaming for hours in a land of interest so far away, repeopling its olden gardens and forgetting the moss and ivy on the ruined and crumbling walls. Or, turning to the realities around us, we may study the masterpieces of other lands and other times, faithfully repeated by modern art and skill and stored in galleries devoted to public instruction. To be a student of art is to have many advantages. It helps to draw around you refined and cultured friends. Its history is fascinating and instructive. What a wonderful record it is--the pages illuminated with the blood of heroes. You follow the thread of the story and it is woven in the rise and fall of empires.

"How interesting to gather from the silent stone the mysteries of ages, which have lain embosomed in the earth! How many wholesome lessons to be gathered from those crumbling books--the statues--the pyramids--the temples and the monuments of ancient art. We know that we do not build as firmly and substantially as the ancients and that we have no monuments which will stand the test of time as their's have done. We cannot hug the unhealthy delusion to our hearts that we are beyond improvement, when we know that our architecture is inferior to that of the Greeks--that our sculptors cannot rival Phidias and Praxitiles--that we have lost some of their useful arts and that the pyramids will be standing when our strongest monuments have passed into oblivion.

"The great works of the past, those monuments of art and science, should incite us to exertion, for they are evidences of what has been done by others and what we may be able to accomplish. We have a country the chosen of the earth, rich in the best of gifts and prosperous beyond all expectation. Our lines are cast in pleasant places. Those of us who live in Washington are particularly blessed. The sun has never shone upon a more lovely city. Beautifully situated, with healthful and favoring airs stealing up from the sea, between the picturesque banks of the Potomac, and with beautiful buildings rising on every side.

"The grand old Capitol, with its majestic dome, towers above them all--a star by day and a pillar of fire by night. It is truly a picture for the artist always, whether in the sun, the storm, the rain, the mist or the moonlight. The Congressional Library is a never-failing fountain of knowledge. It is receiving now a new impetus and reaching out its arms in every direction. Its growth is so rapid that the Capitol cannot much longer contain it and it must soon build a temple unto itself. A storehouse of treasures is encompassed by the picturesque walls of the Smithsonian and the new museum will eventually become a second Kensington. The portals of art have been thrown wide open by the generous hand of Mr. Corcoran and the nation will preserve with gratitude and affection his noble gift: the Corcoran Art Gallery. We who live here cannot say that we lack advantages.

"Our country's history and the grand destiny awaiting it, inspire us to action. Our beautiful Capitol will some day lay its proud head low, the grass will grow on our bright avenues and our pictures and statues will crumble into dust, but the recollection of great and good deeds will not die. Where are now the houses and the streets which the illustrious men of the past have inhabited? They have melted away into thin air. They have vanished, but the memory of these great men remains and the heart of youth beats high with aspiration and enthusiasm when listening to the recital of their glowing deeds. Let us all try to do something and do the very best we can. Some can make of themselves great men--all can be good men. Who can say there may not be in this very assemblage some boy who, striving to be good and great, may be revered in story and in song, when the ashes of centuries shall envelope this now fair city."

Vinnie was invited to speak at the International Council of Women in Toronto during June of 1909 and gave the following remarks:

"I have been asked to give my views on the field of sculpture for women and I am constrained to speak from my own experience at the risk of seeming egotism. It is eminently a field for women. No one has ever questioned that the eyes are as true, the thoughts as noble, the touch as delicate as with men, and the field of sculpture is unlimited. That meadow of delight is full of flowers to be plucked; the harvest promises to be great, and the workers are few; but sculptors must be born, not made. I as once invited to speak before the public schools in St. Paul and in answer to many inquiries as to how students could know whether they had undeveloped talent for this work I said: 'If you have reason to think you have talent, shut yourself up in a room with some modeling clay and apply yourself for two hours to seeing what you can do. If at the end of that time you have not evolved from the clay something suggestive of talent then come out, close the door and leave hope behind."

"Clay is a pliable and wonderful material, and readily responds to the touch of genius. To those aspiring to be sculptors I would say that if after a test of the 'closed door,' they feel justified in pursuing a study of art, they cannot too soon place themselves under capable instructors, remembering that anatomy is the basis of their work, and modeling from life an absolute necessity. To have a correct conception of the human figure is the great essential in sculpture. Gustave Dor‚told me that he drew from the human figure for many years before he really began his work, and then he felt his ability to compose.

