UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: Amazon, SS
Record 1 of 3

System Number: 06465
Date: 20 September 1855[1]
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[2]
Place: Scarsdale[3]
Recipient: James H. Gamble[4]
Place: [Staten Island[5]]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W460
Document Type: ALS


Scarsdale Cottage

Sept 20th.
Thursday. 1855.

I have not dried my pen since tracing pages to Willie[6], but kind thoughts are not exhausted & at last I may send you our dear Mr Gamble a portion of those cherished in review of our renewal at the Cottage & in response to your welcome report of your home greeting from your honored Mother & Sister[7]. Miss Sarah[8] & I have been all in all to each other since Willie went back to College[9] a week ago yesterday & Miss Margaret[10] a week today went with Blanche[11] to visit wealthy connections on the beautiful Hudson, we expect them on Saturday, to recount to us their enjoyment for the delectable places they left our Happy Valley yeild [sic] much. they have refused Cantelopes for grapes, peaches, plums. But we are grateful that our Melon vines yeild us dessert & substitute Tomatoes at breakfast from the ice sugared, for Peaches. You see my dear friend thankfulness abounds & that I accept the tokens of the Lords favor in the fine weather of Sept as a type of his voyage. I spent as did Willie the last week of Augt in 14th. St[12] in his society at the home of our branch of the Jaffray house [p. 2] Mr Jaffray's eldest son[13], younger, but more sedate shared the State room with my voyager[14], we went on board the Amazon[15] on the 1st. day of Sept to be as long as possible with them, they wrote by the Pilot cheerily. Westerly winds have since prevailed here, & when I nightly look up at the night canopy covering sea & land, distance seems less desolating. With the faith of a little child[16] I believe our heads meet daily in the name & words of Jesus. Charlies prayer[17], the Lords prayer! you may be sure out of the abundance of a widowed mothers yearnings & anxieties wants that they think not of are put up in petitions before the Mercy Seat. dear friends unite with me in prayer for these precious lads, that every change to them may be sanctified. Willie read aloud the tract you sent him to us at the Cottage, but not as tho he was convinced. We can only sew the good seed[18] & wait for the Lords blessing on it. Mr Popham[19] has had many labours for a fortnight in the field before us, blasting of rock, ploughing & enriching it & now the seed is sown, it will be a green spot in the snow. John[20] under Miss Sarahs direction & encouragement has greatly improved our acre lately, she & I spent last Saturday with friends who have fine gardens at Fordham[21]. we came back laden with Strawberry vines, which John will be proud to exhibit to Miss M in the bed he had ready before she left. You must not be mortified that I have been reminded of you by [p. 3] Marys[22] success in the Maryland breakfast Pone, for we have you associated with greater benefits. I shall enclose the receipt as you wished for your Cook. Mr Popham has been captured by us from the Rye field at our tea time & seemed not less glad than we to [refresh?] him. I handed him your letter to read as Mrs Maxwell[23] so gratefully remembered his brother[24], he sighed & smiled over it. he & we all trust if the Lord spares us that you will come annually to Scarsdale. We all love your Mother's James as a brother! Willie speaks of you affectionately, for his sake you will wish to repeat your visit in his holiday. the new boat[25] launched on the Bronx has not been as much enjoyed as was intended by Mr Drake[26], in consequence of a calamitous result of a colission [sic] to his carriage in which his daughters were driving their mama. it was broken & Mrs D[27]'s arm so severely bruised, her face too, it was a merciful interposition prevented her loss of limb or eyes. I become more & more interested in conversation with her. she is such a christian mother! is so thankful her girls escaped, & they are so devoted to her! she is tho helpless yet, suffering less pain & has been patient & cheerful, thro the fortnights confinement. Miss Sarah & I are privately congratulating Aunt Margaret that she has Blanche removed from temptation to attend a party, gayer than Scarsdale has yet ventured to prepare for. The widowed mother seems perplexed to decide how, for her fair young daughters may follow fashion! It has not ever appeared to me that excitement is joy, but the ordeal is entered upon by the youthful member of our church and I can only pray the still small voice may be listened to, for we under the cottage roof may not offer advice, where parents are responsible[.] [p. 4] I have not yet had leisure to write Miss Clunie[28] but hope to soon, & shall not fail when in the city to pay my respects to her friend Mrs Maxwell, & to tell the dear old lady of my Sister Winstanley[29]. Ah if you could see the contrast between a line & half of love from her paralysed hand, to the journal[,] how touched your kind heart would be!

