The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 02088
Date: [18 November 1898][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: William Heinemann[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler H189
Document Type: ALdS

My dear Publisher! -

How am I to harden my heart, and approach you with a proposal of, let us say momentary, divorce? -

Certainly neither of us would have supposed it possible that further developments of "The Gentle Art[3]" could have brought complications suggesting even our separation! -

But what is to be done? -

This American impatience, and the smart method of announcement that distributes pages of an unfinished book to the newspapers - ["]of which there is no end"' - has destroyed for the time, the pleasure I looked forward to in presenting, with you, the pretty story of "The Baronet and the Butterfly"[4] to my London people -

I really must change the venue - What do you think? -

Your first feeling in this matter was so entirely with me, that I will at once abuse your sympathy, and frankly ask you to transfer your camaraderie, and the glory of Aide-de-Camp, to a Frenchman - whom I shall choose!

This is no mere easy ingratitude, on my part, as a friend! Of far greater magnitude is the villainy - I will not stop to dilate on it - Suffice it to say that Napoleon and I do these things! - And France shall have the Baronet first! - indeed the refusal should be hers, - who has already presided at his "toilette"!

As to New York, I must leave that entirely to yourself - you tell me that they "meant well" - and naturally steeped themselves in crime! -

J McNeill Whistler

Courage mon ami. - à un de ces jours[5]! - -

[butterfly signature]

Paris -

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1.  [18 November 1898]
This is a draft of a letter so dated, JW to W. Heinemann, [18 November 1898], #09159; see also a copy, #02257; GM B.94.

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

3.  The Gentle Art
Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892.

4.  The Baronet and the Butterfly
Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24] was published on 13 May.

5.  jours
Fr., Courage, my friend - we shall meet again! (lit. 'until one of these days!)