UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: furniture
Record 19 of 46

System Number: 03792
Date: 8 January 1890
Author: Stéphane Mallarmé[1]
Place: Paris
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler M126
Document Type: ALS[2]


Paris 89 rue de Rome

Mercredi 8 Janvier 1890

Voici, mon cher Whistler,

la situation exacte de la maisonnette[3], et la distribution du rez-de-chaussée. Au dessus du salon et de la salle à manger, deux chambres à coucher à peu près pareilles et cabinets de toilette; au dessus de la cuisine, deux W.C; au dessus des ateliers, c'est-à-dire un peu plus haut que le reste de l'étage, un petit appartement de deux ou trois pièces, pouvant s'isoler. Le tout regarde l'avenue, à l'ouest: M. Story[4] me semble avoir trouvé excellent le jour des ateliers, il vous écrit en même temps que moi. La maison est sur cave et se chauffe très-aisément, par des calorifères ou poëles mobiles, au sujet desquels vous vous entendrez sûrement avec le propriétaire. Je ne sais pas si vous verrez un inconvénient dans le voisinage [p. 2] du chemin de fer, il ne cause aucune trépidation. On l'entend, les premiers jours, voilà tout; pas après minuit. Mon amie Mme Méry Laurent[5] (située au 9) y dort à merveille, et c'est la personne la plus difficile que je sache. J'ai dîné chez elle sans me douter du passage des trains. L'avantage est grand, d'autre part, d'être en plein Paris, gare Saint-Lazare, en un quart d'heure environ, tout en habitant un coin de campagne aussi vert que la vraie et mêlé à la jolie vie de l'avenue du Bois. Je me figure que vous serez là à votre place.

Entendez-vous, maintenant, avec le propriétaire, marchandez; voulez-vous qu'il vous laisse des meubles? Quand comptez-vous devenir parisien? On occupera la maison jusqu'à votre venue, pour qu'elle ne se refoidisse pas: du reste, aucune humidité, absolument. Maintenant si j'étais de vous, je viendrais voir, [left margin] c'est toujours mieux: moi, du moins, à qui le logis importe autant que mon âme, je le ferais. Au revoir, vous me pardonnez[6] ce papier d'architecte. Tous nos souhaits à Madame[7], et dites lui que les fournisseurs de Passy passent là chaque matin, et notamment le meilleur boucher de Paris.

Votre

Stéphane Mallarmé

N. Le tarif des voitures est celui de l'intérieur de Paris.

Monsieur Story est charmant, et j'ai eu du plaisir à faire sa connaissance.

[p. 3, detailed hand-drawn diagram of maisonnette and surrounding area, including notes labelling the rooms, local roads and features]


This document is protected by copyright.


Translation:

Here, my dear Whistler,

is the exact situation of the little house, and the arrangement of the ground floor. Above the drawing-room and the dining-room, two bedrooms of about the same size and bathrooms; above the kitchen, two lavatories; above some studios, that is to say a little higher than the rest of the floor, a small flat of two or three rooms, which can be separated. The whole overlooks the avenue, to the west: Mr Story seems to have found the light in the studios excellent, he is writing to you at the same time as I. The house is over a cellar and is heated very easily, by pipes or mobile stoves, on the subject of which you will certainly come to an understanding with the owner. I do not know if you will find a drawback in the proximity of the railway, it will not cause any vibration. You can hear it, for the first few days, that is all; not after midnight. My friend Mme Mery Laurent (at no. 9) sleeps wonderfully well there, and she is the most sensitive person I know. I dined with her without noticing the trains passing. The advantages are great, besides, to be in the centre of Paris, at the Saint-Lazare railway station, in about a quarter of an hour, whilst living in a country corner as green as the real thing and combined with the good life in the avenue of the Bois. I believe that you will be at home there.

Come to an agreement, now, with the owner, deal with him; do you want him to leave you the furniture? When are you planning to become a Parisian? The house will be occupied until your arrival, so that it does not become cold: apart from that, no damp, absolutely. Now if I were you I would come to see it, it is always best: for my part, my home is as important as my soul, and I would do it. Goodbye, please excuse this architect's paper. All our best wishes to Mrs Whistler, and tell her that the Passy tradesmen pass by there every morning, and notably the best butcher in Paris.

Stéphane Mallarmé

N.B. The charge for cabs is the same as in the centre of Paris

Mr Story is charming, and I was happy to make his acquaintance.

[p. 3, diagram of maisonnette and surrounding area, including notes labelling the rooms, local roads and features]


Notes:

1.  Stéphane Mallarmé
Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898), Symbolist writer and poet [more].

2.  ALS
Published in Barbier, Carl P., ed., Correspondance Mallarmé-Whistler: Histoire de la grande amitié de leurs dernières années, Paris, 1964 [GM, A.28], no. XXVI, pp. 48-49.

3.  la maisonnette
A detailed hand-drawn diagram of the maisonnette appears on page 3; it is reproduced as plate 3 in Barbier (op. cit.). JW did not move in to this particular house, but took up residence in Rue du Bac around spring 1892.

4.  M. Story
Julian Russell Story (1850-1919), genre and portrait painter [more].

5.  Mme Méry Laurent
Méry Laurent (1849-1900), née Anne-Rose Louviot, actress and courtesan [more].

6.  pardonnez
'pardonnez...Mallarmé', was written in the left margin of p. 1, 'N. Le tarif...Paris', in the right margin, 'Monsieur...connaissance', in the same right margin, all at right angles to the main text.

7.  Madame
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more].