[Middlesborough coat of arms, encircled by belt:] CLEVELAND CLUB. MIDDLESBROUGH.
15. March / 82
Dear Mr Whistler.
I have deferred my reply to your enquiry in reference thereto, in the hope, that by doing so, I should have an opportunity first of conferring with Frank Mewburn on the subject - In consequence of my not having been much in D'ton [Darlington] of late, I have not found a fitting opportunity but hope soon to do so when I shall [p. 2] show him your letter & enclosure & ask him to address you direct on the subject. Meantime I may on my own behalf
mean say, that I dont believe that the letter addressed by Howell to my brother as to "Hughenden" & "Beaconsfield" was ever intended for me, but was designed - with Howell's accustomed ingenuity - to convey to my brother's mind the impression that he (Howell) was intimate with the Lord of & a frequent visitor to "Hughenden" - Why, he has over & over again told me of his friendship with that deeply lamented Statesman - the last memorable occasion being when we called together in Curzon Street, during his Lordships last illness, "to enquire"!
[p. 3] I have known Frank Mewburn intimately all my life & can without reluctance or hesitation assure you that never during that period, has he been dubbed "Beaconsfield" nor any place he frequents, that I know of, entitled "Hughenden" - This distinct & unqualified denial of the ingenious "get out" will, I am sure, in due course, be most completely affirmed by "Frank" himself
J. E. MacNay
J. McNeill Whistler Eq
13 Tite St: Chelsea.
3. Charlie Howell
Charles Augustus ('Owl') Howell (1840? - d.1890), entrepreneur [more]. This reference to Howell relates to an incident recorded by JW in Whistler, James McNeill, Correspondence. Paddon Papers. The Owl and the Cabinet, London, . It concerned Howell's rather ill-judged boast that he knew Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1882), Prime Minister of Great Britain [more].