The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Lenoir, Helen
Record 12 of 42

System Number: 11177
Date: [March 1885][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Helen Lenoir[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection PWC 8/453-4
Document Type: TLc



Dear and delightful Miss Lenoir!

I have been, an [sic] it please you, all the evening in the theatre - and you? -

I need not say that dullness and disappointment possess me, - so that upon the whole, perhaps you did well in making your escape - though I had looked forward to the petit quart d'heure with you in the midst of your busy many matters - and missed it terribly! - Also I had endless things to say to you - and among them, I had meant to confide to you my thanks for all that you have done[3] "of charming" for me, since my guardian angel (by name "Sam[4]") did me the good turn to present me to you.

But what will you? - "Dieu propose --" and, you know the rest - so you were spared to-night! -

Now one thing about the "Show" - to-morrow you know is the second Ten o'clock - and when I looked in this morning at the gallery[5] in Suffolk Street, it seemed to me that very little had been accomplished - and that incompetence and stupidity were in full swing - In short the tact and wit that secured success in the Princes Hall were simply absent - Now we must be successful - and the crooking of a certain little finger that we both (p. 2) delight in would bring it about! - I wonder if you could simply put that wonderful little dark head of yours in at the door for one moment, any time to-morrow, after 12 o'clock in the morning? - One word from you would bring life into the place - and all would go as by enchantment - I know that is impossible with all you have to do - but have you another Mr Brook[6]? -

The address you know is
Suffolk Street, Pall Mall East,
The Society of British Artists.
The Acting Secretary is -
Mr Le Patourel.[7]

Always devotedly,

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [March 1885]
Probably early March 1885. Dated from reference to JW's 'Ten O'Clock Lecture' and Society of British Artists.

2.  Helen Lenoir
Helen Lenoir (1852-1913), née Coupar Black, actress and stage manager [more].

3.  all that you have done
JW was expressing his gratitude to Lenoir for organising the venue and managing the publicity for the 'Ten O'Clock Lecture,' a manifesto of his aesthetic ideas. The lecture was heard for the first time on 20 February 1885 at the Prince's Hall, Piccadilly. A version of the text of the lecture may be found at #06791.

4.  Sam
Probably Archibald Forbes (1838-1900), journalist and war correspondent [more]. See Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 2, p. 36.

5.  Mr Brook
Brook, employee of D'Oyly Carte.

6.  Mr Le Patourel.
A. F. or A. J. Le Patourel, painter, acting secretary of the SBA [more].

7.  gallery
JW gave the 'Ten O'Clock Lecture' at the gallery of the Society of British Artists in early March 1885.