The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
Home > On-line Edition > Transcription/Database Record

the on-line edition

System Number: 05661
Date: 8 January [1879][1]
Author: JW
Place: London
Recipient: Thomas Taylor[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler T61
Document Type: ALdS

[roundel with head of Leonardo]


Dead for a ducat[3]! dead! my dear Tom - and the rattle has reached me by post -

"Sans rancune[4]" say you! Bah! you scream unkind threats and die badly

Why squable [sic] over your article - you did print what I quote you know Tom - and it is surely unimportant what more you may have written of the Master - that you should have written any thing at all is your crime -

No! shrive your naughty soul - and give up Velasquez[5] - and pass your last days properly in [p. 2] the Home Office - Set your house in order with the Government for arrears of time and paper - and leave vengeance to the Lord[6] - who will forgive my "garbling" Tom Taylor's writing -

[butterfly signature with barbed tail]

The White House -

Jan 8 -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  8 January [1879]
The address and date 'The White House, Jan. 8, 1879' were added when the letter was published in Whistler, James McNeill, [Correspondence Between Tom Taylor, Art Critic of the Times and Whistler], The World: A Journal for Men and Women, 15 January 1879, and republished in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, London and New York, 1890, p. 37, 'The Position', in each case with minor correction of punctuation. It is one of a series of letters exchanged between JW and Taylor; see Taylor's letters of 6 and 9 January, and JW's of 8 and 10 January 1879 (#05660, #05663, #05664).

2.  Thomas Taylor
Thomas ('Tom') Taylor (1817-1880), civil servant, dramatist, art critic, and editor of Punch from 1874-1880 [more].

3.  dead for a ducat
Quotation from Shakespeare's Hamlet, III. iv. 23, 'How now! a rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead!'

4.  sans rancune
Fr., no ill feelings.

5.  Velasquez
Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599-1660), painter [more]. The letter was published in the corrected version, but with normalised punctuation.

6.  leave vengeance to the Lord
JW used the vocabulary of Romans 12.19 - 'Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord'; or Hebrews 10.30 - 'For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.'