The Jervis McEntee Diaries - April 15, 1887

Diary Entry:

Friday, Apr 15, 1887 I went up Broadway this forenoon to see three pictures of Van Benscheten, who called here yesterday with a card from Henry Abbey. He lives next to John Burroughs at West Park and wanted me to go to see his pictures and tell him what I thought of them as he is going to offer them to the exhibition of the American Artists and to the Prize fund exhibition. I tried to get out of it by telling him they would show what they thought of them but he rather insisted and so I promised. They were as I supposed pretty poor. Ignorant -- ignorant -- and what is more expressive. I told him he seemed to have some innate feeling for color and tone but he was weak on facts and he needed constant study from Nature. On my way up there I met poor Oscar in the street. He was going to pass by me but I stopped as soon as I recognized him. He looked old, seedy and broken down. I told him the trouble with him was that he drank whiskey and that unless he stopped it would make an end of him. He didnt deny it, but he has got to where he cannot stop. I asked him to come and see me. Said Fred is in Europe trying to get up a steamship Company--always on some great scheme to get rich in a hurry. I thought how unhappy it would have made dear Gertrude to see Oscar in such a condition. I [told?] him frankly he was a much younger man than I am [?] he looked old enough to be my grandfather. He says he is [?] old but his clothes were old and poor and he looked the picture of a broken down man. While we were talking a man stopped and spoke to him. He too seemed an unsuccessful man and told Oscar he was. When he passed on Oscar said he was a man who was in Mr. Boardmans office when he was. It made me sad to see Oscar with the other dispiriting conditions I am contending with. It rained this afternoon and the weather is depressing. Downing came in in the evening and I spent the evening at home and came to my room feeling unhappy and sad.

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