Page:Our Philadelphia (Pennell, 1914).djvu/388

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CHAPTER XIV: PHILADELPHIA AND ART

I

IGNORANCE of art and all relating to it could not have been greater than mine when I paid that first eventful visit to J.'s studio on Chestnut Street.

I lay the blame only partly on my natural capacity for ignorance. It was a good deal the fault of the sort of education I received and the influences among which I lived—the fault of the place and the period in which I grew up. Nominally, art was not neglected at the Convent. A drawing-class was conducted by an old bear of a German, who also gave music lessons, and who prospered so on his monopoly of the arts with us that he was able to live in a delightful cottage down near the river. Drawing was an "extra" of which I was never thought worthy, but I used to see the class at the tables set out for the purpose in the long low hall leading to the Chapel, the master grumbling and growling and scolding, the pupils laboriously copying with crayon or chalk little cubes and geometrical figures or, at a more advanced stage, the old-fashioned copy-book landscape and building, rubbing in and rubbing out, wrestling with the composition as if it were a problem in algebra. The Convent could take neither credit, nor discredit, for the system; it was the one then in vogue in every school, fashionable