“conscious, active, ready”

Granada: Sunspots. John Singer Sargent. . . .the spring of 1925 found [John Singer Sargent and his sister Emily] in London, preparing to sail together on Saturday, the 18th of April, for Boston. The dome was long since finished, and the last decorations for the staircase leading to it were either safely in Boston or on the water. Two portraits, Lady Curzon and Mr. George Macmillan [n/a], had been sent to the Royal Academy, and on Tuesday, the 14th, Sargent made a portrait drawing of Princess Mary.

His work was done.

The next day his packing was to begin, a really dreadful undertaking, for he did it himself with thought and care, doing and undoing, dreading and hating it, and enjoying his victories over the pure cussedness of inanimate objects. He dined with his sisters, who had gathered together some of their intimates for a farewell. He was in high spirits, 'genial and wonderful,' one of his guest wrote, 'never in a better form, and waving good night to us as he walked away from Emily's.' A shower came on, and Mr. Nelson-Ward overtook him in a taxi and made him drive the short distance to Trite Street. 'Au revoir in six months,' said Sargent at the door. His servants heard him moving about for a while; after a little the house fell quiet.

And then the end came, 'on a midnight without pain,' we may believe. In the morning he was found, sitting up on his pillows, reading lamp still burning, an open volume of Voltaire fallen from his hand. Death had found him — conscious, active, ready; calmly he answered the summons and was gone from us for ever.

~Mary Newbold Patterson Hale, The World Today, November 1927
(from jssgallery.org)

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone