Jervis McEntee Diaries

Thursday October 14, 1886

Jervis McEntee Diary Entry, October 14, 1886, from the Jervis McEntee papers, 1850-1905, in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

Thursday, Oct 14, 1886 I returned this morning from Arkville where I went Sept. 25th to join Whittredge who with his family have been spending the summer there. Van Elten and his wife have also been there but left some time ago. We were in the same house we were in in 1873. It is a most interesting region and there is a great variety of fine material, but I have been consumed with melancholy and have had little heart in my work. I was just getting interested as I felt obliged to leave to attend to affairs at home. I wanted the Whittredges to come home with me but he had commenced a study which he was in hopes to finish today. It rained a little shortly after I left and has been dark and threatening all day and I doubt if he could work. Sara telegraphed me yesterday to bring them along. I found her and Tom at the station expecting all of us and she was disappointed they did not come as she had dinner for them and the house all open to receive them. It looked very charming here at home. My father looked and seemed very well and I found Tom had got in the corn fodder in excellent condition which I feared he had not done. I console myself with the reflection that the weather is likely to be cold and changeable out there and that probably I would have been very lonely if I had stayed as the Whittredges leave tomorrow. Mrs. Beard came out there a week ago ill and will remain until Nov. 1st. Beard is to come there from Chicago where he is in charge of the exhibition. My work has not been satisfactory and I have been very despondent but the Autumn was so fine I began to have a little of the old feeling and could have sketched with something of the old pleasure. I constantly thought of dear Gertrude who was with me there thirteen years ago and I came home today because it is the anniversary of her death and it happens I am almost always away from home at that time. How vividly all that sad scene has been before me. [Not?] ten minutes before seven the hour at which she died, I came up here to my room in the dimness of the evening half hoping some reflection of her loving spirit might revisit this sad place but nothing but the silence and the darkness responded to my vain fancy. This eternal sorrow sits in her vacant place and will until I join her in her far abode. Lucy, Andrews and Sedgwick are still in Wilmington but Lucy expects to come home Saturday. Joe Tomkins has been in New York with Gertrude--has written his foolish letters to Lucy wanting to [go?] there to meet Andrews and has worried us all anew. What a restless tormenting mortal, as if life were not full enough of sadness without his senseless worry. We do not know what he will do next and wait in apprehension. Gertrude has not come to see us although we told her last year we would always be glad to see her. Marion and Downing called on her at the Dwights in N. Y. and found Joe there but Mary has not seen her and went away to Alpine fearing she might be again drawn into this miserable business by Joe who has come on to N. Y. apparently determined to see Lucy who is just as anxious to avoid him. All this family trouble is a grief to me but I can never respect him again and shall have no intercourse with him. I wrote to Whittredge today and to Mrs. Church from whom I had a short letter a few days ago asking me to come up there for a visit. She has a crayon of her mother by Rouse which she wants me to see. Sara and I have sat in the parlor talking of dear Gertrude and our beloved dead, all the evening. Oscar Sawyer has gone home to his fathers ill and Fred thinks there are indications that his mind is weakening. Poor Alice is to be burdened with the care of him with all her other cares. I pity poor Oscar but the end has come to him as I feared it would. It is raining hard now and I am glad to be at home.

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