UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 05470
Date: [25 June 1890][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: George Washburn Smalley[2]
Place: [New York]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler S115
Document Type: ALd


Not to be misunderstood, my dear Smalley, is possibly one's a safety in life - not to be recognised must be ones a sadness - I don't know! - but to be readily mistaken for another is a humiliation - qui fait douter de tout[3]! -

O! grief and disillusion! -

What preoccupation with political matters of minor importance can have given the impostor[4] the rare occasion of palming off as his own, upon you - fin connaisseur - a Whistler[5] of the Purist [sic] water! -

Shall an obscure drummer whose very pack betrays in it's indecent disordered haste the hysterical gathering of the stolen goods, bind together the work you know again as mine, with my own dainty choice ribbon and because you had not seen it in my fingers because you persuade you that that he wove it himself?

Ought you not to have divined that the "Gentle Art of Making Enemies" went with the stolen letters and golden words that to make the    and that he who had bethought himself of the one, might well have written the others without risk of Police - or indeed have done much better? -

Ought you not to have divined that the culprit who could carry off the Collection would surely not leave the title behind? -

And fixing your attention I ask you - you who know - if the man who bethought himself daintily of this "Gentle Art" of making Enemies" might not himself without risk of Police have himself written all the letters, papers and golden words of joyous [deleted word, illegible] wisdom that go to swell the book make it - or indeed have done much better - a question which doubtless will be asked myself before many days are over -

My dear friend - c'est tout simple[6] - this hurried criminal then thrust my title together with the book writings into his bag, my The title too - or rather as much of it as he could remember! - The rest remainder for the rest of it you will see next week in a little volume for whose get up appearance I hope you will feel as much sympathy as for the indecent pastiche in Sage green upon what in my place, had been picked up by this unscrupulous rat d'Atelier[7] -

Forgive my telling the bluntness you abruptly whatalone that your preoccupation with political matter of minor importance, has given the impostor the rare chance of palming off as his own a Whistler of the purist [sic] water -


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Notes:

1.  [25 June 1890]
This is one of several drafts of #04315, #09331; see also other drafts at #05467, #05468, #05469, #05471.

2.  George Washburn Smalley
George Washburn Smalley (1833-1916), journalist and Times correspondent [more].

3.  qui fait douter de tout
Fr., which makes one doubt everything.

4.  impostor
Sheridan Ford (1860-1922), poet, critic, politician and writer on art [more].

5.  a Whistler
Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, ed. Sheridan Ford, Paris, 1890.

6.  c'est tout simple
Fr., it is all simple.

7.  rat d'Atelier
Fr., studio rat.