The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Cowan, Sophy
Record 17 of 22

System Number: 00724
Date: [29 March 1898][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: John James Cowan[2]
Place: Paris
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection
Document Type: AWS[3]

[telegraph form:]

110 Rue de Bac[4] -

Tuesday morning.

Alas! my dear Cowan, there is no dining out for me just now! - The "Grippe[5]" has beaten me at last! -

I, whom you have always known as "untiring" - and terrible I must have been! - have thrown up my hands - and, some three weeks ago, surrendered unconditionally to this relentless & most demoralizing devil! - After several preliminary rounds, and a pretty good show on my part all the same! -

The misery and black horror of London, and the lonely respectability of the British family hotel[6], destroyed me - and when finally I fled, I might have been brought over in an Ambulance - and was put into my bed at once -

I rallied in time for the Trial[7] and victory! - but you see I am down again. If I crawl out one day I creep into bed the next -

I shall be so glad to see you! - Will you come in some time this afternoon? -

With kindest regards to Mrs Cowan[8].
Always sincerely

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.



Monsieur J. J. Cowan -
Hotel Chatham -
Rue Daunou
[postmarks x 2:] PARIS 80 R. DU BAC / T / 29 MARS 98


1.  29 March 1898
Dated from the postmark.

2.  John James Cowan
John James Cowan (1846-1936), paper manufacturer and collector [more]. See also a related letter, #00725.

3.  AWS
Written on a French 'bleu' telegraph form.

4.  110 Rue du Bac
The address and date are written in the left-hand margin at right-angles to the main text.

5.  grippe
Fr., influenza; JW was ill for months.

6.  hotel
JW had been staying in Garlant's Hotel in London.

7.  Trial
JW's dispute with Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more], over Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408). On 14 February 1894, with the picture seemingly nearing completion, Eden sent JW a cheque for 100 guineas. JW was dissatisfied with the portrait and refused to hand it over. In November 1894 Eden commenced legal proceedings in order to retrieve the portrait and the affair dragged on for several years. JW was eventually permitted by the Cour de Cassation in Paris to keep the picture provided that he did not make use of it. In 1899, he published his account of the affair: Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24].

8.  Mrs Cowan
Sophy Cowan (b. ca 1850), née Gillespie, wife of J. J. Cowan [more].