Documents associated with: Howells, John Mead
Record 7 of 8
System Number: 02192
Date: [20 September/October 1895]
Author: John Mead Howells
Recipient: Beatrix Whistler
Place: [Lyme Regis]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler H288
Document Type: ALS
TELEPHONE NO. 3165. TELEGRAMS: "EARNESTNESS, LONDON."
WESTMINSTER, S. W.
Dear Mrs Whistler:
Do you know you closely escaped a barberous invasion not long since - for Mildred & I had set our faces towards Clovelly - with the sneaking but firm intention of "jumping" the train at a certain point & going straight to Lyme Regis - but our bad consciences went back on us - the picture of you hopelessly cornered in so out of the way a spot softened our hearts - and we decided to descend upon [p. 2] you only in the rue du Bac - but give thanks - for it was very close - We have instead been around & around - to Warwick to Oxford - to tourist places if you like, but which delighted us just the same - And your London charming and treating us delightfully. But this is what Mildred openly bewails & what I darkly suspect too - that you will never get back to Paris - or at least you [shan't] till long after she sails - Now please dont do that - but really come back soon.
[p. 3] The silver shops you tell of are all delightful but we have no money - a normal condition which does not trouble us -
We leave for Paris day after tomorrow - I hope - you will soon follow - are Mr & Mrs Whibley (is that right?) with you or in Paris? -
With love from Mildred and respects (which however in this case really means the same thing) I am
John Mead Howells
baculus [arrow pointing to a sketch of a bear with a club]
The Leicester Crest
"bear & baculus"
1. [20 September/October 1895]
The Whistlers went to Lyme Regis in mid- September and JW stayed on after Beatrix had left in October (see below).
4. HOTEL WINDSOR, ... S. W.
6. Lyme Regis
Seaside town in Dorset where the Whistlers were staying for the sake of Beatrix's worsening illness.
8. horresco referens
Lat., I tremble as I tell the story.
Francis Richard Charles Guy Greville, (b. 1853, succeeded 1893) was the 5th Earl of Warwick; his seat was Warwick Castle. The arms of the Earl of Warwick include a crest, a bear sejant, supporting a ragged staff argent, and muzzled gules, which being interpreted is, a bear with a knobbly silver staff, stick or club (see Debrett's Peerage, baronetage and Knightage, London, 1907).
This is a reference to JW's dispute with Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more]. Frederick Morton Eden (1829-1917), Barrister [more], had written supporting William Eden: 'For vulgarity, insolence, and cowardice combined, the composition would be hard to beat, and the most appropriate answer to it would be the argumentum baculinum', that is a beating with sticks (letter to the Pall Mall Gazette, [8 March 1895], #13197). Thenceforth JW referred to F. M. Eden as 'Baculinum Fred', and made several drawings of a club (see Whistler, James McNeill, Eden v. Whistler, [n.p.], 1897, Club on a cushion (M.1563) and A club on a cushion (M.1564)).
12. Leicester Crest
The Leicester arms, believe it or not, included three eagles and an 'ostrich argent holding in its mouth a horse shoe', but definitely no bears. Eden's own coat of arms included garbs, shells, wild horses and an armed hand grasping a garb.