Mr Popham speaks so lovingly of you & so does my friend Miss Margaret I will venture to express it. Miss Sarah unites her sincere regards with my love. Mine you will share with your Mother & Sister. Write to the Cottage often as you can tho I can only scrawl responses.

Anna M Whistler.


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Notes:

1.  20 September 1855
Few of AMW's early letters to Gamble have survived, (see 28 September 1853, #06428, and 3 March 1854, #06438) and none of his replies.

2.  Anna Matilda Whistler
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more].

3.  Scarsdale
AMW lived intermittently at Scarsdale, West Chester County, New York between c. September 1851 and November 1857 in a cottage owned by her friends Margaret G. and Sarah Hill.

4.  James H. Gamble
James H. Gamble (b. 1820), clerk [more]; see AMW to JW, 15 December 1856, #06477.

5.  Staten Island
James H. Gamble shared a house with his mother and sister at Staten Island, New York.

6.  Willie
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

7.  Mother & Sister
Jane Gamble (1790-1864), mother of J. H. Gamble [more], and her daughter Jane Wann (1822-1875), née Gamble, wife of S. Wann [more]; they lived together at Staten Island, New York.

8.  Miss Sarah
Sarah Stewart Hill (1800-1864), sister of M. G. Hill [more].

9.  College
Trinity College, Hartford, CT; see AMW to JW, 13 February 1855, #06452, 15 March 1855, #06454, 18 July 1855, #06461, and 4 February 1856, #06471.

10.  Margaret
Margaret Getfield Hill (1802-1881), a friend of AMW, of Scarsdale, NY [more].

11.  Blanche
Alethea Blanchard Hill (1838-1908), daughter of J. and W. S. Hill [more].

12.  14th St
202 W. 14th Street, was the home address of Richmond Woodriff Jaffray (1813-1862), merchant; see Rode's New York City Directory, New York, 1852-3, p. 267.

13.  Jaffray's eldest son
John Hamilton ('Hami' or 'Hammy') Jaffray (1837-1900), son of A. S. and R. W. Jaffray [more], who accompanied JW to England; see JW to AMW, 10 October 1855, #06466.

14.  my voyager
James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), artist [more].

15.  Amazon
JW travelled from New York to London on the Amazon, which sailed on 3 September 1855, as advertised in the New York Daily Times, 3 September 1855, vol. 4, no. 1235, p. 8.

16.  faith of a little child
Alluding to Matthew 18.2-4 - 'Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'

17.  Charlies prayer
Charles Donald Whistler (1841-1843), JW's brother [more].

18.  sew the good seed
'And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude;' Gen. 32.12.

19.  Mr Popham
William Sherbrooke Popham (1793-1885), merchant [more].

20.  John
John, a servant at Scarsdale, NY.

21.  Fordham
Dr George Philip Cammann (1804-1863), physician [more], lived at Fordham, New York; see Throw's New York City Directory, New York, 1861, p. 136.

22.  Marys
Mary Brennan (b. 1825), AMW's servant [more].

23.  Mrs Maxwell.
Probably the mother of Hugh Maxwell (1787-1873), of the NY Custom House (1849-1853), lawyer and collector [more].

24.  his brother
William S. Popham had three brothers who had all died between the 1830s and the 1840s: Charles Wilkes (1804-1847), John (1795-1837), Richard Morris (1795-1837).

25.  boat
Unidentified.

26.  Mr Drake
Drake, an acquaintance of AMW.

27.  Mrs D
Mrs Drake, an acquaintance of AMW.

28.  Miss Clunie.
Anne Clunie (b. 1793), a Scottish cousin of AMW [more].

29.  Sister Winstanley
Eliza Isabella Winstanley (1788-1857), née McNeill, JW's aunt, AMW's half-sister [more].