UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

the on-line edition

System Number: 06545
Date: 7-10 September 1870
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[1]
Place: London
Recipient: James H. Gamble[2]
Place: Staten Island
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: Whistler W539
Document Type: ALS


[embossed monogram:] AMW

2 Lindsey Houses Chelsea London

Sept 7th 1870

My dear Mr Gamble,

Altho I owe your dear Harriet[3] an answer to her nice kind letter & you have not put me under any obligation to address this to you, it is in connection with the revered old friend of yours, who first led you & I to become associated in friendship that I naturally report my Cousin Miss Clunie[4] to you while I am sure, your dear sister[5] & your wife will participate in your joy to hear the old lady is in perfect health. she has even laid aside her walking cane, & went to call upon Mrs Barrow[6] in her passing thro Edinboro [sic], that friend of mine having called first to enquire after the aged saint! I almost envied them as they recounted to me, the charming evening she entertained them at tea around her table 23 Dundas St[7] where all was in elegant style & she presided so gracefully, she played upon her piano at their desire & so correctly & sweetly! they say she is brighter than when they had seen her two summers before, but she is not able to keep up correspondence, so I must gratify her wish to receive my letters, without her charming me by hers. she told them she should D V make a visit to Berwick & spend two months with her sister Williamson[8] before Xmas. I think Cousin Anne is now four score Years old! Oh how I wish I could go to her for such bright influence, it would be as if the ascending Prophets mantle[9] were wrapped around me. You no doubt know my dear Mr Gamble, that [p. 2] the other aged maternal Cousin I corresponded with, was taken to her rest a few months since, the Cousin Anna Johnstone[10] whom you & your dear Harriet gratified by a call in East 41st St, New York, she was in her 82nd year & gradually had become a patient confined to her own room. her devoted neice [sic] Mrs Corbett[11] & her daughter Mrs Duclos[12] feel their loss tenderly, but ah how blest for that mother to have such a daughter to sympathise with her & share her home. I often think of Mrs Cruger[13] & wonder if you two may have visited Henderson Home[14] during the past Summer. my neice [sic] Mrs Adolfe Rodewald[15] rented her house furnished, & went with all her children to Richfield Springs, for 3 months, I wrote her by Sat[urday's] steamer to meet her return to New Brighton, I had so long been wishing to answer her letter, which she wrote in sympathising Grief for the sorrowing Cousins in 41st St, but after my attack of Bronchitas [sic] which shut me up for two months, it came just after Mr & Mrs King[16] left us to embark for N York - I was debilitated & in arrears to everyone & when the London Season[17] caused many visitors to Jemie's[18] studio, & tho its dissipations never affect me in any other way, I must be mistress of ceremonies for Jemie keeps closely at work all day & I have to try to be agreeable to the friends & patrons, til he can receive them. Mr Leyland[19] who is not only a prosperous man in Liverpool but a very cultivated gentleman of taste, has been especially friendly, & while the family were in their elegant mansion at Queens Gate Hyde Park[20], our intercourse was frequent, but Jemie was most there, dining or going with them to Operas, which was healthful recreation, after his long days work. And now he has been staying at Speke Hall[21] four weeks. He is there to paint a full length life size portrait of Mr Leyland[22], which he writes me is getting on capitally. I was invited to accompany Jemie for a longer visit than we made there last year but would not leave Willie[23], [p. 3] but I recollect a Belfast friend of yours Haclan[24] I think his name added to our cheerful circle as Mr Leylands guest while we were [there] last Sept & that we talked together about you all.

