System Number: 02566
Date: 19 August 1875
Author: Frederick Richards Leyland
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler L102
Document Type: ALS
19 Aug 1875
My dear Jemmy,
Your theory of a tub is all very well; but let me tell you that life in a tub is infinitely preferable to the society of the philistines. - No one likes society better than I do, but then it must be good. The last fortnight has been very pleasant (la respectable [p. 2] Smith notwithstanding) and it is not much to one's credit to be agreable [sic] under such circumstances; but how seldom it is one can have the chance.
On the whole I stick by my old opinion that the safest place for a man is to be content with his own company.
Talk of your moonlight at Battersea bridge - You should have seen it at Speke for the last few nights. It was superb. -
We went down after dinner to the
foot end of the avenue and spent an hour or more there looking at the moonlight on the river : - the tide was up, and the water quite phosphorescent; glittering and sparkling in the moonlight like a fairy scene; quite lovely and mysterious, mais pas bien pour les moeurs.
I don't know when [p. 4] I shall go up to town - probably the end of next week or the week after - ; but I will call on you when I do if you are not at Speke earlier which I hope will be the case.
Fred. R. Leyland
Perhaps a sardonic reference to Eustacia Smith, wife of Thomas Eustace Smith, ship-owner and Liberal M.P. for Tynemouth, who lived at 52 Prince's Gate, close to the Leylands. Eustacia Smith had had a longstanding and open affair with Sir Charles Dilke, M. P. (see Merrill, Linda, The Peacock Room. A Cultural Biography, New Haven and London, 1998, p. 273, n. 142).
4. Miss Caird
Ellen Caird, friend of Mrs F. Leyland, possibly a sister of Sir James Caird.
Speke Hall, home of the Leyland family, near Liverpool, where JW stayed January to March 1875.
8. mais pas bien pour les moeurs
Fr., but not good for morals.
Rossetti had just sold his picture D. G. Rossetti, Astarte Syriaca(z324), to Clarence E. Fry, partner at the photographic firm of Elliot & Fry, for £2,100, the largest price Rossetti was ever paid for a picture. Charles A. Howell acted as agent in the transaction (Doughty, Oswald and John Robert Wahl, Letters of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 4 vols., Oxford, 1965-67, D. G. Rossetti to C. E. Fry, 18 August 1875, Letter 1579).
It., poor, poor thing.