March 9, 1917
It was the private viewing tonight. I didn’t go but I heard all about it afterwards. Curtis Williamson and Bill Beatty came back around 10pm and gave me the report of the evening.The show was set up in the Public Reference Library. The Toronto Art Museum has their gallery there. The attendance of the private viewing was surprisingly good, better than other years, Beatty reported. He figured that when Jefferys announced that the proceeds of the ticket sales were going to be going to the Patriotic Fund, this became a must attend event for the high society members. They want to be seen supporting the War effort. More importantly, in my estimation, they want to see their names in the papers. The society reporters like to make coverage of these events. Jefferys and his wife got all of the attention. Jim MacDonald was supposed to be there with his wife, but she got sick and they didn’t come.
Curtis said that Sampson’s picture of the Arts and Letters club members made quite the sensation with the attendees. The picture (still unfinished when it was unveiled at the club dinner in January) was a pleaser and there was a crowd around it all evening. If people like to see their names in the paper, even better, they like to see their faces in a portrait. Beatty said that Sampson did a pretty good job of it. I agree, but it’s not something I would paint.
In the end we had our own private party in the Studio Building. I brought up the whisky I got from Montreal and we finished it in short order.I like Bill and Curtis but not enough to share my true feelings with them. Everyday I am feeling more and more distant from everyone here in the City. Truth be told, I’m glad I didn’t go to the private viewing because I’d probably end up exchanging impolite words with someone.
I’m beginning to feel like a wild animal chased out from its refuge by an uncontrollable forest fire. They say that the forest can’t regenerate without these fires, but at a terrible cost to those who live there. Perhaps the Great War is the Great Fire of our country. Like the old trees, the few old men in power can only be replaced by the deaths of thousand of young men.