The Jervis McEntee Diaries - March 5, 1883

Diary Entry:

Monday, Mar 5, 1883 Painted on my picture and improved it, but I work without stimulus or enthusiasm. It is so every spring until I have come to dread the return of that season almost every one hails with delight. I remember the agonies and anxieties that must reach clear across the summer. I used to look to the winter to repair my poor fortunes. Last winter I sold comparatively nothing in N.Y. and this winter it has been the same. I have not sold a single picture in this great city this winter. I sold one small one from the Brooklyn exhibition, so that even my expectations are failing me. How tenderly I think of dear Gertrude in these dark days. The same anxieties ran all through our married life and I remember so well how in my despondency she would look at me with all the sadness her sweet sunny sympathetic face was capable of assuming. She is as real to me today as any thing in this material world that I can not see, only I cannot speak to her except through the spirit. On my bureau in a little terra cotta box are two bits of paper which she once twisted into her hair; absolute rubbish to all but me; to me something her hands touched to invest them with a value that nothing can express. In a little diary hanging beside the mirror are memoranda she made in the spring of articles she wished to purchase and I so well remember how she waited and tried to assure herself whether we were able to do this or that with our limited means. These trifles remain and she is gone. Dear loving faithful heart. The life I led with you and still lead with you nothing can rob me of, a blessing that shall always be with me no matter what sorrows I may still be called to meet. My picture came back from Springfield and so that chance from which I hoped something is gone. Calvert and I went out in the evening to call at Ann Van Warts but they were not at home. We went to the Morses and they were out. It was cold and wintry and we came to my room and smoked and I told Calvert how wretched I was and what a dilemma I am in. He is very kind and helpful and helps me in all possible ways, but nothing can help me that does not enable me to meet my obligations. When I think I am suffering for the lack of a few hundred dollars while we have thousands of dollars worth of valuable property and my studio is full of my best pictures there seems an air of absurdity in it all.

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