|Things Are Looking Up 11×4 Watercolor on paper|
I’m cleared from Sick Bay, and almost normal. Good health is my new favorite, appreciated, cherished, happy-grateful-dance thing. After a few weeks of being kicked to the curb by a bronchial infection, my engines are revving. My studio is sunny. My art supplies are beckoning. My easel is sexy. It’s all so good, I could burst.
Thanks so much for all the email and comment good-wishes. You sweet peeps are a constellation of twinkly goodness when the sky is dark, and I so appreciate all the reaching out. I’m reaching back, and hugging every one of you (germ free, I promise).
January 30 1847 (Russia) Jamie [James McNeil Whistler, at age 12] was taken ill with a rheumatic attack, and I have had my hands full, for he has suffered much with pain and weariness. But he is gradually convalescing, and today he was able to walk across the floor; he has been allowed to amuse himself with his pencil, while I read to him; he has not taken a dose of medicine during the attack, but great care is necessary in his diet.
February 27, 1847 (One month later) Never shall I cease to record with deep gratitude dear Jamie’s unmurmuring submission these last six weeks. He still cannot wear jacket or trousers, as all the blistering still continues on his chest. What a blessing is such a contended temper as his, so grateful for every kindness, and rarely complains. He is now enjoying a huge volume of Hogarth’s engravings, so famous in the Gallery of the Artists. We put the immense book on the bed, and draw the great easy chair close up, so he can feast upon it without fatigue. He said, while so engaged yesterday, ‘Oh, how I wish I were well; I want so to show these engravings to my drawing-master; it is not everyone who has a chance of seeing Hogarth’s own engravings of his originals.’ and then added, in his own happy way, ‘and if I had not been ill, mother, perhaps no one would have thought of showing them to me.’
From the 1911 book James McNeill Whistler – by Elizabeth Robbins Pennell & Joseph Pennell