"I have made two statues for our National Government, receiving the awards after competition with others: One of Lincoln which stands in marble in the Rotunda of the Capitol in Washington, and one of Admiral Farragut which stands in bronze in Farragut Square. I am now making for the State of Iowa a statue of Kirkwood, who was Governor of the State during the Civil War, a Senator and a cabinet officer. It is to stand in bronze in Statuary Hall in the Capitol in Washington. For each statue I have given two years of study and work to the completion of the nude figure in every detail before putting on the drapery. In my first work, the Lincoln Statue, the model of which was completed in a committee room of the National Capitol in Washington which I kept open to the public, I sought and obtained the advice and criticism of the most competent experts in anatomy, and not until they pronounced the figure complete and correct in detail did I venture to clothe it.

"The nude figure may be chaste and classic--the draped figure may be refined or vulgar. The art of draping is the art of concealing and revealing, and requires refinement of taste and good judgment rather than artistic skill. It is easy with flowing folds of old-time costumes; it is difficult with modern costumes of men. Men have welcomed women to this enchanting field of usefulness quite as cordially as to other avocations in which women and men compete. Often, perhaps from a feeling of chivalry they have not desired that women should find occupations in which they could earn their own living, denying them independence that they might me obliged to lean on men. I have sometimes wished to be a man and have some loving, clinging soul leaning upon me--depending on me. Rarely perhaps envy, jealousy, and malice have crept in here as elsewhere. Harriet Hosmer arraigned her detractors before the courts and silenced them. Gifted, womanly and courageous, she was the champion of her sex in art.

"General Sherman once said to me: 'Remember, Vinnie, that the lightning strikes at the tallest steeples;' and Mrs. Farragut wrote me: 'Don't be the least discouraged by adverse criticism, for it is impossible for anyone to achieve greatness in any way without being a target to be shot at from the quiver of envy.' Afterward she wrote me of the statue of Admiral Farragut: 'I do not think it possible your art could accomplish a more perfect work than you have done in delineating the features and expression of my dear husband, and it will ever be to me a source of gratification to know when this generation has passed away, the next, perhaps more fully appreciating his character and history, will have your faithful and enduring image of him to recall it. May you always meet with equal success in all your work . . .' and this was my best reward--my work had touched her heart.

"Just as the skill which is due to long and patient plodding looks askance at the triumph of youth and strength, so must man view the entry of women upon fresh fields of labor. The crime of the elder Pitt--youth and inexperience--is hard to forgive, but women will live it down. And men are chivalrous, they will lend a helping hand and welcome the fellow worker. In this field as in others, women must have talent, patience and courage. Patience to wait a lifetime as artists have sometimes waited for recognition. 'Art is a jealous mistress,' and the artist is not always free from the fault of his mistress. Art juries will disagree.

"It has happened that a work of art which received honorable mention in the Paris Salon has been refused admission to an art exhibition in America. Art critics are never infallible, and are seldom art workers, because the ethics of all honorable professions prohibit the disparagement of one member by another; but if we reach the hearts of the people, the voice of the people will be heard in the end and this is the greatest triumph of art. It has been urged against sculpture for women that it may alienate them from their homes and their home duties. Not at all--every beautiful thought that is developed and every noble inspiration makes home and dear ones dearer, the home more artistic, the hearth brighter.

"Women have at last burst their bonds. They soar into the eternal; they now compete with men in every field however complicated--and they win. The names of successful women are familiar to us all. We look at them with a sort of reverence. Were they less noble wives or less tender mothers? No; their husbands are proud of them and their children do not suffer from neglect. Why should they? Some mothers play bridge, some are addicted to social clubs, some are devoted to dress, others are busy with church work or with helping to gain an income for the family in trade, in science, in literature and art. No woman is now expected to wash the dishes or scrub the floor if a machine can be found to do it--and why then, should not a woman be a sculptor?

