The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Wyndham, Percy
Record 17 of 17

System Number: 08800
Date: [14/21 May 1899][1]
Author: JW
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: William Heinemann[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC
Document Type: ALS[3]

'May '99 (?)'

My dear Publisher that ought to woo! -

What am I to do now -

Did you not get the letter that contained a note also from Miss Philip[4] enclosing a form from the Ivanhoe Co.?

What I want you to tell me is [p. 2] this - Have you Where are the men you told me you had ready for action? - Where are Pawlings[5]? - Surely if they are ever to do any thing it ought to be now - if not already too late - At present the whole press would seem to be bought up by Eden[6] & Moore[7] -

What do you say to the Academy? - What of Wyndham's[8] Outlook? what in short of the lot of them? -

Have your men then turned tail and deserted us - or gone over to the enemy?

Meanwhile as Duret[9] was saying last night, all this has doubtless been very soothing to the Baronet - who must have given up all notion of proceeding against the book[10] he has tacitly allowed to be spread all over the country - He has lost the weight of the all damage done him by this time! -

You see you tell me nothing - perhaps there may be nothing to tell! But what steps have you taken about the Clubs? Did you get the book asked for by Committees as you meant to do - or even sent in -

Is any thing being done, or being prepared?

Now you got my wire this morning - The article is signed [p. 3] James Davis[11] - Of course the old scamp Jimmy Davis, of The Hawk - and Bat! Wasn't he in prison? - You know or can know all about him - I have wired also Webb[12] - Of course the article is most gross and we can insist upon abject apology - or heavy damages - I suppose the Phoenix is a new Hawk[13] - George Lewis[14] knows all[15] about Davis - You might ask him on your own account - of course I must stick to Webb -

Now do write me a nice letter full of everything -

Kindest things to you both

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  14/21 May 1899
This must date from shortly after the publication of Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24], on 13 May 1899, and forms part of a sequence of undated letters (see #09889, #04744, #08521, #10812, #08518). 'May '99 (?)' is written in the lower left corner of p. 1 in another hand.

2.  William Heinemann
William Heinemann (1863-1920), publisher [more].

3.  ALS
Deep mourning border.

4.  Miss Philip
Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more].

5.  Pawlings
Sidney Southgate Pawling (d. 1922), business partner of the publisher W. H. Heinemann [more].

6.  Eden
Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more].

7.  Moore
George Moore (1852-1933), novelist and art critic [more].

8.  Wyndham's
Percy Wyndham (1835-1911), collector [more]. JW was seeking publicity from specialised journals such as the Outlook, which might provide favourable reviews.

9.  Duret
Théodore Duret (1838-1927), art critic and collector [more].

10.  book
Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24].

11.  James Davis
James Davis (1853-1907), dramatic author and journalist ('Owen Hall'), editor and proprietor of The Bat [more].

12.  Webb
G. and W. Webb, JW's lawyers.

13.  Phoenix is a new Hawk
James Davis wrote in the Phoenix, 19 April 1899. The Hawk was a scandal-mongering paper: on 22 January 1889, the Hawk had published malicious scandal relating to E. W. Godwin, JW, and their partners. It said JW had no further interest in a fair young lady often seen in his paintings. This was a reference to JW leaving Maud Franklin, before his marriage to the widowed Beatrix Godwin (see Getscher, Robert H., and Paul G. Marks, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Two Annotated Bibliographies, New York and London, 1986, pp. 44-46, B. 55).

14.  George Lewis
Sir George Henry Lewis (1833-1911), society lawyer [more].

15.  all
Double underlined.