Sat 10th

Bright sunshine, after days of rain. Masons & Painters are upon the outside of this house such a good chance in the Artists absence, his Studio has been the back room & will be thro Autumn[,] these front windows are so pleasant for my occupying the drawing room. My health has been good, since my recovery from last Springs illness of two months, so it was not from necessity I spent ten days at Malvern[25] in July, but by the invitation of my beloved old friends the Gillibrands[26]. I went to be their guest & to enjoy drives & the beautiful country around, but most their companionship[.] You may be sure I could not be within a four minutes walk of the Gully bath house[27] without taking a vapor bath each day, not as his patient however, for I found the experiment beneficial & continued it. tell Mr Wann[28] I thought of his companion at Northampton & the more perfect system of Malvern. I greatly enjoyed the fine Strawberries brought to our breakfast table freshly gathered every day. and so I had in a visit to friends at Sydenham for a week earlier. indeed tho the Drought thro this Summer, made all fearful, fruit has never been so fine & abundant in England. the grain also & now rains will make food for Cattle & enable the poor to partake of the wholesome roots of the garden. Alas for the fields & vineyards of Germany & France! the scourge of war[29] is too painful to write about, God grant a speedy & lasting Peace! My Willie has felt the call for Surgeons speaking both languages! & fain would have gone to help the sufferers, but he has just gone into a house of his own 80 A Brooke St Grosvenor Square & professionally is not at liberty to leave, tho his servant seems trust worthy. I know how much Good service he could have rendered, but I am thankful to be saved the anxiety I must have endured[.] both "my boys" would unite with me in affectionate remembrances to you all were they at my elbow, ["]The Etchings[30]" were put in progress but not ready for the last Season, expected to be published next. D V. My dear daughter with Mr Haden[31], their bright Annie & her three brothers[32] are having a holiday in Lancashire. Seymour went first with a class mate from Oxford, to a tour in Norway, he is always a comfort at home & a thorough Student when at College.

[p. 4] The widow of my dear George[33], has recently gone with her 5 children[34] & 2 faithfully attached servants, to Dresden where they are to reside til the sons are educated, her two darling girls are blest in a Xtian Governess[35] who is also [a] valued friend to their mama. they like the Clergyman & his wife also, of which I am most happy to hear. I have so many in Germany, whom the War might caused suffering to, I cannot be too thankful the battle fields were not near them, but we all much sympathise with the victims of both nations! I have not attended to my trial of last winter when my veteran head of my kitchen became a brawler from Ale! she was 62 years of age & had been 45 a servant so that I had hoped we need never part, but my youthful cook of 20 is very capable & a cheerful & attentive servant & my waitress & housemaid Lizzie[36] of 17 is obedient to my Guidance. The old Harriet[37] is reformed & a bride now to one of the old Pensioners of Chelsea Soldiers home[38], it must have been the bitterly cold winter & my absence in my sad visit at Brighton exposed her to yeild [sic] to the temptation.

Had[39] I not had a letter to answer to Mr King by this Steamer, I should have enclosed to you one for our Scarsdale Cottage friend Miss Margaret H[40] but now just both in the envelope to him[.] To all at Homeland

lovingly

A M Whistler


This document is protected by copyright.


Notes:

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

2.  James H. Gamble
James H. Gamble (b. 1820), clerk [more].

3.  Harriet
Harriet Gamble, née Wheaton, wife of J. H. Gamble.

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

5.  sister
Jane Wann (1822-1875), née Gamble, wife of S. Wann [more].

6.  Mrs Barrow
Mrs Barrow, a relation of John Barrow of New York; see AMW to Harriet and James H. Gamble, 6 May 1869, #06542.

7.  23 Dundas St
In 1870 the following people lived at 23 Dundas Street: George Stewart, dairyman; Mrs Munnoch; Thomas Mitchell, merchant; David Deans, teacher of music; John Holmes; James R. Dow; James Slater Breck; John Foote, fruiterer; see PO Edinburgh & Leith Directory, 1870-71, p. 282.

8.  Williamson
Mrs Williamson, née Clunie, Ann Clunie's sister.

9.  ascending Prophets mantle
This probably refers to 'And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.' 1 Sam. 28.13-14.

10.  Cousin Anna Johnstone
Anna Johnstone (1788-1870), AMW's maternal cousin.

11.  Mrs Corbett
Mary Corbett (b. 1804), cousin of AMW [more].

12.  Mrs Duclos
Elizabeth Duclos, née Corbett, wife of P. Duclos.

13.  Mrs Cruger
Harriet Cruger (1790-1872), née Douglas, a friend of AMW [more].

14.  Henderson Home
'Henderson Home' at the Mohawk Valley, Herkimer County, NY; see AMW to James H. Gamble, 26 March 1857, #06482.

15.  Mrs Adolfe Rodewald
Julia (Catherine) Rodewald, née McNeill, JW's cousin, had recently lost her husband Adolphe Rodewald (1818-1869) (see #08179). Her children were: Mary Louise ('Louloo') Rodewald (b. 1850); Adolfe Rodewald (b. 1853); Frederick Rodewald (b. 1855); Julia Rodewald (b. 1857); Anna Rodewald (b. 1860); William McNeill Rodewald (b. 1862); Emily Rodewald (b. 1864); Ferdinand Rodewald (b. 1866).