"Her brain is as great, her thoughts as tender, her fingers as skillful as those of man. She does not hesitate to climb the scaffolding, to mount the ladder and often from it she ascends to fame. And how happy she can be with the moist clay in her hands in a room mellow with northern light, trying to carry out a conception that may give her fame. She may not have a large acquaintance, but her friends are of the choicest, for art does not attract the frivolous. Only the refined seek the studio to inspire the artist as beautiful thoughts are developed into marble and bronze. I am a sculptor, and my life has been a happy one--so happy that I have feared always that I was 'eating my white bread' and that some terrible storm was surely to break over me, for it seemed as if Heaven could not give me so much.

"My work has never been labor, but an ecstatic delight to my soul. I have worked in my studio not envying kings in their splendor; my mind to me was my kingdom, and my work more than diamonds and rubies. If my encouraging words can help any struggling artist to have new hope I shall be glad. We know that we can only portray what is in us. The output can only be the expression of own souls. What we give is what we have; our work speaks for us and is the exponent of our hearts. In this field of sculpture disappointments will come: Dark days of discouragement, nights of brooding and wakefulness--and we are never, never satisfied with the result of our efforts; but there is a glamour about it indescribable. It is a siren that leads us on; with a gentle voice she bids us on and on into the mystery of creation. God has been good to those who have heard the siren's voice and who have responded. "

By Mrs. Vinnie Ream Hoxie

When you so kindly invited me to speak upon myself, my work, and my illustrious subjects, Lincoln and Farragut, you opened to me so wide a field that, even if I did not stray from it, I might wander very far. As for myself, my work was ever, and is now, most fascinating to me. It has never lost any of its charm, and I can not see a block of marble or the modeling clay without a quicker throb of the heart. When the war commenced I was away down south on the Louisiana line, and after its lurid fires lit up the whole country my dear mother, with great difficulty, made her way through the lines and brought her children to Washington. My father, although much of an invalid from rheumatism, was one of the improvised guard around the Capitol, and from its commanding dome, where I had so often climbed to see the rosy sunrise, the "smoke of the battle afar off'' was to be seen rising from the Virginia valleys, and the cannonading from "Bull Run'' resounded through the air. Time rolled along, the horrors of war developing each day, when a few months before its close, as I was walking along Pennsylvania avenue, I met Major James S. Rollins, of Columbia, Boone County, Mo., who represented that district in Congress, in which I had formerly attended school, saying that he had been looking for me and had promised the president of Christian College to send him a picture of his little pupil, Vinnie Ream. He walked with me to our home, and there arranged that my mother and myself should go with him to Clark Mills' studio at the Capitol, where a bust should be made of me to send to Christian College. As soon as I saw the sculptor handle the clay, I felt a once that I, too, could model and, taking the clay, in a few hours I produced a medallion of an Indian chief's head, which so pleased the major that he carried it away and placed it on his desk in the House of Representatives.

It attracted the attention of Reverdy Johnson, Thaddeus Stevens, General Morehead and many other of his colleagues, who, learning from him that it was modeled in a few hours by a young girl who had never been in a studio before, generously encouraged me to try again--Senator Nesmith, of Oregon, being my first subject. In rapid succession I modeled likenesses in clay of Senator Yates, Senator Sherman, Senator Voorhees, General Morehead, Parson Brownlow, General Custer, Thaddeus Stevens and the venerable Frank P. Blair. These kind men became my friends, and warmly interested in my progress. As a plant thrives beneath the sunlight, so I throve under generous influence, and worked early and late that they should not be disappointed in their little protegee. They decided to give me an order for a bust in marble, and I chose President Lincoln for my subject. Senator Nesmith, General Morehead and Reverdy Johnson called upon the President, asking him to sit to me. At first he positively declined, saying he was tired sitting for his likeness, and he couldn't imagine why any one wanted to make a likeness of such a homely man. Finding him firm in his refusal they arose to leave, Senator Nesmith remarking, "This will be a disappointment to the young artist who selected you as her subject. She is a little western girl, born in Wisconsin. She is poor, and has talent, and we intend to encourage her in this work, in which we feel she will excel, by giving her an order, for a bust in marble.

