The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Documents associated with: Bowles, Jessica
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System Number: 00399
Date: 22 February 1885
Author: Thomas Gibson Bowles[1]
Place: Bournemouth
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler B176
Document Type: ALS

Boscombe Tower

22 Feb 85

My dear Jimmy

I am right sorry not to have been at the 10 o'clock[2] - but my wife[3] took on ill & I had to come down here to her on Thursday. Otherwise I should certainly not have missed you - for I was sure you would be splendid & yourself.

There is the proverb "On ne dit[4] pas la Messe deux fois" - But you know they are always saying Mass, and so I hope you mean to give the same discourse again & again - or another if you like, provided it is the same. To see [p. 2] you dispense forked lightning from the top of the Pyramids will be a great improvement to me. The Word is as [worthy?] a method of assertion as the Brush & you are a master of the Word - keep your hand therefore on this plough if you will take the advice of a wordist.

I have to be up in town on Wednesday & shall try to see you -

The Wife, I am grieved to say, is not at all well & our plans are therefore unsettled, but we may be all coming back to town soon.

Have you seen "the Lady[5]"? It [p. 3] is a new excursion of mine & seems to be a great success. I had been minded to ask your help, but we are so poor & obliged therefore to be so stingy that I did not see any way to ask you.

The Wife sends her best remembrances & congratulations on the Tentative O'clock.

Ever yours

Thos Gibson Bowles

By the way they did not understand I believe at V/F office[6] that the two tickets sent were tickets of Admission, but took them for announcements[7] only.

[p. 4][8] 'Ten O'clock'
'Tommy Bowles'

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1.  Thomas Gibson Bowles
Thomas Gibson Bowles (1842-1922), publisher of Vanity Fair [more].

2.  10 o'clock
A reference to JW's 'Ten O'Clock Lecture,' his major public statement of his aesthetic ideas. He delivered the lecture for the first time on Friday 20 February 1885 at the Prince's Hall, Piccadilly. A version of the text of the lecture may be found at #06791.

3.  wife
Jessica Bowles (ca 1852 - d.1887), née Gordon [more].

4.  On ne dit ... fois
Fr., One does not say Mass twice.

5.  the Lady
The first issue of the weekly The Lady, A Journal for Gentlewoman, appeared on 19 February 1885. The magazine included articles on home decoration, dress and social news, and was illustrated by engravings and photographs. Bowles was editor from 1885-93. He may have had it in mind to feature JW's ideas on decoration or to reproduce one of his works.

6.  V/F office
Bowles was also proprietor of the society paper, Vanity Fair. Its offices were located at 182, Strand, W. C.

7.  announcements
The initial announcement for the 'Ten O'Clock' had the appearance of an invitation but in actuality invited potential members of the audience to purchase tickets 'at all the libraries.' See, for example, #00775.

8.  [p. 4]
The text on this page is written by JW, in pencil.