The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 05861
Date: [2 January 1890][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Henry Labouchère[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler T206
Document Type: ALd[3]

Dear Truth -

Among your ruthless exposurées of the shams of today, nothing, I confess, have I enjoyed with keener relish, than your late tilt at that arch impostor, and pest of the Period, the all pervading Plagiarist! I learn by the way that, in America, he may, under the "law of 84," as it is called, be criminally prosecuted, and finally incarcerated, and made to pick oakum, as he has hitherto picked the brains - and pockets -

But hHow was it, that in your list of culprits, you ommitted [sic] the fattest of offenders, our own "[osurient?] Oscar[4]"! -

He isHis misdeeds are brought again freshly to my mind by the indefatigable & tardy Romeike[5], who sends me newspaper cuttings of Mr H. Vivian's[6] "Reminicences" [sic] - in which among other entertaining annecdotes [sic] is told at length, the story of Oscar's simulating the becoming pride of Author and upon a certain evening in the club of the Academy Students, and arrogating to himself the responsability [sic] of the lecture with which, at his earnest prayer, I had, cramm in good fellowship, crammed him, that he might not add deplorable failure, to foolish appearance in his anomalous position of Art expounder before this clear headed audience -

He went forth then on that occasion as my St John - but forgetting that humility should be his first characteristic, he unable to withstand the unaccustomed respect with which heis utterances for the first time were received, he not only trifled with my shoe, but bolted with the latchet! -

Mr Vivian Mr V. in his Reminces tells us further reveals tells my in his book that [was?] That this was new to me, [p. 2] that lately in an Article in the Nineteenth Century, on the Decay of Lying, Oscar has lately Mr Wilde has deliberately, and incautiously incorporated "without a word of comment" a portion of I trust the well remembered public letter published in the, in which after asking what he has Oscar "in common" with Art.?" - - I explain that Oscar, "has the courage of the opinions ... of others." I acknowledge after admitting his rare appreciation & marvelous and amazing memory, I acknowledge that: "Oscar has the courage of the opinions...of others!"

As a proof of

My little recognition of this, his latest proof of flattering preference, sincere open admiration, I send you herewith, thinking that it's publication in Truth may be à propos

I send him, in the following little note which I fancy you may think à propos to publish in your columns as an example of tender, sweet reproof - noble and combined with generosity; [would?] tempered tinged with sadl the tempered wind that should be atthe [work?] of the such lambs -

tempered to the - - to which such customary lambs is of his condition affects -

I send him in the following little note which I fancy you may think à propos to publish as an example to your readers in similar circumstances,, of noble generosity, in sweet reproof , tempered, as it should be, to the lamb of his condition - : :

Gather your rosebuds

God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb!

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1.  [2 January 1890]
Dated from publication in Truth, 2 January 1890, pp. 4-5.

2.  Henry Labouchere
Henry Du Pré Labouchère (1831-1912), journalist and Liberal MP [more].

3.  ALd
Reprinted in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, London, 1890, pp. 236-38; and Holland, Merlin and Rupert Hart-Davis, eds, The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde, London, 2000, pp. 418-19. Wilde's reply was also published in Truth on 9 January 1890, #11420.

4.  Oscar
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), writer, critic and playwright [more].

5.  Romeike
Henry Romeike, founder of the news agency [more].

6.  Mr H. Vivian's
Herbert Vivian (1865-1940), author, editor of The Whirlwind [more].