The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 00754
Date: 10 November 1901
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: John James Cowan[1]
Place: [Edinburgh]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler C254
Document Type: ALdS[2]

Do you mean then to tell me, my dear Cowan, that you are not going to stand by the McNeill in any way! - and this after urging that you should not be "left out in the cold"!

Are you really more ready to shelter this shifty foxy furtive dealer[3], than to resent the evil [p. 2] that is being worked upon the friend for whom you have always proposed to have the highest consideration and affectionate regard! -

And now look how the Gods ever delight in completing the wit of a situation! - At this moment they hand me this telegram from Mr Freer[4]! - I enclose it - Amazing!

He buys right out of hand your two pictures! - makes a matter of nearly three "thou" to the good - up to date - doesn't it? - and think of what you still hold!

Come now Cowan, you haven't done so badly with Whistler! - seems to me you might have been a little more ready to stand by him - don't you think? -

And your only risk was that Reid should turn out an honest man!! -

And that indeed was but the first moment's fright - for upon reflection that is what we wish him to be! - There is no question of "Public Prosecutor" - Reid is an honest man! - and only too pleased to tell you all about the two questionable canvases - and [p. 3] you cannot be too particular now[5], my dear Cowan, about what goes into your Gallery of valuable pictures! - and as to the "poor beggar," it is not Reid my dear Cowan! - the only "poor beggar" about, strikes me, is the sweet Ass who is writing this to you!

your friend,

the lonely McNeill!

Nov. 10. 1901.

20. North Audley Street[6]

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1.  John James Cowan
John James Cowan (1846-1936), paper manufacturer and collector [more]. See Cowan's reply, 12 November 1901, #00755.

2.  ALdS
Written on deep-bordered mourning paper.

3.  dealer
Alexander Reid (1854-1936), Glasgow dealer [more]. He was suspected of being involved in selling pictures stolen from JW's studio.

4.  Mr Freer
Charles Lang Freer (1856-1919), industrialist, collector and founder of the Freer Gallery of Art [more]. JW had advised Freer to buy The Thames in Ice (YMSM 36) and Rose and Silver: Portrait of Mrs Whibley (M.1415). (JW to J. J. Cowan, #00751). Freer agreed (see R. Birnie Philip to C. L. Freer, #04819, C. L. Freer to R. Birnie Philip, #01525, and C. L. Freer to JW, #01526).

5.  now
Double underlined.

6.  North Audley Street
JW was staying at Tallant's Hotel.