UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 06380
Date: [25 and] 26 December [1848][1]
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[2]
Place: St Petersburg
Recipient: JW
Place: [London[3]]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W376
Document Type: ALS


Karitzky[4] has been here lately to recommend a draughtsman to father, he will try to write you in the holidays, but now he is so busy copying at the Hermitage[5] - father gave him the paints with your love & no doubt he will make his own acknowledgments to "Yacklegorevitch[6]". I shall expect a sketch of Sisters baby[7] sleeping, at the top of your next letter dear Uncle Jemie[8], you who delighted in the little Innocents of our home circle will I know love most tenderly this precious one of dear Sisters, kiss its velvet cheek for Mother, & tell Mary[9] I can easily imagine it the most beautiful baby she has ever seen, for if some of our boys have been thought so, what must one of the softer sex be, & I can fancy it like Willie[10] was, for his mouth was a dimple & his hands like a fairys. Upon my saying to him on saturday evening "now Mary will be happy with a darling baby to nurse!" he replied "Oh Sis will be so careful of it she will be afraid to let anyone handle it but herself". I wish to know Jemie has my little darling dark curly hair? or is it in golden ringlets[?] my babies always have beautiful silken ringlets & this is one of mine, only a step removed. I should think it ought to be called Mary, Swift[11], or Whistler. Every thing connected with this precious pet lamb is so interesting to me I must be excused if I avail of a Grandmothers claims & ask to hear all about it. kiss dear Sis for me & tell her all her friends rejoice with us, I had such a kind note from Mrs Gwyer[12] & Miss Grant[13] I am tempted to enclose it. Ask Seymour[14] & let me know if my letters ever are charged double at the London P. O. here we are allowed for single postage half an ounce. In England you pay for quarter ounces 1/3[15] for 1/2 oz you pay 1/11. but here if the weight exceeds the 1/2 oz we only [pay] according to just weight, that is for an extra 1/4 or 1/3 as may happen. letters coming from Sloane St to us are always under weight. If any could be sent unpaid, I'd gladly pay the full postage here.

[p. 2] Tell Mary when she writes her Mother, to enclose my hearty good wishes for a happy New Year. Jemie dear you must take my love to Mr & Mrs Charles[16], & to Mrs Smith[17] and remember us also in calling upon Doctor Bootts[18] family & upon fathers friend Mr Gibson[19].

Tuesday 26th.

Good morning my dear Jemie, Willie has not come from Alexandroffsky[20] to enclose you a billet doux. father has gone to the Commission[21]. Write us soon & ask Mr Fairbanks[22] to send your letter immediately. it always cheers us so much to read your thoughts for they appear even on paper, just from your heart. God bless you & keep you in His paths, tho the broad-way is tempting in "Babylon the Gt[23]" Tell dear Sister with a kiss from Mother I will write her next, it is exercising self denial not to do so. When you write to your dear Aunts[24] send them Mothers love. My heart embraces you all.

Master James Whistler


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Notes:

1.  [25 and] 26 December [1848]
Dated with reference to Annie Haden's birth (see below), and the content of AMW's letter to JW, 13 December 1848, #06379.

2.  Anna Matilda Whistler
Anna Matilda Whistler (1804-1881), née McNeill, JW's mother [more].

3.  London
JW is evidently in London.

4.  Karitzky
Aleksander Osipovich Koritzkii, Professor at St Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts and court painter [more].

5.  Hermitage
See AMW to JW, 1 and 2 November 1848, #06370.

6.  Yacklegorevitch
Jacob-George-vitch: 'James the son of George.'

7.  sketch of Sisters baby
JW did a sketch of Annie Harriet Haden (1848-1937), later Mrs Charles Thynne, JW's niece [more], called 'Ma Nièce' (M.21); also see The Artist's Niece (YMSM 1).

8.  Uncle Jemie
James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), artist [more].

9.   Mary
Mary Brennan (b. 1825), AMW's servant [more].

10.  Willie
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more].

11.  Mary, Swift
Mary Roberdeau Whistler (1804-1827), née Swift, first wife of JW's father [more]. AMW had been friends with Mary Swift prior to her marriage to George W. Whistler; see Mumford, Elizabeth, Whistler's Mother: the Life of Anna McNeill Whistler, Boston, (Mass.), 1939, p. 22.

12.  Mrs Gwyer
Mary Gwyer, née Grant, of St Petersburg.

13.  Miss Grant
Miss Grant, daughter of Mrs Grant of St Petersburg.

14.  Seymour
Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910), surgeon and etcher, JW's brother-in-law [more].

15.  1/3
'1/3 ... weight' continues in the right margin of p. 1; 'that ... St' in the upper margin of p. 1; and 'to ... here' in the left margin of p. 1.

16.  Mr & Mrs Charles
Charles Sydenham Haden, merchant, brother of JW's brother-in-law F. S. Haden, and his wife Mary Love Haden, née Boott.

17.  Mrs Smith
Mary Smith, wife of Tom Smith, engineer.

18.  Doctor Bootts
Dr Francis Boot (1792-1863), physician [more].

19.  Mr Gibson
Gibson, unidentified.

20.  Alexandroffsky
AMW to JW, 15, 16 and 18 September 1848, #06363.

21.  Commission
See AMW to JW, 1 and 2 November 1848, #06370.

22.  Mr Fairbanks
Fairbanks, a merchant.

23.  Babylon the Gt
'Thus saith the Lord of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary.' Jer. 51.58.

24.  your dear Aunts
Probably Eliza Isabella Winstanley (1788-1857), née McNeill, JW's aunt, AMW's half-sister [more].