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Her ^Adventures "Began at Four; War 3\(urse, ^tusician, Writer; 3\(ovc ^Decorated by France as One of the World*s Important Woman Sculptors % Ruth Woodbury Sedgwick Α τ twenty. Suzanne Silvercruys f\ Farnam was given, by Albert I % of Belgium, her country's most important decoration. Knight of the Order of Leopold. At thirty-five she has just received one of the highest honors which France has to bestow on a sculptor. Officer of the French Aca demy. At four, at one of the great family dinners, a glittering celebration of the birthday of the King, Suzanne's color ful career began. Her father. Baron Silvercruys, of Limbourg. then Justice of the Supreme Court of Belgium, who believed in training his children early to ease in manners and matters of public address, had requested the older chil dren to prepare speeches. Robert, nine, stumbled unhappily through a few sentences. Madeleine, fourteen, mur mured a wan greeting. When they had finished, Baron Silvercruys saw that the baby, in her high chair, was crying. "But why, my child, do you weep on this happy occasion?" he asked. "I too, papa, have a speech," sobbed young Suzanne, "and you do not ask me to give it." A year later the older children were presenting a play for another important family reunion. Suzanne had lingered at rehearsals, hoping, in vain, for at least a walk-on bit. On the night of the event. Madeleine, a victim of stage fright, forgot her lines for a moment. Suzanne, sitting in front, disdaining anything so unspectacular as a prompt, hurled herself onto the stage, assumed her sister's role, and. in the gusto of dramatic creation, her brother's as well. Finishing the play single handed, she brought down the house, and tasted for the first time the heady vintage of first nifht success. Eager to do everything the others did, Suzanne played the piano when she was so little that her father had wooden blocks lashed to the pedals so that she could reach them. At six she was a good violinist. She sat like a mouse in a corner for hours listening while diplo mats. ministers, cabinet members, city officials, discussed matters of state with her father. In July 1914, when Suzanne was fifteen, she and her mother and father were at their estate near Maeseyck. Across the fields raced the dark news from Serajevo. On August 4th came Germany's ultimatum. Albert's answer. Suzanne was walking with her father toward the town in the afternoon, when they heard a rumble, steady, low. menacing. "Thunder!" wondered Su zanne the sky was clear. Her father took her hand. "Mv child," he said quietly, "it is War." The Silvercruys got back to Brussels on the last train. The wounded were already being brought in. A dying boy, his head bandaged in bloody rags, was lifted from the train at ihe moment that a band at the other end of the station began to play La Brabançonne. the national hymn. He stiffened, tried to salute. In that moment Suzanne grew up. In that gesture was commemorated for her the soul of Belgium at war After that the hurricane broke. Suzanne washed dishes, |)eeled potatoes, scrubbed in the kitchens of the hospital; organized the store rooms; graduated into the wards; re ceived her brassard, the youngest person in the army to have it. Brussels pulled down its blinds and crept through the days. Work continued at the hospital. La Libre Belgique was printed in secret cellars. "The London Times" was smuggled in. wrapped around the bellies of ambulance dogs, and read in hushed conclave behind the city's barred doors. I lalf starved, in constant peril. Suzanne was nart of these heroic activities. Finally, her life ι danger, she was slipped one night over the •order into Holland She made her way to i ngland. to her sister, who was already there. From the sturdy shelter of England. Su .anne went on to America. New York en hanted her. It was not easy to settle down to em Portrait by Leo ne bel Jacob Suzanne St/vercruyt Farnam the skimmed-milk routine of a girls' school, to tennis matches, and rules of syntax. Sud denly. unexpectedly, she found again her way to serve Belgium. Secretary of War Baker was to speak at the press banquet of Phila delphia's Poor Richard Club in January of 1917, and Suzanne was on the balcony of the ballroom of the Belvue-Stratford to hear him At the last minute came a message saying that he could not get there. In a tight spot. Theodore Ashe, master of ceremonies, dragged Suzanne, so frightened that her curls shook, down the long marble staircase. "Talk for ten minutes." he barked. "This is for Belgium." That word worked a miracle. For an hour and a half she churned the cast-iron emotions of fifteen hundred hard-boiled men with the story of her haunted days. The affair was a sensation, and immediately the Belgian government sent her into the field. Until the end of the War she went back and forth across the country, speaking three, sometimes four times a day for the Red Cross, for food conservation, for patriotism. She collected nearly a million dollars for her people. After the Armistice