Almost before Senator Nesmith had finished, President Lincoln turned abruptly, and in a high key exclaimed: "She is poor, is she? Well, that's nothing against her. Why don't you bring that girl up here? I'll sit to her for my bust.'' And so it was, the great heart which vanity could not unlock opened with the sympathy that recalled to him his own youth; his battle with poverty; his ambition; his early struggles. So it was that I, a little unknown sculptor, born in Wisconsin, and a stranger to fame, was allowed the privilege of modeling from life the features of this great man. When these gentlemen took me to the White House and presented me to Mr. Lincoln, his kind face lighting up, he exclaimed: "Why, this is the very same little girl who came to me last week and received permission from me to visit her rebel relative at the Old Capitol Prison! Why, we are old friends. Now, let's measure and see which is the tallest;'' and it was thus I was welcomedby their generous influence, and worked early and late that they should not be disappointed in their little protegee.

Sometimes at these sittings his face wore that look of anxiety and pain which will come to one accustomed to grief. At other times he would have that far-away, dreamy look, which seemed to presage the tragic fate awaiting him; and again, those quiet eyes lighting up, a radiance almost Divine would suffuse the sunken cheeks, and the whole face would be illuminated with the impulse of some Divine purpose. Often he would go to the south window and, seated there, remain a long time with his face turned away; then, hastily brushing away the tears from his eyes, he would say, "I was thinking of Willie.'' He was still suffering from the blow of that child's death, while great affairs convulsed the nation, and he hardly dared to take the time for personal grief.

So lately had I seen and known President Lincoln; that I was still under the spell of his kind eyes and genial presence when the terrible blow of his assassination came and shook the civilized world. The terror, the horror, that fell upon the whole community has never been equaled. Terrible as this was, who can say that it was not the best for Lincoln's fame that he died just then, for its measure was full? Yet in the trying years that followed he was sorely needed. Maturing late in life, he was at his best when struck down, and had in his heart and mind great reservoirs of usefulness. His hand of steel and heart of kindness had guided us safely so far through the dark waters, and our ablest mediator, he might, from his gentle, forgiving and humane nature, have evolved plans of peace and reconciliation which would have more quickly, more firmly and more closely bound the estranged ones together. But God planned this Universe, and He doeth all things well,'' though the Nation's leader and the South's best friend had been slain. He lay there, dead, in the rotunda of the Capitol, with white face and speechless lips, but mightier in death even than in life! The Nation bowed its head and wept!

The voice of those who had maligned him was silent. A spell was laid upon the lips of men to do him reverence. He had been the best friend of the North and the best friend of the South. His zeal had been unflagging, his patriotism exalted above all thought of self. His power had been almost unbounded, and how had he used it? "With charity for all, with malice toward none.'' He had sworn to protect the honor of the Government, and history will tell how well he kept that oath; and yet while he guarded the sanctuary of its honor with fire and with sword, he wept that any should suffer. When, soon after, Congress appropriated money to erect a marble statue of the martyred President in the Capitol, it never occurred to me, with my youth and my inexperience, to compete for that great honor; but I was induced to place my likeness of him before the committee having the matter under consideration, and, together with many other artists--competitors for this work--I was called before this committee. I shall never forget the fear that fell upon me, as the chairman (the Hon. John H. Rice, of Maine, who had a kind heart, but a very stern manner) looked up through his glasses, from his seat at the head of the table, and questioned and cross-questioned me until I was so frightened that I could hardly reply to his questions: "How long had I been studying art?'' and had I ever made a marble statue?'' My knees trembled and I shook like an aspen, and I had not enough presence of mind even to tell him that I had made the bust from sittings from life. Seeing my dire confusion, and not being able to hear my incoherent replies, he dismissed me with a wave of his hand, and a request to Judge Marshall, of Illinois, to kindly see the young artist home! Once there, in the privacy of my own room, I wept bitter tears that I had been such an idiot as to try to compete with men, and remembering the appearance before that stern committee as a terrible ordeal before unmerciful judges, I promised myself it should be my last experience of that kind. Judge then of my surprise and delight when I learned that, guided by the opinion of Judge David Davis, Senator Trumbull, Marshal Lamon, Sec. 0. H. Browning, Judge Dickey, and many others of President Lincoln's old friends, that I had produced the most faithful likeness of him, they had awarded the commission to me-the little western sculptor. The Committee on Mines and Mining tendered me their room in the Capitol, in which to model my statue, because it was next to the room of Judge David Davis, and he could come in daily and aid me with his friendly criticisms. His comfortable chair was kept in readiness. He came daily, and suggesting "a little more here--a little on there--more inclining of the bended head--more angularity of the long limbs,'' he aided me in my sacred work by his encouraging words and generous sympathy.

