The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 06483
Date: 27 April 1857
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[1]
Place: Baltimore
Recipient: JW
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W478
Document Type: AL

Alexandroffsky Villa[2]

April 27. 57.

As I wrote you last month day[3] my dear Jemie[4] at Mrs Harrisons[5] & now as the guest of Mrs Winans[6] you may fancy me according to your wish no doubt amusing myself but this is only a mothers brief interval from domestic exertions & then visits sort & promote health.

At the end of six days Mr Harrison[7] sent his nephew to escort to me back to N Y, as I was engaged to meet Willie[8] at Hartford that we might visit Mrs Barnes[9] together. I had written Mr Gamble[10] I should stay at Mrs Jaffrays[11] from friday till monday last of March. he surprised me by meeting me at Jersey City in a Carriage to take me to 14th[12]. Was it not like our grateful friend Gamble he is in business like his Sisters husband in N Y & their home is now Staten Island where I have been invited repeatedly to make a visit to his honored Mother[13]. he wished to ask about your health & studies & Willies [p. 2] & to secure a chat, escorted me to Cousin Abbys, where I was most kindly treated; her equipage enabling me to call on several friends, who observing the improvement Sharon had made, several hope to go there with me in July. I met providentially (for I had not time to go to Brooklyn,[)] Genl Swift[14] in an Astor House Car[15] on his way to meet Capt Swift[16] at Mary Ironsides[17] in 5th Av. so I went with him to her exquisite mansion & spent half an hour before their dinner time in their family gathering, for Charlie S[18] was there too. they all asked about you, but I have to confess I hear more frequently of you thru Sis[19] than from you. Capt Swift invited Willie & I to visit him this month, but my visit to Springfield is yet in prospect. Do not attribute to Scarsdale hinderances [sic] & trials I found awaiting my return. letters caused me to decide that Willie had best spend his Easter recess at the Cottage. [p. 3] he is not an ugly looking lad! tho he impoverishes his frame by the indulgence so baneful to his strength, tobacco! so I have to cater fresh eggs & creamy milk & late breakfast to reconcile him to my embargo on its fumes. he always feels his tattered & torn condition until my skill in repairs renovates his garments, so even after aunt Julia[20] came the week after his arrival at the Cottage, to relieve me of cooking, I was as busy as a bee until I came away from Scarsdale last thursday. but dear Willie took away his trunks in nice order on tuesday by the 7 oclock train. And Jacks[21] most unexpectedly presented his phiz[22] at our piazza door at noon that day! you may imagine if he could have overtaken Will, he would have gone after him to Hartford, & poor Willie would not have started if we had expected Jacks! but it is probable as Tho Winans[23] sent him as my escort hither he may send him back with me the end of this week to NY & then Jacks can wait a few days for my getting ready to go to Springfield & Willie can way lay him at the Hartford depot.

Mary B[24] is anxiously wishing to see me at Mrs Barnes [p. 4] where I hope she may secure a home till I can see my way clearer. Your friends here each ask after you as if really interested in your welfare & success. I will not scold you for not writing your patron[25], because I do not suppose he writes you, & he has an Artist now as his guest at the Villa, who quite fills up his time. Mr Ames[26] has been here long enough to take a striking portrait of "the old gentleman"[27] full size, and is now progressing on one of Tho W & Mrs Winans. also a fancy painting for Mr W. The grounds are so extended & cleared of stables, poultry &c as to afford a Studio, quite a stroll from the villa. Tho Winans is also pursuing with ardor his own branch of the fine arts statuary. he looks remarkably well & so does she, which she attributes to their drive to their Country Seat. by the magic of wealth it will be quite furnished & completed to receive them by June, she expresses the wish I could spend the summer with her at "The Crimea[28]" & I know she is sincere, but these few days are all I can spend in Balt, I have not seen Aunt Kate[29] since Sept. from Springfield I hope to go to the Corner house & have a pleasant time, ere Aunt Kate must devote herself to Cousin Ginnie[30], who [p. 5] is to board with Aunt Kate from early in June. she always has said she delighted in this Aunt, & I must not be an alloy, so I'll make my visit early! Donald[31] has gone to Aspinwall in the Warbash, he wrote me affectionately, but could not get to Scarsdale. Jacks is a most exemplary fellow, he is in the shop again his own desire, to complete the practical knowledge of machinery. he feels quite domesticated at Mrs Ducatels[32]. I went there to see little Georgie[33] the morning after my arrival here, two years of blight have crippled & deformed the once so beautiful first borne [sic] of George[34]. he remembered his Gdma W affectionately. I had written Mrs Perine I was coming so Glenn[35] came here for me on Saturday eve & I spent yesterday at Homeland. he has more forebearance toward your neglect to answering his long letter than I think he should be exercised, he was sorry it may not have reached you as it was directed simply to Kings, write him at once Jemie, I cannot be reconciled to your neglect of your fathers[36] friends. tho you do not respond to your Mothers letters, it will solace her to hear you write where she is ever welcomed! And now I must go to Mrs Winans.

