A SISTER'S VISIT, 1906

 

"[Tom] insisted that I stop off in Toronto for two days to visit him on my way home, and we had a wonderful visit together. He knew the most delightful tea rooms, and one day he took me to McKonkey’s. I had not been there before and remarked on what a delightful place it was, how cool and restful, and on the beautiful service and delicious food, and Tom said “I would like to eat here always, but one can’t on $15 a week. (That was what he rec’d when he came to Toronto.) After a while he said, “I like the atmosphere of this place, and the class of people who come here.”

I wonder if any of his artist friends ever suspected that hunger for the refinements and niceties of life? His choosing of the more primitive mode of living was rather of necessity than preference. It was a cheerful and philosophical acceptance of the only alternative to dependence. He told me once that his paint alone cost him about $500 a year, and he smiled as he said “You know an artist has to have paint, even if he goes hungry.”

- Minnie Thomson

Minnie Thomson, circa 1906, courtesy Kay Morrison family