she sailed for Europe on the old Loraine. On January 1st. 1919, she was home At first the pressure of after-War activity held her: rehabilitation work, speeches about America, the delight of reunion with her family. She was decorated, the youngest per son alive to receive the Knighthood of the Order of Leopold. She had the Queen Elizabeth Medal. A healthy girl, handsome, charming, she enjoyed all this. She enjoyed being presented at court Knowing his daughter. Baron Silvercruys gave instructions. "Under no condition," he said, "may you contradict the King." Su zanne advanced, made her bow in sixteen counts. "Distinguished family of Luxemburg." murmured Albert. (There were two hundred and fifty on line at that Court, the first since the War. ι "1 must put him straight," thought Suzanne of Limbourg. burning with family pride. "Luxemburg or Limbourg." she answered crisply, "we are devoted subjects of Your Majesty." The King's eyes twinkled. When the court was over he turned to her father, "Silvercruys," he chuckled, "your daughter has quite a repartee." In 1922 Suzanne came back to America to visit her brother, then attaché at the Belgian embassy in Washington. She met and married Henry W. Farnam. Jr., son of Professor Farnam of Yale. She was happy in a com fortable, safe world. That, however, was not enough. The splendid energy which had bulwarked a planet's crisis could not patter through the gentle activities of the Junior League. Young Mrs. Famam became listless, wan; then very ill. An aunt of her husband's brought her a box of plasticene one day. "It will amuse you to make carrots and rose buds while you lie there." she said. "I won't touch it," stormed Suzanne. "Form is too sacred for baby games." But the box was left on the bed, and presently, without thinking about it, she was fingering the soft clay while she watched her dog's head. She became excited, interested. Her life flared up again in one of her quick rockets of creative energy. In a week she was well. She entered the Yale School of Fine Arts, took the five year course in three, captured all the prizes open to women At the end of her second year there, she did her celebrated bust of Hoover, the original of which is in the library at Lou vain. She studied with Antoine Bourdelle in Paris. Since then her life has been a vigor ous routine of well organized service and accomplishment. "Fly on your own wings." said Bourdelle when she left Paris. A glowing woman with a candid brow and the proud carriage of the Victory of Samothrace, she has a studio in New York. There, in a big-boned room, full of serenity and the austere beauty of good sculpture, she works three days a week. The rest of the time she is. efficiently and happily, Mrs. Famam of New Haven. In 1931 she had her first one-man show at the 56th Street Galleries. Quickly she has taken her place as one of the distinguished woman sculptors. Out of hundreds of commissions, her most interesting ones have been the l—J «f n-:— t u:— • •VMVI w> livtlk « (illWWI JW>V|/1IUIV V1UU* lotte of Belgium; the seven statuettes of famous athletes made for the Olym pic Games in 1932; the Zonta Club Aviation Trophy, for notable achieve ment by a woman pilot, which went, last fall, to Amelia Ear hart ; the statue of St. Thérèse de l'Enfant Jesus, done for the church in Lisieux, France. To fill in the time after it was too dark to model and too early to go to bed, she began to write. This led to an autobiography, "Suzanne of Belgium." Since that impromptu star perfor mance when she was five, Mrs. Famam has always wanted to act. The art of sculpture is a lonely one. She likes to s feel the emotion of people — their laughter, their tears, rising through her work. Instead of setting her apart, the War ended forever, for her, any feeling of detachment, of isolation. So to get a part for herself which included a slight accent, she wrote one. Her play, which holds in its title, "There Is No Dea-A.' another conviction which the War left artic ulate on her lips, was tried out in New Haven's Little Theatre, and again, last summer, at Peterborough. Lately, she has been working on her next exhibit. About twenty-five, heads, each typical of some phase of today's living, the group is called "The American Look." These are spirited miniatures; Katharine Hepburn in terra cotta, her red curls electric, her cheek bones superbly insolent; Sam Harris, a Penrod grin in bronze; Bishop Manning, ecclesiastical, prim, in white plaster; the spectacles, the wry grin, of Louis Sobol. "Are you showing your best profile?" she asked Mr. Sobol while she was working on her head of him. "I have no best profile," he answered glumly. Last fall Mrs. Farnam had three pieces accepted for the Paris Salon. For one of these a superb lectern — three heads, inscribed Faith, Hope. Charity, a child, a maid, an old woman with a calm face and lovable, gnarled hands, done in full round on a triangular block of marble — she was recently decorated with the order of Officer of the French Academy. From such splendid pinnacles Suzanne of Belgium pushes on.