Jervis McEntee Diaries

Saturday October 20, 1888

Jervis McEntee Diary Entry, October 20, 1888, from the Jervis McEntee papers, 1850-1905, in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

Saturday, Oct 20, 1888 I returned this morning from my long contemplated trip to Wyalusing Pa. to visit Mr. Geo. H. Welles who was ill at the Mansion House in 1844 with yellow fever. I left here on Monday noon had my dinner at the St. Dervis in N. Y. and then went to Marys to see Lucy and Sedgwick whom I had not seen since they came East. They were both pleased to see me and Lucy thought me looking remarkably well. Calvert was there and Downing came in during the evening. Sedgwick has begun his school with Mr. Morse and as he likes him we hope he is not going to suffer so much with homesickness. I had been to my room at the Studio previously and found it as dirty and dismal as possible. They had not attended to the chamber work since I was there in July and I found it bad enough. Still I had them put it in order and spent the night there. When I awoke it was raining, the day before having been fine, but this fall we have only one fine day at a time. I had my breakfast at the St. Dervis at 6.30 and took the 8 oclock train foot of Cortlandt St. at 8 on the Lehigh Valley Rail road. The rain ceased before noon and the ride became very enjoyable, particularly along the Lehigh and over the Mountains to the valley of the Susquehanna, which from the summit, with a foreground of rich autumnal foliage was most inviting. I was surprised at the populousness of the Valley, the numerous towns, and the extent of the coal mining. We passed Mud Run on the Lehigh where the frightful rail road accident occurred only a few days before, but not a vestige of the wreck could be seen. I arrived in Wyalusing a little after 4 in a hard shower which the train had just run into. Mr. Welles was at the station to meet me with a team and we drove to the house where Mrs. Welles met me most cordially and said she supposed Mr. Welles had told me of the illness of their eldest son. I told her he had not and expressed my regret that they had not telegraphed me not to come as I had proposed in my letter if it were in any way inconvenient, but she said it would make no difference except that she would not be able to see as much of me as she hoped to. I felt somewhat embarrassed I confess but they were so cordial that it reassured me. When I told Mr. Welles he should have informed me he said "I was not going to stop you. I wanted a visit from your father and mother and I put it off for a more convenient time and they never came and I have always regretted it." The house was a substantial brick one with fine large rooms and with an expression of comfort and domesticity. I found Mr. Welles so deaf I could not talk with him as much as I wished to but the daughters of whom there were four and one son besides the sick one, were very agreeable and intelligent. I perhaps saw most of Miss Margaret the third daughter, I should say, a blonde. The eldest, Virginia was much of the time attending on her brother. I was worried to know what Mr. Welles really wanted me to paint, but I think I finally comprehended him. He wants a picture of mine and if I could find some of that scenery which I liked he would like that. We took a ride to a point he seemed to like particularly, on Wednesday, with a fine view down the valley. I suggested that I thought it would compose better further down and we drove on until we came to a point from which I felt I could make a picture and we settled upon that. We drove on a little further, but it began to rain and we returned and the rest of the day was stormy. He told me he was obliged to go to Dushore the next day, where he had been suddenly called on business, but he had arranged to send me down to where I wanted to make my sketch next morning. He hoped he would be gone only a day but could not tell and wished me to stay as long as I could, but I told him I was anxious to get home as I had many things to attend to and if I succeeded with my sketch would return next day. Thursday morning promised to be fine although cool and rather windy. The man drove me down directly after breakfast and I went to work. The spot where I sat was an exposed one, but I put on my overcoat and managed to keep tolerably comfortable. I worked rapidly and steadily from 9 until 1 by which time I got a pretty good sketch. The man came for me at 12 and I was nearly frozen and was glad to drive back to the warm and comfortable house where they had a nice dinner for me. Along in the afternoon Miss Virginia proposed to drive me out over the hills at which I was delighted. She proved a capital driver we had a nice team and light waggon and she was a very bright and agreeable companion, so that the ride through a beautiful country over the hills, with fine views was a very pleasant episode during which we got to be very good friends. Thursday was rainy again and I congratulated myself that I had secured my sketch. The young man had been alarmingly ill in the night but had rallied. I left at 10 o'clock parting with the hospitable family with regret. Miss Virginia drove me to the station where we met Mr. Welles just came home on the train I took. I had a moments conversation with him before the train left. The names of the daughters are Virginia the eldest who somewhat resembles Mrs. Custer, Mrs. Stone a married daughter, Margaret the blonde and "Georgie" the younger, about 12 years old. The son who was very ill was Lincoln and the younger brothers name is Fisher. It rained and was foggy all the way to N. Y. where we arrived about 6. I took the 9 oclock West Shore train for home after telegraphing Sara I would be home at midnight. The roof of the West Point Tunnel had fallen in and at West Point we were delayed more than two hours in being transferred by boat to Cornwall where we again took train and instead of arriving here at 11.45 it was nearly 2. Sade was sitting up waiting for me. I was too tired to tell her much about my visit but have told her all about it today. I slept soundly until 7 o'clock. Have been down town to pay Carters & Canfields bills, to see about our school tax which is $120 this year while the Cornell steam boat Co's is only about twice that. This is a great injustice but what is one to do. The weather cleared this morning but has been threatening the most of the day. Tom is picking apples but gets on slowly and we have a great many. Sara has had the kitchen stove moved up stairs while I was away and I built fire in the hall stove. Last year I think we started it on the 25th. I wrote to Mr. Welles today to tell him what a pleasant visit I had had in spite of the weather and other adverse circumstances and also wrote a congratulatory note to Mrs. Lee who invited me to Fannys wedding which takes place this evening at 8 o'clock.

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