I had approached it with reverence, and with trembling hands had taken the proportions of the fig- ure from the blood-stained garments President Lincoln had worn on that last and fearful night; and Judge Davis, a man whose heart was as great as his stature, was deeply interested in the statue of Lincoln, whose memory he loved. Friends flocked around Judge Davis. He was the lode-star that drew them to my studio. During those years which I spent in the Capitol, modeling the statue, I was thus thrown constantly with men prominent in public life. With Judge Davis as the central figure, many were the brilliant and gifted men who clustered around. Senators McDougall, Trumbull, Yates, Conness, Nesmith, Morton (of Indiana), Proctor Knott, Ebon C. Ingersoll, Samuel J. Randall, Mr. Windom, and indeed almost all of the senators and members were deeply interested in the statue of Lincoln, and were constant visitors at the studio.

Friend and foe gathered there with a common interest--the success of the work. Old feuds were forgotten, and they met on neutral ground-some on friendly terms who had not spoken to each other for years. What good friends they were to me! How true! Only for their sympathetic kindness, I would never have had the heart to take up and carry on the work, which was herculean for my fragile shoulders. Time has not dimmed the memory of their kindness, and I lay this tribute of gratitude at their feet. In the bright and rambling discussions of men and things which took place in my studio there were told many tales of the war-its privations, its hardships and sufferings--by the gallant soldiers who came to see how the statue was developing. Some came on crutches, and told of how father and son, brother and brother, had met upon the battle-field, only to die in each other's arms. I heard stories of prison life, of men who were shot to the heart at Shiloh or perished in the Wilderness; of men who went down at Antietam, fell at Winchester, or marched with Sherman "from Atlanta to the sea.'' Gettysburg was often mentioned, and then, like a sacred poem intoned upon the organ, came the memory of Lincoln's inspired words upon that blood--stained field. The studio, with its circular walls and high arched ceilings, was lighted up by a huge fireplace, the last one left at the Capitol of the olden time. Alas! now unfortunately destroyed. It occupied one entire side of the room, and was kept blazing with great logs, six feet or more in length. It was supported on each side by marble statues, and so fascinating that no wonder the old soldiers lingered there. It was their campfire and as the glow from the blazing hearth lighted up the clay image, they remembered with emotion the shout that went up from the mountains and ran in the valleys as they responded to his call, "We are coming, Father Abraham.'' He had been a father to them all, and they mourned him not only as a great man and wise ruler, but as a friend and father. Cabinet ministers and diplomats, journalists and authors all gathered there; such men as Chase and Holt, Blaine and Stockton, Field and Miller, Crosby S. Noyes and Gen. Lew Wallace, Deems and Sunderland, Sheridan and Sherman, Grant and Farragut. I was generally a silent listener as these men conversed, but what they said made deep impression, for ever on their lips was the name of Lincoln. Many stories touched me deeply, but none like the story of his life. Oh, the pain, the pathos of it all! You are all familiar with this story--I have told you how it came to me.

The model finished, I went to Italy with my parents to transfer it to marble. We remained some time in London, and much enjoyed the sessions of the House of Parliament, where we heard John Bright speak. At Paris we remained three months, and there I had the great privilege of daily instruction in drawing from Leon Bonnat, the eminent French painter. Gustave Dore became my warm friend, and presented me with a painting by his own hand, writing the dedication upon the margin: "Offert a Miss Vinnie Ream de Ia part de son affectionne Collegue G. Dore.'' Mr. Washburn was our Minister there and showed us every attention. Pere Hyacinthe became our friend, and we had the pleasure of again meeting General and Mrs. Fremont. Journeying on through Switzerland, we enjoyed together its snowy mountain peaks and charming valleys.

