UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 06497
Date: 29 June 1858
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[1]
Place: Philadelphia
Recipient: James H. Gamble[2]
Place: [Staten Island]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: Whistler W492
Document Type: ALS


1205 Arch St[3] Philadelphia

Tuesday June 29th 58.

My beloved friend

Tho I promised my occulist this morning as he gave the first touch of the blue stone[4] to the original disordered eye - I would not write, how can I restrain an attempt to express my lamentation that your sweet Sister[5] should have rung in vain for admission at my door! do not I beg you all, be discouraged, it may not happen again!

I suppose we had all gone from church our first Sunday, to the hospitalities at Mr & Mrs Constables[6] 1304 Walnut St. At the time I suppose Mr & Mrs Wann[7] passing thro this city we were immersed in the toils of unpacking! I shall reserve all details, til we can talk it over. it is not to be that we shall meet at Henderson Home[8] so dear Mrs M[9] informs me! What a blank we shall all feel there in the absence & unavailing wishes for your mother[10] & her Lord!

[p. 2] If it were not a duty to devote most of my term of absence, to the healing waters, how much I should benefit & enjoy visiting the homes open to me in the vicinity of your city. It seems my part to serve where I fain would rest & be solaced.

Tell dear Mr & Mrs Wann how refreshed I was in their home that sabbath I spent with her mother, & how the eggs I took to Brooklyn were enjoyed at my two last breakfasts there. But I will not write with one eye shut, more than to tell you how I miss Willie[11] dear, tho I cannot wish him melting in the city heat as I do[,] he is enjoying intercourse at Hartford[12] this week, left last Saturday at 6 in morning (as I expect to do on the 10th please the Lord! He attended a Commencement[13] on the 1st after which goes thro Springfield to see Mary[14] en route to Stonington. No lectures here to attend. Dr J Darrach[15] quite approves [p. 3] his recruiting between now & latter part of Augt when we must return to recommence duty here.

I am encouraged by finding Willie so in earnest, really he talks understandingly & feelingly of a Doctors aim, his knowledge of the eye astonishes me & gives me confidence in his preceptor, who is prescribing for mine[,] he is convinced tho there is local disease, it is so dependent on the state of my system, he is as anxious as I am, to speed me to the mountain air & springs.

Business detains me til next week. I am obliged to remain in town til next Saturday as I cannot sew[.] I am to have some one in the house to do it for me, or Mr Harrisons[16] carriage would have taken me (with Julia[17]) tomorrow to his country seat[18] 30 miles up the Delaware, but I look forward to the rest of the Sabbath there & the escape from the din of Monday. then to return refreshed for doing my part of the house. I was evidently benefitted by my visit at Bartram Hall[19] from Saturday to yesterday afternoon. I really enjoyed a little reading in the afternoon, but today suffer & have lost the elasticity I gained.

[p. 4] Dr. Darrach is cautious & mild in his treatment, he says as the left eye is affected by sympathy only, he hopes he need only touch the right. I had thought dear Mr Gamble if you could have a fortnights rest, how glad it would make Willie to meet you in the city & travel to Henderson with you, but Mr Wann is going to England & you will not leave your dear Sister. If you direct here in a few days, I will promise not to write again. If Julia & me are prospered on our voyage to N York Saturday 10th there will be ample time for me to have my trunk put on board Steamer for Stonington, the two lines so close together then to take Julia to Mr Pophams[20] office & for me to return to North River Pier without hurry. I look forward to the welcome in my Sisters[21] home early before breakfast & the sabbath there as my reward. Mrs Aspinwall[22] invites me to bring Ida King[23] for as many days as we can linger en route to Richfield so I cannot spend a week at Stonington till my return in Augt. Mr King[24] is to start thursday for Niagara with his daughter a weeks holiday a rare indulgence to him.

Share my affectionate & grateful remembrance with your revered Mother & sweet Sister. Every day it comforts me that we meet at the Mercy seat & that you put up a petition for me & my boys.

Unchangeably your friend

Anna M Whistler.

I have lost & forgotten Mr J Maxwells[25] No. & also Mr Wanns business firm. How packing & unpacking disturb order. But I gratefully record the reliefs the Lord has provided me.


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Notes:

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

2.  James H. Gamble
James H. Gamble (b. 1820), clerk [more]; see AMW to JW, 15 December 1856, #06477.

3.  1205 Arch St
1205 Arch Street was the home address of Dr James Darrach, According to McElroy's Philadelphia City Directory, 1861, p. 215.

4.  blue stone
Probably a reference to a mercury based medication, similar to the blue pill often used by AMW; see AMW to Margaret Getfield Hill, 15 April 1852, #09559.

5.  Sister
Jane Wann (1822-1875), née Gamble, wife of S. Wann [more].

6.  Mr & Mrs Constables
John Constable and his wife, AMW's friends; 1304 Walnut Street was his home address; see McElroy's Philadelphia City Directory, 1861, p. 182.

7.  Wann
Samuel Wann (b. 1820), merchant, brother-in-law of J. H. Gamble [more].

8.  Henderson Home
'Henderson Home' in Herkimer County, NY, owned by Harriet Cruger (1790-1872), née Douglas; see AMW to James H. Gamble, 26 March 1857, #06482.

9.  Mrs M
Probably Ann Maxwell (1784-1867), née Young, wife of Robert Maxwell [more].

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

11.  Willie
William McNeill Whistler (1836-1900), physician, JW's brother [more]; he was studying medicine with Dr James Darrach.

12.  Hartford
William McNeill Whistler attended Trinity College, Hartford, CT.

13.  Commencement
Graduation ceremony.

14.  Mary
Probably Mary Brennan (b. 1825), AMW's servant [more]; see AMW to JW, 7 May 1858, #06496.

15.  Dr J Darrach
James Darrach (1828-1869), physician in Philadelphia [more].

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

17.  Julia
Julia, probably a relation of James Darrach.

18.  country seat
Riversdale, Joseph Harrison's summer residence on the banks of the Delaware River (see #06506).

19.  Bartram Hall
Bartram Hall, the residence of Andrew McCalla Eastwick (1810-1879), partner in Eastwick and Harrison, locomotive manufacturers, and later in Harrison, Winans and Eastwick [more]; see AMW to JW, 15 and 16 January 1852, #06409.

20.  Mr Pophams
William Sherbrooke Popham (1793-1885), merchant [more].

21.  my Sisters
Catherine ('Kate') Jane Palmer (ca 1812 - d.1877), née McNeill, AMW's sister [more].

22.  Mrs Aspinwall
Margaret Aspinwall (d. 1881), née Maxwell, wife of J. S. Aspinwall [more].

23.  Ida King
Ida Bayard Whistler, née King (d. 1863), JW's sister-in-law [more].

24.  Mr King
Ralph King (1801-1878), broker, father-in-law of W. McN. Whistler [more].

25.  Mr J Maxwells
Probably John S. Maxwell, secretary of the American Legation in St Petersburg in 1842 [more].