The train reached Grand Central Station at a time that was convenient for Mr. McKesson to meet me and take me to their handsome home, The Farm, at Chappaqua. Mrs. McKesson gave me a hearty and affectionate welcome. Life was very worth-while again. I rested the first day and read the New York Times ads to find a place near the Art School. The second morning I went early to the city with Mr. McKesson. I registered at the Art School and had an interview with the director. He asked many questions about my art studies and accomplishments, and gave me addresses for rooms, etc. None of the places I saw seemed desirable, so after lunch at Child's Restaurant I probably went to the Metropolitan Museum for inspiration and rest; then a walk on Fifth Avenue to see the shops, and to the railroad station where I met Mr. McKesson for the return to Chappaqua. Herman, their trusted man of all work, was there to drive us home. Elsa, the same Swiss-French maid, was there to assist me in dressing. My luxurious room, the beautiful mountain view, and the excellent food from the farm built me up in body and spirit. On the second trip to New York I looked at rooms near 57th Street and the Art Students' League. I found one two blocks away. It was a hallroom in what had been a handsome brownstone house. The room was small but complete, with running hot and cold water in a corner washstand. A bathroom was nearby. The price for room and board was reasonable so I told the proprietor that I would sign up for the winter if she would permit me to stay a few days at daily rent. She agreed to this. I told her I was very tired and would have to go to the nearest place she could recommend for lunch. Miss Begg (I think that was her name) said, "Our lunch hour is past but if you want to rest while I prepare something for you, it will soon be ready." She gave me hot soup, a cheese sandwich that had been dipped into egg and milk and fried a light brown, and fruit. The lunch was delicious. I asked for the recipe of her cheese toast sandwich. It became a standby for a quick nourishing lunch in our family for years. Then she took me to a little room near her room on the first floor and told me to rest there for a while. No one could have been more kind. I had told Miss Begg of the long and intimate friendship with the McKessons, and no doubt she felt that was enough of a recommendation. Mrs. McKesson was able to get a good report about this place. Next day she went with me to see the whole set-up. All was satisfactory so instead of paying by the day for a short time I gave Mrs. Begg a check for the first month. Two days later school started. My father had sent a check for tuition to the League, bless his heart!
The Art League required a course in antique drawing similar to the one I had had at St. Louis Art School. The big hall of plaster gods, goddesses, athletes, fawns, and animals was quite stunning. I liked our instructor. Students were men and women of all ages. All worked quietly and intently. The whole atmosphere was more serious than that in St. Louis. My first drawing was nothing to be proud of, but the teacher was kind and gave me another cast that two others were drawing at different angles. This added interest and companionship during rests. We did not talk while working. Lunch hour was pleasant with a great variety of students young and old. I joined a still life class under Mr. Augustus Vincent Tack in which we used oil paints. Mr. Tack had a good color sense and before long he complimented me about mine. His bright pleasant manner and true criticisms of our work, good or bad, were helpful. About the most complimentary comment he ever made about any painting was this: "You had fun with your work - keep it up!" This statement is so true that I have never forgotten it. I have told it to cooks, housemaids, my children, and even to those serving us now at Gatesworth Manor. I never could see that the condemnation of Adam and Eve who were sent from the Garden of Eden to "work by the sweat of their brow" was as bad as complete idleness would have been. My painting improved steadily.
I looked up two relatives who lived near New York. Lucy Nisbet, the cousin for whom I was named, lived with her husband Craig McClure and their three children, Craig, Jr., Henry, and Fannie Louise, at Montclair, New Jersey. They were a lovable family and invited me to spend a week-end with them now and then. Their house was comfortable and by doubling up a bit they kindly made room for me. Craig was an architect who came to St. Louis to join a group of architects here. He was successful when he married my cousin. I think their three children were born here. After his success in St. Louis they moved east where he joined another group of architects in an advisory job.
Another cousin, Minnie Gamble, who had married an English civil engineer named Frederick Abbott, lived on Long Island. They had had a marvelous life. Fred's English education and engineering experience helped him meet people in St. Louis who were planning our World's Fair. My sister Nina and her husband Percy Werner encouraged that marriage. Minnie and Fred went to many parts of the world. At this time Abbott and Gamble had an office as consulting engineers. Hamilton Gamble had married an attractive English widow.