Dear Mrs Ford -
I certainly thought that I had done exactly what you wished, and absolutely what you wrote to me to do - therein I took your copy of proposal to George Lewis and told him to arrange all matters with you - He on his part said to me, when, on finding you absent, as I last passed through town, I called upon him, that he had seen Mr Ford, and that he had told him that the contract as it was then submitted, was not a serious [p. 2] one - and that Mr Ford had said that you were both going out of town, but that on your return you would lay before him another document for his consideration - and then you would decide together -
He moreover told me that the affair did not at all depend upon my movements, but only upon your own - for he, as the business man, could attend to all details of any thing like an agreement - That you had only to make him something like a definite proposal and he would settle with you for me - after sending me copy for any views of my own - Of course things might be a little easier were I in London to talk with you, though not much, for after all he would have finally to decide - and this he can do now without further discussion, as he knows that I should agree to whatever he thinks right -
In any case I could not wait in town and had to be off to work - For my part the matter [is] his in a nutshell -
If I go to America - and things certainly point that way - you two are the ones I should prefer to deal with to all others - and all business matters of dealing, I should certainly hope that you would manage for me, rather than any one else - This seems to me the true intention likely to bring about the results we wish - indeed we seemed to reach nothing else on the evening we had our talk together - but if beyond this generally, you have a particular plan of greater advantage to us all, [p. 3] let us hear it immediately -
Meanwhile here we are in the midst of France - where I am trying to work - and where it would [be] charming to meet you! - but we only stay a day or two in any one place! - For the moment however my address is Tours - chez Mons. Leymarie. Rue de la Scellerie - from whence my letters will be forwarded to me - on my travels -
Many thanks for your kind congratulations from my self and Mrs Whistler, who sends her kind regards to you both -
J McN Whistler -
Did you see my letter in the Pall Mall?
Mrs Mary Bacon Ford -
29. Berners Street -
Oxford Street -
[stamp:] POSTE / 25 / REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE
[postmark:] TOURS GARE / INDRE [ET LOIRE?] / 6[E?] 14 / SEP / 88
[postmark on verso:] [LOND]ON. W. / [ ] / [SP 1]5 / 8
1. [14 September 1888]
Dated from postmark.
The Fords hoped to become JW's art agent in America. It focussed on a series of etchings to be entitled 'Whistler's American Etchings'. However, as JW soon found out, it gave principal control over his affairs to the Fords and a syndicate of New York investors (see M. B. Ford to JW, #01448, letter dated 27 September 1888). See also JW's correspondence with the Fords during this period (#01449; #01451; #01443; #01449).
6. Mons. Leymarie
Leymarie, unidentified. JW was on a working honeymoon, after his marriage to Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more] on 11 August. The Whistlers remained there until about early November although around mid September he returned to London for a brief spell. They appear to have stayed with Leymarie from c. 12 September and to have used the address until the end of the month. See JW to H. Whistler, #06713.
8. my letter
Perhaps Whistler, James McNeill, [Letter to the Editor], The Pall Mall Gazette: An Evening Newspaper and Review, c. July 1888.