The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 03770
Date: 22 June 1888
Author: Marion Henry Spielmann[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler M104
Document Type: ALS[2]

[embossed stag motif]


22 June 88.

My dear Whistler,

Had I known that my outspokenness[3] would have so vexed you I shwould have been more restrained. But as you are generally in the habit of criticizing others freely I did not think you would mind being told the truth.

I'm afraid your intended "point" as to my being a "professional journalist" doesn't "hook on" - as your countrymen say. I presume (p. 2) a magazine editor must be that, whether you (or I) like it or not.

Be not downcast: the Wyke Bayliss[4] interview is full of possibilities.

You say now my virtues are "small". Before I refused to obey your behests, conveyed by your too-zealous assistant[5], you told me they were "great". Tout cela s'explique[6].

You do me too much honour. Both the brown-paper-covered "work" & the Agenda-paper & report of the Society (of which you sent down to deny the accuracy! Eh? Ha, Ha!) were neither sought-for (p. 3) nor "quaintly acquired." They were simply both sent in!

And so you consider it a lack of dignity of the Press to notice the lecture & the Society. Who would have thought that the great Whistler himself would have betrayed himself into "a confession?"

Fare you well

M. H. Spielmann[7]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  Marion Henry Spielmann
Marion Henry Alexander Spielmann (1858-1948), journalist and writer on art [more].

2.  ALS
There is draft of this letter at #10943, and a copy by Charles Hanson at #03468.

3.  outspokenness
See Spielmann's letter of two days earlier, #03768, and JW's reply, #03769.

4.  Wyke Bayliss
Wyke Bayliss (1835-1906), painter and architect [more], successor to JW as President of the Royal Society of British Artists. JW's version of the press reports about his resignation and quarrel with the Society was reproduced in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892, pp. 211-12).

5.  too-zealous assistant
Charles James Whistler Hanson (1870-1935), engineer, son of JW and Louisa Fanny Hanson [more].

6.  Tout cela s'explique
Fr., all that is explained.

7.  M. H. Spielmann
Spielmann has written his signature with a tail and a sting.