The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 04797
Date: [8 March 1901][1]
Author: JW
Place: Ajaccio
Recipient: Rosalind Birnie Philip[2]
Place: London
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler P437
Document Type: ALS

Thursday night

I think you will all like the above little greeting to the Saleron[3]! -

I rather fancy myself that it will take the cream off her cup of satisfaction! - and then it is very "dandy" indeed - dont you think Major? - and "inconvenante" invention"! is good! -

Your answer to my wire was very nice - but I meant it as a sort of little consultation, in a way, with you all - and it was your occasion for saying what you thought of bringing an action for libel - £1000 damages? -

To me it would seem a dead certainty - her statement being a lie - and its immediate effect upon the judge, proof in itself, of its damaging character -

I send you Ratiers[4] first letter - the account of the Court - I have not as yet had his opinion about the libel - Doubtless he thought that probably the nude models in the garden might be true! -

I also put in Webbs[5] list of plates - Some of them I dare say are among those brought over by Ronnie[6] - from whom I have had only the first letter he wrote in Paris - The other you speak of has not as yet arrived -

The post was erratic enough, or tiresome enough what with snow and the rest of it - But now with these strikes at Marseilles things are indeed desperate - The boats from there have [p. 3] stopped running and the letters go [cruising?] about in all directions - Bastia Nice - Levourne - Genoa - - - - ! - I dare not think -

However, Major, yours, up to date, I think after all have turned up safely - sometimes in couples - as this evening, when two came - Feb. 2. and Feb. 4th. - in which you tell me of the beautiful table - and of my letter received suggesting visit to 35[7] - which is postponed until reply from P. O. authorities -

Heinemann[8], with a friend, a Mr Circuit[9], has turned up tonight - and, from what he says, I fancy it has been almost warmer in London -

In any case Major I must get out of this! - The things that are crowding in upon me! And here is the very nice letter from Vanderbilt[10] that you sent on some time ago! - All very well - but then he says they are to turn up in Paris on the 1st of April!! And now is the time when I want to attend to the Blue Girl[11] and do the beautiful things that should save the situation

Actually with this health idleness and daily preoccupation I had forgotten this horrible date! How am I to manage about it? -

Now Major say it will all come right! and think out something - You see the deuce of it is also that they define their time as usual, and give me the limit! proposin declaring beforehand their intention of bolting at the end of May! - quite enough to destroy any chance of good work! - Now an idea - I wonder if I couldn't say to Webb (who by the way has written to say that the Mr White[12] loan is fully paid up!) that I want a couple of thousand pounds - and then tell Vanderbilt that my health will not as yet allow me to work under the obligation of money is too demoralizing & he must take back his cheque until I am well enough to finish his picture! What do you think[?]

I might[13] perhaps manage Mrs. Vanderbilt[14], - and that would simplify the position, as nothing is advanced upon that - Well you see the difficulty about the Blue Girl is Paris and the Carrington[15]! - Think it out Major - I might perhaps manage it in London - more quietly - but that would require bringing over blue screen etc: - You have as yet all the draperies & backgrounds in Fitzroy St. haven't you? -

Many things . . to you all -

the General.

This will do for the moment - with nice things to you all - If you like to talk over with Bunnie[16] about the Webb idea you may - but quite between yourselves.

[p. 4] Copper Plates[17].

The Jubilee Review - Her Majestys Fleet
13 Plates

No. 1 - Gun Boat
No. 2. Children Portsmouth -
No. 3. - Dipping the Flag -
No. 4 Turrett Ship
No. 5 - The Monitors -
No. 6 Troop Ship. -
No. 7 - Bunting -
No. 8 Tilbury -
No. 9 - Landing Stage Cowes -
No. 10 Fleet Evening. -
No. 11 - Return to Tilbury -
No. 12 - Dry Docks Southampton,
No. 13. Visitors Boat.


No. 1. Palmers. Gracht -
No. 2 Royen Gracht
No. 3 Interior of Mill -
No. 4 Zandaam -
No. 5. The drawbridge.
No. 6 Long houses
No. 7. The Dancing House.
No. 8. The Dutch Pierrot.
No. 9 - The Balcony.
No. 10 Nocturne. -
No. 11 - Jacoby.
No. 12. Little Zadaam [sic]'

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'March 8. 01.'

Miss Rosalind Birnie-Philip
Dhu House
36. Tite Street -
Chelsea -
[postmark:] AJACCIO A CORTE / 2°¦ 8 / MARS / 01
[postmark on verso:] BASTIA CORSE / [4?] 8 / MARS / 01
[postmark on verso:] LONDON. S. W. / 30 / 5.45.AM / MR11 / 01



1.  [8 March 1901]
Dated from the postmark. The date was also written on the envelope by the recipient.

2.  Rosalind Birnie Philip
Rosalind Birnie Philip (1873-1958), JW's sister-in-law [more]. JW called her 'Major' and himself 'General'.

3.  Recommandée
Triple underlined.

4.  Saleron
Mme Saleron, JW's neighbour at 110 rue du Bac [more]. A letter to Madame Saleron was enclosed (#13542).

5.  Ratiers
Antoine ('Antony') Ratier (b. 1851), lawyer and politician [more]. He had written to JW on 2 March 1901 regarding the failure of JW's suit (#05110).

6.  Webbs
William Webb (b. ca 1851), of G. and W. Webb, lawyer [more].

7.  Ronnie
Ronald Murray Philip (1871-1940), civil engineer, JW's brother-in-law [more]. He escorted JW to Ajaccio and returned via Paris, where he visited JW's studio.

8.  35
Their neighbour at 35 Tite Street. Some of JW's mail had been opened in transit, and he had suspected a neighbour (see #04794).

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

10.  Mr Circuit
Arthur John W. Circuitt (b. ca 1856), bank clerk [more].

11.  Vanderbilt
George Washington Vanderbilt (1862-1914), collector [more].

12.  Blue Girl
See The Blue Girl: Portrait of Miss Elinor Leyland (YMSM 111) and The Blue Girl: Maud Franklin (YMSM 112).

13.  Mr White
A. W. White (b. ca 1843), solicitor's clerk, JW's landlord at 8 Fitzroy Square [more].

14.  I might
'I might ... haven't you? -' was written in the left margin, and 'Many things ... yourselves' in the right margin.

15.  Mrs. Vanderbilt
Edith Stuyvesant Vanderbilt (1873-1958), née Dresser, wife of G. W. Vanderbilt [more].

16.  Carrington
Eva Carrington, JW's model between 1898 and 1902 [more].

17.  Bunnie
Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), née Philip, JW's sister-in-law [more].

18.  Copper Plates
The list was written by W. Webb or his clerk. It lists, first, the 'Naval Review set', 1887 (K. 316-331) (excat 7), and then the 'Holland set', 1889 (K.402-416) (excat 10).