At Munich we became acquainted with Germany's great painter, Kaulbauch, who was even then passing away from the people he had so endeared to him by his genius. We sailed together up the Rhine and around the Lake of Lucerne, the Lake of Como, we visited the Castle of Challon, and paid our tribute to England's son of genius. At Venice we floated over the lagoons together and wandered through the galleries, and by the great Square of St. Mark, to see the pigeons fed. At Florence we lingered long among its priceless gems of art, and then, journeying on to Rome, rented a plano, a floor in an old palace, and went to keeping house. It was in the Vicola Marsomti, and a studio for myself was selected on the Via San Basilio, adjoining the studio of my good friend--the gifted painter--George P. Healy. Oh, those hours in Rome! Those days in Rome--those sunny days on the Campaigna! Those golden hours when we made pilgrimages to the picturesque and historical towns which make all Italy a gallery. I can hear those laughing waters that come down the steeps, and see the gloomy catacombs, the sunny slopes, the ancient aqueducts and frowning ruins-the peasant homes and princely palaces. They were with me--my parents--oh, happy thought, and what pleasant memories dwell amid the scenes of our wanderings! They are fresh in my memory--the Falls of Tivoli, the blue waters of the Bay of Naples, the ruins of Pompeii, and the crater of Vesuvius. I can never forget those charmed days with their precious associations.

Through Bishop Domenec, the Bishop of Pittsburgh, we presented our letters to Cardinal Antonelli. We were granted an audience with the Pope, and his blessing; and when Cardinal Antonelli found that I was making the statue of Abraham Lincoln for my government, he became my warm and devoted friend, corresponding with me constantly after I returned to this country until his death. He sat to me in my studio for his likeness, and when I left Rome he presented me with three large and handsome stone cameos-one the head of Christ, and the others heads of the Virgin Mary--all three exquisitely cut, rare and valuable works of art set in Etruscan gold; all made in the workshop of the Vatican. Healy painted a picture of myself in peasant costume, which he presented to my mother, and many were the lovely and valuable souvenirs with which our friends in Rome enriched us, As soon as I arrived in Rome and selected my studio, I had my model of Lincoln placed at the proper height, and, draping the wall behind with two large national flags, invited the artists in Rome to see it. Among the visitors who came were Sig. Luigi Majoli, the most gifted of the Italian sculptors, and Sig. Pietro Regnoli, his friend, a brilliant man of letters. They became my warm friends and were really brothers to me in that far off land. The gentle Emelie Regnoli became my sister and my parents loved them all. All the artists, American and foreign received me kindly, among them Randolph Rogers and Mr. Story, Harriet Hosmer who was the pioneer among women sculptors was most generous. The painter Healy was my neighbor and my friend, and as the golden days passed by, and the shadows lengthened, when it became too dark in my studio to work I would leave my modeling and go to his studio, and after helping him wash his brushes and put away his things, we would wend our way homeward together through the Italian twilight.

Rosetti and Tadoline, the Italian sculptors, were my good friends, and Buchanan Reed the poet- painter kindly dedicated some verses to me. Through some letters of introduction given me by Mrs. Cleveland (the sister of Greeley) I met many young priests, among them one who was a favorite of Liszt. When I told him I envied him his opportunity of knowing so intimately such a man of genius, he exclaimed: "You, too, shall know him. Come with your parents and yourself. He plays this afternoon at the old convent place where he now lives. Come!'' We were soon ready, and when we reached the convent grounds found he street in front crowded with carriages. As we entered the vast saloon, every available place seemed filled with people who had gathered there to hear him play. At the far end of the room Liszt was seating himself at the piano-a picture he was indeed, with his fine features and slender figure, long black robe and snowy locks. Tiptoeing softly, we followed Don Zeferino, our young guide, and disappearing for a moment, he returned, bringing from some hidden recess seats for my parents, and motioning me to follow him he placed a chair almost immediately in back of the piano at Liszt's right hand. The wonderful magician swept his slender hands over the keys fascinating all who heard and with tremulous vibrations touched some tender chords with such a spell that I was deeply affected. The tears which I could not repress rose to my eyes, and being so near, and fearful of making the slightest interruption, I dared not raise my hand to brush them away. The great artist had felt the spell he was exercising over me. He noticed my emotion, and playing softly with the left hand, he reached his right hand over and laid it for an instant tenderly on mine. We needed no introduction. We understood each other, and when he had finished playing and all rushed up to congratulate him and thank him, I waited silently by to try and speak; but he offered me his arm, and as we promenaded with the rest down the old convent's halls, he said, "You need not speak. I understand you and you understand me,'' and during all my stay in Rome this great master was a constant visitor at my studio, and my warm and devoted friend.

