Documents associated with: Palmer, Donald McNeill
Record 10 of 17
System Number: 04406
Date: 28 January 1864
Author: Catherine Jane Palmer
Recipient: Margaret Getfield Hill
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler P46
Document Type: MsLc
This is for you to keep.
'From Isabella Cammann? Inquire'
Thursday. Jany, 28th, 1864.
My dear Margaret:
'Tis a shame, on my part that you have not sooner been informed of the safe arrival of yr. chum Annie - in due time the good Steamer landed her passengers at Southampton, where Jamie Whistler met his darling mother, and took her directly to his pleasant home in Chelsea - once the court end of London, as far back as Harry the 8th and then the residence of courtiers, now the abodes of Artists - What tales the old walls could tell had they the gift of speech - Well you must imagine Jamie and his mother very happy and cosie in their nice home - (p. 2) furnished in quite an artistic style by Jamie, & completed in comforts by his mother - O! what a mistake I have made, by beginning my letter upside down 'all for good luck says [Rosy O'Turns?].'
But to return to Annie - poor dear soul, she took a very heavy cold on her way across the sound going from Stonington which lasted her over the Atlantic and made her somewhat of an invalid for the first four weeks after her arrival in London. She called in Mr Traer, the partner of Mr Haden who prescribed for her and his [means?] being blessed she is again quite well, & active, visiting Debo nearly every day, as they are not far from each other. Debo had made every preparation for receiving her dear mother in her house, but, tho' reluctantly, had to yeild [sic] to Jamie's prior claim.
(p. 3) Annie describes the house as commodious having delightful parlors and bedrooms. an excellent kitchen, laundry pantries &c. a large garden at the back of the house & a spacious courtyard full of beautiful evergreens so bright & fresh looking she could not realize mid winter. The parlor & studio overlook the Thames, and whilst Annie was writing to me on a table covered with a rich prayer cloth which touched the heavy Persian mats (on the floor) Jamie was busy at his Easel finishing a beautiful painting, not large, for which his Greek friend, Ionides, is to pay him 100 guineas. This looks promising does it not dear Margaret? O! how earnest is my prayer that my sister's children may yet arise and each [live?] blessed" - Jamie gratifies his mother by attending Divine service (p. 4) every Sunday with her, he may in time go from a higher motive.
Altogether my dear sister seems happier and more comfortable than she has been for years. - She has made a visit of enjoyment to Mary Rodewald who has a charming house with all that heart can desire except strong health: her husband is devoted to her & her children dutiful & loving . . . . "Aunty Cath" will not leave her darling Mary, till early in the coming summer, when she may again cross the Atlantic, homeward bound. - you must have enjoyed her journal very much. Sarah Cammann kindly forwarded one to me, which I, after reading sent to Jacks. 'tis a pity though Cousin Cath does not try to see more of the old country whilst she is there. I should (p. 5) not care to be so stationary, she may never 'cross the Brook' again.
Dear Sister Anna misses our precious sister Alicia very much. She had formed many a pleasure for them to enjoy together. She will the more forcibly realize that one we both loved and respected has indeed been called from our sight, 'till we meet in that bright world above. I can only realize she is gone by not receiving those kind and sympathetic letters she loved to write me. Annie is good in writing me. I have heard from her 3 times since her arrival in England & I have been equally prompt in letting her hear from me. my absent boys, too, expect to hear from 'Mother', they feel their separation from home, and George more than ever since dear Don has left the City. 'Tis a long time since we heard from our (p. 6) children in the west - what terribly severe weather they have had out West. The mails have in consequence been irregular and this accounts for a long silence on the part of Don and Caroline - the former, when he last wrote us was fast regaining his health and strength, if this blessing continues, that my dear boy may seek and find employment nearer home, how grateful I shall feel. He has formed many an acquaintance with the rough, yet kind hearted, people around them, & amongst them an old hunter, who went with Don after Deer. They are so abundant in the forest, 'tis not boasting to say a fine haunch of venison has been sent to us by our boy: but Donnie described too graphically the whole scene for me to enjoy - what the rest of the family did of this tempting dish - I could see in (p. 7) imagination, the herd startled by the report of the rifles - rushing from the ravine at the foot of the high hill, at the top of which stood a noble buck, at which Don fired and wounded, but did not kill, when the old hunter aimed at the beautiful doe, as she stood in the midst of the herd, her head erect, unconscious of danger, gazing around inquiringly when the same ball struck her through the heart - beautiful creature! Twas too bad to kill her. Don supplies Kate Finamore's larder with game, wild turkey are so abundant they can any day either catch or shoot one from 11 to 12 pounds in weight. He assists Mr F— too, in any work to be done, which gives him fresh vigor, and we hope the change of climate & daily exercise in the open air, may restore him soon & enable him to (p. 8) remain amongst us. Caroline's little ones are just pets amongst us, especially the baby boy, just a little over 2 years of age - uncommonly bright & full of mischief - the toy of the house, yet a great care to me. I feel responsibility of having him - he & Katie take up my time and attention daily, and since the fearful Dyptherea has taken many a darling from the mothers' arms in our midst, I tremble at the approach of a cold to either of the children. I know their angels watch over them and this gives me strength, yet I shall be very glad to give them again to their own mother. You & dear Sarah & dear Mrs Popham can well understand this feeling. Your letter found me reading the so very interesting book "the Schasberg Cotts family". As dear Gertrude & her husband are with you this must be a (Her letter stops here)
[p. 9] "General Wm Gibbs McNeill married Maria Cammann of Brooklyn N. J.
Their children were:
Mary - married Frederick Rodewald.
Julia - married his brother Adolphe Rodewald.
Eliza - married Rev. Edward Flagg - one child died young.
James - died young
Jackson - died in Missouri
William was drowned when a young man"
Gen. McNeill was born in 1800, died in 1852 I think" - this was sent to me by your mother - But I have found from the records in the War Department that Gen. McNeill died in Brooklyn in the February of 1853.
This letter is a copy, in the writing of Kate McDiarmid, biographer of AMW; see McDiarmid, Kate R., Whistler's Mother: Her Life, Letters and Journal, [n.p.], [n.d.]
4. This ... keep
Presumably a note by Kate McDiarmid.
5. 'From Isabella Cammann? Inquire'
Added at the top of the letter in pencil, in another hand.
7 Lindsey Row.
Not identified; paintings 'not large' in progress in early 1864 could include Chelsea in Ice (YMSM 53) (44.7 x 61.0 cm), Grey and Silver: Chelsea Wharf (YMSM 54) (61.0 x 46.1 cm) and Battersea Reach from Lindsey Houses (YMSM 55) (51.3 x 76.5 cm).
18. Sarah Cammann
Sarah Cammann, a relation of Dr G. P. Cammann.
Caroline Palmer, wife of Donald Palmer.
24. Kate Finamore's
Mrs Kate Finamore, an acquaintance of AMW.
Son (b. 1862?) of Donald and Caroline Palmer.
Katie Palmer, daughter of Donald and Caroline Palmer.
27. their angels watch over
Matthew 18.10, 'Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.'
'The Schasberg Cotts Family'; not identified
Gertrude, possibly a family friend of the Palmers.
Presumably this is Isabella M. Cammann, wife of C. L. Cammann, or Kate McDiarmid, biographer of AMW.
41. [p. 10]
This page is written in another hand.
Isabella M. Cammann, wife of C. L. Cammann; she may have assembled the biographical notes.