System Number: 06593
Date: [14 June 1891]
Recipient: Beatrix Whistler
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W586
Document Type: ALS
'Hôtel du Helder
June 14th 1891'
21, CHEYNE WALK,
This can, I fancy be but a short note to my own Luck for it is late in the day and after all I have been as busy - about nothing much it is true - but as busy as the time has been long - in one sense any how! - First: don't post any thing to Paris tomorrow, for I hope to leave here tomorrow evening - I propose to pass tuesday at Dieppe - and to appear on Wednesday morning - Doubtless I shan't be able to do anything with the sea, for the wind seems to be always in the East! - unless todays cloudiness may mean a change - but I don't know - you ought to begin the Obi at once Chinkie! - I should so like to bring home something - And as yet I have had no chance -
As to dear old Stevens, at least let him have the credit of his faith in [p. 2] my success, for I said nothing to him, notwithstanding the Tissane, about my intended exhibition - and it was his own proposition that we should have a show together - Do you know Chinkie I half believe it will all be for the best - especially if you do the Obi well -
I saw Petit myself - and let him suppose that the idea emanated from myself, as it was arranged I should do - He was capital about it - and said that for us two he would do anything! - and that we should make the conditions ourselves - Well there is where the matter stands - except that he was going off to see Stevens at once, and that I went off to Fountainbleau to pass the day with Mallarmé - Meanwhile remains a secret - I have spoken of it to no one - And Petit appreciates the value of the surprise that such unexpected alliance is likely to produce! - However we can talk it all [p. 3] over long before the event and it shall be left as all things are to my dear Luck who can overrule them all -
Mallarmé charming - A wonderful little cabin on the river, where the little family eat soupe aux choux, and dress in anything! Most hospitable and warm hearted they were and delighted to see me - We drove over Mallarmé and I, or rather he drove me in a tiny dog cart over the the [sic] great Chateau - which we passed the afternoon in seeing - Oh Chinks you would have been enchanted! - Of course we will go together over it all again - Simply beautiful of course - The lovely of French Architecture - and this time in white with all the markings, pillasters and pickings out, in small dainty red bricks - And the rooms & halls & galleries in perfect condition - and the furniture from Louis XIII - XIV - and XV to some of the most delightful sofas of the [p. 4] empire that you would at once have wanted to carry away! - Well there was a day - perhaps not really lost - Thought nothing definite really managed about the [Dentist man?]! - Mallarmé however is greatly vexed and said that he should write at once and say that his own position in the matter is a disagreable [sic] one - and that no more tardiness should be possible - ! Well we will see - And so home late at night like Mr Pepys and to bed -
A note from Montesquiou - and today passed with him - breakfast! and garden & Japonese [sic] tree - and endless talk - and every thing charming - and very much about you - and Bunnie & the red Lady - and all but he thinks that the return to the portrait would be in September - about - So the great sums must be coming from other sources in our good fortune - Well - upon the whole I daresay it is just as well - I confess I am rather relieved - There is first the Rosie series to grow - and then the sea pictures which I have great faith in - and if we have warm weather doubtless we should be couped [sic] up with the black portrait and perhaps a little bored - eh? -
Montesquiou is coming back for me to dine & perhaps we are to go to the Grefülhe's [sic] - which - I rather would upon the whole do without! -
He missed you greatly at his little coquetish [sic] entertainment this morning - I enclose his last night's note - & now must leave the rest together with the account of Degas' breakfast until my return -
Goodbye for today my own dear Trixie -
God bless the Wams! -
Love to Bunnie
The panels have come -
HOTEL DU HELDER
RESTAURANT DU LYON D'OR
7 & 9, RUE DU HELDER
- PARIS -
Mrs J. McNeill Whistler -
21. Cheyne Walk
[postmark on verso:] LONDON - S.W / V A / JU 15 / 91
1. [14 June 1891]
Dated from postmark.
3. Hotel du Helder
'Hôtel ... 1891' was written at a later date by Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more]. This information is confirmed by the postmark. Although he was in Paris, JW used his own notepaper with its orange embossed letterhead.
A voodoo-type invocation or ritual originating in Africa.
Palace of Fontainebleau.
9. Dentist man
Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac (1855-1921), Symbolist writer and poet, and collector [more]. He was posing for Arrangement in Black and Gold: Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac (YMSM 398).
Edmond de Goncourt, who visited Montesquiou soon after JW, observed: "Un petit jardin fantasque, qui a pour arbres une demi-douzaine de ces chênes et de ces thuyas en pot qu'il a achetés à l'exposition japonaise, arbres nains qui ont cent cinquante ans et qui sont de la grandeur d'un chou-fleur..." Journal, 7 July 1891.
15. warm weather
The rest is written in the margins of p. 4.