Adieu till later.

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

2.  Alexandroffsky Villa
The Baltimore villa of Thomas De Kay Winans (1820-1878), locomotive engineer and collector [more]; see AMW to JW, 15, 16 and 18 September 1848, #06363.

3.  last month day
30 March 1857; see AMW to James H. Gamble, 24 March 1857, #06481.

4.  Jemie

5.  [Mrs] Harrisons
Sarah Harrison (1817-1906), née Poulterer, wife of Joseph Harrison [more]; she lived at Philadelphia.

6.  Mrs Winans
Celeste Winans (1823-1861), née Revillon, wife of Thomas De Kay Winans [more]; she lived in Baltimore.

7.  Mr Harrison
Joseph Harrison (1810-1874), jr, partner in Eastwick and Harrison, locomotive manufacturers, and later in Harrison, Winans and Eastwick [more].

8.  Willie
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more]; he was studying at Trinity College, Hartford, CT; see AMW to JW, 13 February 1855, #06452, and 18 July 1855, #06461.

9.  Mrs Barnes
Charlotte A. Barnes (b. 1811), née Sanford, wife of James Barnes [more].

10.  Mr Gamble
James H. Gamble (b. 1820), clerk [more].

11.  Mrs Jaffrays
Abbie Snelling Jaffray (1817-1871), née Hamilton, wife of R. W. Jaffray [more].

12.  14th
202 West 14th Street, New York, was the Jaffray home address; see Rode's New York City Directory, for 1852-3, New York, p. 267.

13.  Mother
Jane Gamble (1790-1864), mother of J. H. Gamble [more].

14.  Genl Swift
General Joseph Gardner Swift (1783-1865), chief engineer of the US Army, brother-in-law of JW's father [more].

15.  Astor House Car
A horse-drawn street-car that went down Broadway past the hotel known as the Astor House. The hotel was erected in the early 1830s by John Jacob Astor (1763-1848), merchant and property developer (he chartered the American Fur Company in 1808); see AMW to JW, 23 August 1849, #06393.

16.  Capt Swift
Captain William Henry Swift (1800-1879), brother-in-law of JW's father [more].

17.  Mary Ironsides
Mary Ironsides (1826-1884), née Swift, JW's cousin [more].

18.  Charlie S
Charles Swift (b. 1828), son of William Henry Swift.

19.  Sis
Deborah ('Debo' or 'Sis') Delano Haden (1825-1908), née Whistler, JW's half-sister [more].

20.  aunt Julia
Julia Catherine Rodewald (1825-1897), née McNeill, JW's cousin, wife of A. Rodewald, Sr [more].

21.  Jacks
Patrick T. Jackson ('Jacks') McNeill (1835-1898), accountant, JW's cousin [more]. He was working in the Winans Locomotive Works, owned by Ross Winans (1796-1877), locomotive manufacturer, father of JW's sister-in-law [more]; see AMW to James H. Gamble, 3 April 1854, #06438.

22.  phiz
Slang: physiognomy.

23.  Tho Winans
Thomas De Kay Winans (1820-1878), locomotive engineer and collector [more].

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

25.  your patron
Thomas De Kay Winans (1820-1878), locomotive engineer and collector [more]. He had commissioned paintings and advanced money to enable JW to study art in Europe (see #09570, #07077, #07078).

26.  Mr Ames
Joseph Alexander Ames (1816-1872), portrait and genre painter [more]; J. A. Ames, Portrait of Ross Winans (z236).

27.  portrait of the old gentleman
Ross Winans (1796-1877), locomotive manufacturer, father of JW's sister-in-law [more]; the portrait was shown in the New York annual exhibition of 1872, its whereabouts are now unknown.

28.  The Crimea
The 'Crimea' was Winans's country house, outside Baltimore, overlooking Franklintown Rd. from Leakin Park; it was built shortly before the Civil War.

29.  Aunt Kate
Catherine ('Kate') Jane Palmer (ca 1812 - d.1877), née McNeill, AMW's sister [more], who lived at the Corner House, Stonington, CT.

30.  Cousin Ginnie
Virginia ('Ginnie') Carry Fairfax (d. 1878), née Ragland, wife of D. McN. Fairfax [more]. She did not get on well with AMW; see AMW to JW, 21 March 1855, #06455.

31.  Donald
Donald McNeill Fairfax (1821-1894), naval officer, JW's cousin [more].

32.  Mrs Ducatels
Mrs J. T. Ducatel, mother-in-law of George William Whistler.

33.  Georgie
George ('Georgie') Worthen Whistler (b. 1851), JW's nephew [more].

34.  George
George William Whistler (1822-1869), engineer, JW's half-brother [more].

35.  Mrs Perine I was coming so Glenn
Mary Perine (1797-1861), née Glenn, wife of D. M. Perine, Sr [more], and her son Elias Glenn Perine (1829-1922), stockbroker [more]. Homeland was their country estate north of Baltimore.

36.  fathers
George Washington Whistler (1800-1849), engineer, JW's father [more].