All the while my work went on, and several ideal pieces, among them "The West'' and "America,'' were under way. The day from early morning was given to work, hard work, and at 4 o'clock sometimes my Italian friends-the sculptor Majoli, and the scholar Regnoli, with the ladies of Signor Regnoli's family, would come, and gathering up my parents and myself, take us with them to the open-air theater or to some one or other of the numberless places of interest in and about the great city whose every inch is filled with monuments and memoirs of the illustrious dead These memorable days flew by on golden wings, and the time came for us to tear these new ties apart and sail for home. When the Lincoln statue in marble arrived in Washington, the Secretary of the Interior, accompanied by Judge David Davis, Senator Trumbull, and other old friends of President Lincoln, inspected and accepted the statue on behalf of the United States Government. The day was then set for its formal unveiling in the rotunda of the Capitol. The ceremony took place at night and the whole Capitol was brilliantly illuminated, the rotunda gaily decorated from floor to dome with the flag Lincoln had loved so well. All the officers of the government, its generals and ministers, appeared in full dress to do honor to the occasion. The marble statue was elevated to a proper height and surrounded with a platform draped with flags, for the President, the speakers and the families of the most nearly interested.

The statue was completely enveloped in a great silk flag, when Judge Davis, Lincoln's friend, drew the golden cord which confined it, unveiling the statue to public view amid the waving of banners and the sound of trumpets, a great shout went up from the multitude. Then glowing tributes to President Lincoln fell from the eloquent lips of Senator Matt Carpenter, Senator Cullom of Illinois and the other distinguished orators who had been selected to speak. The great dome rang with his praises, and thrilled by the eloquence and passion of some of the utterances, sobs sometimes broke upon the air and wails of sorrow. When the ceremony was over, the audience thought of the artist, and called for her. Senator Matt Carpenter made his way to my seat upon the platform, and taking my hand, led me out before them, but I could only bow my thanks, my voice was too full of tears to speak in recognition of the cheers and flowers that greeted me. And so the people and the old- time friends of Abraham Lincoln expressed their satisfaction with my work.

It had been indeed a labor of love, not without its trials, but well rewarded by its final triumph. How this verdict was afterward confirmed in giving into my hands the commission for a statue of the immortal Farragut, I would like to tell you, but there is not the time now. This night when the Lincoln statue was unveiled in the rotunda of the Capitol was the supreme moment of my life. I had known and loved the man! My country had loved him and cherished his memory. In tears the people had parted with him. With shouts of joy and acclamations of affection they had received his image in the marble. Upon the very spot where a few years before they had gathered in sorrow to gaze upon his lifeless body lying there in state while a nation mourned, they had gathered again to unveil his statue. "The marble is the resurrection,'' say the old sculptors, and now the dead had arisen to live forever in the hearts of the people whom he loved so well.

Mrs. Vinnie Ream Hoxie

Mrs. Vinnie Ream Hoxie was born in Madison. Wis. Her father was Robert L. Ream, her mother Lavinia McDonald Ream. At an early age she showed such marked ability as a sculptor as to attract public attention. and her parents were induced to give her special training. She made striking pictures of many of the public men of the day, among them President Lincoln. who gave her sittings only a few months before his assassination. This model was transferred to marble and now stands in the Capitol at Washington. She studied in Paris, Rome and Munich, where she received marked attention from many noted men. Spurgeon, Cardinal Antonelli and Liszt each gave her sittings for likenesses. Her three marbles, "America,'' "The West'' and "Miriam,'' were exhibited in the Woman's Building at the Columbian Exposition as an Arkansas exhibit, she having spent many years of her life in that state, where she has many friends and admirers. Post office address Pittsburgh, Pa., care of Captain Hoxie, United States Engineer Office.