The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Coert, J.
Record 4 of 6

System Number: 07475
Date: [August 1902][1]
Author: JW
Place: The Hague
Recipient: [Dr J. Coert?][2]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler X49
Document Type: ALd[3]


My dear Sir,

I have had a very bad night - as far as sleep goes - not otherwise -

But in the midst of my wakefulness, the omitting of vital importance has come upon me with terrible clearness -

It is quite impossible that these ladies should any longer have the vast fatigue & strain of nursing me - - I must have a trained & professional woman, as you long ago yourself proposed -

My sisters[4], in their great kindness, & wonderful power of endurance & self sacrifice, which of course surpasses all that man can pretend to, have hitherto managed to hide much of the disastrous effect that this continued strain upon their power & their health was producing - & the two ladies have [p. 2] I fear more need of your care than I! -

Miss Birnie-Philip was, as you know, already an invalid - You have seen her, but the rest you wish for her, she, in her devoted interest in myself, never takes - & scarcely leaves the sick room all day -

All remonstrance is met with a smiling face, & while she will have hidden the fact from you, I am convinced she suffers continually -

Mrs Whibley you have not seen for weeks - & you would be shocked to perceive the change in her of which I had not noticed the approach -

Her elasticity of spirit, her bright disposition & happy temper, have helped to shut my eyes to what was going on -

& now I fear she is completely ill - her nerves entirely distroyed [sic] - And all power of sleep gone from her! -

- She must not stay up one night more - And therefore I have written this long statement - that someone may be obtained [for?] tonight . . . -

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1.  [August 1902]
Dated from the address and the references to illness (see below).

2.  [Dr J. Coert?]
Probably Dr J. Coert, physician [more]. JW was recovering in The Hague from a serious bout of illness and did not return London until early September (JW to H. Whistler, #06750).

3.  ALd
This pencil draft was written on a blank telegraph form and may never have been sent.

4.  sisters
Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), née Philip, JW's sister-in-law [more]; and Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more].