16.  Mr & Mrs King
Ralph King (1801-1878), broker, father-in-law of W. McN. Whistler [more] and his second wife Mildred M. ('Mittie') King (b. 1820), née Bronaugh. In May-June 1869 the Kings stayed with AMW for three weeks on their way to Paris (see #06543).

17.  London Season
The London social season ('The Season'); see #06524. The preview of the Royal Academy exhibition in May was a highlight of the social calendar. In 1870 JW exhibited Variations in Flesh Colour and Green: The Balcony (YMSM 56); see JW to James H. Gamble, 7 June 1864, #06524.

18.  Jemie's
James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), artist [more].

19.  Mr Leyland
Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892), ship-owner and art collector [more].

20.  Queens Gate Hyde Park
The Leylands' London address was 23, Queen's Gate, from 1869 until 1874; see Linda Merrill, The Peacock Room: A Cultural Biography, Washington, DC, 1998, p. 154.

21.  Speke Hall
Speke Hall, near Liverpool, home of the Leylands. AMW and JW had made their first visit to Speke Hall in September 1869 (see #07642; Merrill, ibid., p. 122 and n. 73).

22.  portrait of Mr Leyland
Arrangement in Black: Portrait of F. R. Leyland (YMSM 97).

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

24.  Haclan
Haclan of Belfast, a friend of J. H. Gamble.

25.  Malvern
Malvern Baths, in Worcester. AMW had visited the baths again in 1865; see AMW to Margaret Getfield Hill, 22 October 1865, #11965.

26.  Gillibrands
The family of William Clark Gellibrand (b. ca 1791), merchant [more].

27.  Gully bath house
James Gully had published a book on 'neuropathy' in 1837, and opened his establishment (Holyrood House for women and Tudor House for men) at Malvern in 1842. The treatments involved hot and cold baths for hypochondriasis, and a variety of water treatments; see H. Smith, Three Weeks in Wet Sheets; Being the Diary and Doings of a Moist Visitor to Malvern, London, 1856.

28.  Mr Wann
Samuel Wann (b. 1820), merchant, brother-in-law of J. H. Gamble [more].

29.  war
The Franco-German war, also called the Franco-Prussian war (19 July 1870-10 May 1871), in which a coalition of German states led by Prussia defeated France. The war marked the end of French hegemony in continental Europe and resulted in the creation of a unified Germany.

30.  The Etchings
A Series of Sixteen Etchings of Scenes on the Thames, 1871 (the 'Thames Set') (K.38-44, 46, 52, 66, 68, 71, 74-76, 95) (excat 4); they were published in the Spring of 1871.

31.  dear daughter with Mr Haden
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more], and Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more].

32.  Annie & her three brothers
Annie Harriet Haden (1848-1937), later Mrs Charles Thynne, JW's niece [more], Francis Seymour Haden (1850-1918), Arthur Charles Haden (1852-1910), musician, Harry Lee Haden (1855-1877).

33.  widow of my dear George
Julia de Kay Whistler (1825-1875), née Winans, married George William Whistler (1822-1869), engineer, JW's half-brother [more].

34.  5 children
Julia de Kay Revillon (b. 1855), née Whistler, Thomas Delano Whistler (b. 1857), Ross Winans Whistler (b. 1858), Neva Winans (1860-1907), née Whistler, married her cousin Ross Revillon Winans, Joseph Swift Whistler (1865-1905), art critic.

35.  Governess
Miss Willis, governess (see #07642).

36.  Lizzie
Lizzie (b. ca 1853), a servant.

37.  Harriet
Harriet (b. ca 1810), a servant of AMW (see #08179).

38.  Chelsea Soldiers home
Chelsea Royal Hospital, Royal Hospital Road, SW3. It was the home of the famous red-coated Chelsea Pensioners. The hospital was founded in 1682 by Charles II as a home for veteran soldiers.

39.  Had
'Had ... Whistler' continues in the left upper margin of p. 1.

40.  Scarsdale Cottage friend Miss Margaret H
Margaret Getfield Hill (1802-1881), a friend of AMW, of Scarsdale, NY [more] owner of Scarsdale Cottage, Scarsdale, New York. AMW lived there intermittently between ca September 1851 and November 1857.