The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Howard, Francis
Record 3 of 87

System Number: 01663
Date: 21 January 1898
Author: Alfred Gilbert[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler G29
Document Type: ALS

Jany. 21. 98

[embossed:] 16, MAIDA VALE. W.

My dear Whistler.

I have been seedy and harassed of late, and could not answer your letter before; forgive me as I know you can [p. 2] forgive those who ask you. "Of the night," (or as you justly put it, "of the day" in London) there is nothing to say, except volumes of execution, and I have no time for such exercise of the vernacular.

As to this "land of [Qu[a]rrels?], stiff neck, and fog" I have but little stomach left for it, and would gladly quit it for ever, if I could. I am [p. 3] somewhat of a fighter like yourself. I only marvel that you have not killed someone, as I do, that I refrain from killing many. But my dear friend, "pax vobiscum[2]" don't fight anymore [p. 4][3] The game is not worth its two penny halfpenny rush light. Let others have a turn, and in their anguish let them turn round and snap at their own - posterior part

[p. 5] You are right, "il faut se reposer"[4], and you my dear fellow have earned your rest. Those who are left to fight are not worth even a look, much less your energy. I long to be with you in body, as I am always in spirit, but times and the Gods are unpropitious. I say nothing of the Banker round the Corner. Stay where you are, and do your beautiful work, and [p. 6] and let fools go to their best friend - the Devil. -

Howard[5] called upon me some time ago, and promised that he would give me timely warning - not by wire at the 11th hour - of the next meeting - and [p. 7][6] an I in my turn promised to attend his summons. He seems to be working right well and loyally. Now for Teddie[7]. I am very fond of him, he is a boy with a [p. 8] personality, and excellently good withal. He is painstaking, and evidently carving out his own way. He comes when it suits him - he was even here to my Daughter's dance lately - he is always welcome, and I never dogmatize as to his work; that is of himself, and it would be criminal to interfere. He will be right enough

[p. 9] I hope you are well. All here join in best wishes to you, and I am as I ever shall be


Alfred Gilbert

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1.  Alfred Gilbert
Alfred Gilbert (1854-1934), sculptor [more].

2.  Pax vobiscum
Lat., peace be unto you.

3.  [p. 4]
Gilbert has numbered this sheet 'ii', although it is actually the fourth side of the letter.

4.  'il faut se reposer'
Fr., one must rest.

5.  Howard
Francis Howard (1874-1954), painter, art critic and collector [more]. Howard was Secretary of the recently formed International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers. Gilbert chaired the first meetings of the ISSPG but resigned in about March 1898 (See F. Howard to JW, #02297, and Pennell, Elizabeth Robins, and Joseph Pennell, The Life of James McNeill Whistler, 2 vols, London and Philadelphia, 1908, vol. 2, p. 217).

6.  Teddie
Edward Godwin (b. 1876), son of Beatrix and E. W. Godwin; JW's step-son [more]. He trained as a sculptor, with advice from Gilbert.

7.  [p. 7]
Numbered 'iii' but actually the seventh side of the letter.