The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 06528
Date: 24 January 1866
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[1]
Place: Coblenz
Recipient: Deborah Delano Haden[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: Whistler W522
Document Type: ALS

34 Schloss Strass

Wednesday afternoon Jan 24th 1866

Perhaps I shall now make up dearest Debo to you for the longer intervals of inability to write you. It has seemed to me in my lonely musings during a long walk this morning as tho your room might be the rendez-vous for your brothers & that naturally you might talk of Mother & of when she might be released by her occulist[4]. If dear Willie[5] may read this, it will relieve him of some anxiety to know I have a prospect of an escort to London in March. Letters came yesterday to Miss E & Dr M[6] from Mr Newton[7] of Phila to lead them to expect him to return to Coblentz by the middle of Febry with a friend desirous of our occulists advice & skill. Mr N is so satisfied with his cure of his that he does not say they need more done for them which is so remarkable as he had been confined to dark rooms two years before consulting Dr Meurer[.] Mr Newton was at Miss Ernens when I arrived, he immediately recognised me as a friend of his dear Mother & offered to be as a son to me so I think he will not refuse to be my protector back to London[.] I hope by the middle of Febry I may be allowed to visit Frankfurt & shall wish to be a few days after under Dr M's attention & to wind up my affairs here[.] I went to his office at 11 ocl today & his examination of my eyes seemed to him even more satisfactory than it was last Friday when Willie was so pleased at the improvements[.] On Monday they told tales of weeping & of injury from it, but I struggle against natural weakness & today read smaller print for Dr M than I had ever done before. I am using only a Borax lotion[8] now at night & morning but hope stronger salves may be prescribed soon. It shews how necessary to be under the observation of an Occulist to alter prescriptions as my eyes vary in their state, affected by every emotion, or the tones of my general health, loss of sleep &c. This will say good morning to you dearest Debo on Friday. Debo, should it so be that dear Willie has bid Sis adieu & yet that you know he has not yet left Lindsey Row[9] send your good Mary[10] with this for him to read, that he may be comforted by my hope that Mr Newtons coming so suitably I may return to London under his care. I knew the opportunity would meet my necessity [p. 2] because I leave it for God to order all for me. You will my dear Debo on Sunday afternoon while Annie[11] takes the boys[12] to St Lukes have time to write me of all you know interesting to me as to you. Our Saviour says to do good on the Lords day is acceptable to Him & it will comfort me to hear from you how your health is & how Julia's[13] & when she & George[14] intend to return home, my love to them & to dear Jemie[15] & Willie & all your home circle. The sun was so bright & warm today[,] I was out for 3 hours, & thought it might do you a benefit if you could join me here, & George would bring & leave you - Mrs E would meet you at the Station, only give notice[.] I had waited for Dr M's with Mr Bozenquet[16] who cannot see to go out alone. As Wednesday is a regular parade day in the Palace Square, we strolled about listening to two very fine bands for an hour, I wished in my heart for Arthur & Harry[17]. then I left Mr B at this house & went out alone, tho it is now so sad to contrast with my enjoyment of the Queens Walk[18] last Friday with Willie. I choke down tears & lift my heart to our Father who strengthens me. I thought as I do always of you all[,] so longing to return to you, that if the climate of London should prove detrimental to eyes & health you'd perhaps go with me somewhere but I hope it may do for me to have a room near 62[19] as 7 Lindsey Row will be given up then - and you know we may visit Feldheim[20] together[,] dear Mary asked me to on my return. I promised to spend a week too at Albyns[21]. I know you would not go there, but in the prospect of my leaving by May or June for the U S[22] naturally we shall try to be as much as possible together. It will be all in good time dear D to look out by & bye for the lodging. I could not be under your roof dear[,] you have all the boys now I know, & it is better for old ladies to be quiet & do as they are accustomed to[.] you will smile at Mothers eagerness, two months anticipation, but if Willie shares this he will be cheered by my hopes of Mr N's kindness at least. And now it is nearly the hour for my bath[,] I must get all in readiness for the woman who comes daily to give it to me. Heaven bless you all. Remember me kindly to your good servants. My love to your Mama[23][,] I rejoice at the reports of her health.

Your loving Mother

A M W.

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

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

3.  Coblentz
Another spelling of Koblenz, capital of the Rhine province in west central Germany. AMW was in the city to consult an ophthalmologist, in order to cure a chronic eye condition.

4.  occulist
Former term for an ophthalmologist, an eye specialist.

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

6.  Miss E & Dr M
Miss Ernens, probably a nurse, and Dr Meurens, occulist at Koblenz.

7.  Mr Newton
Newton, of Philadelphia.

8.  Borax lotion
'Borax', a white mineral occurring in alkaline soils and salt deposits.

9.  Lindsey Row
JW's home at 7 Lindsey Row, Chelsea, which he took on a three year lease from 1863-1866. The lease expired on 27 March 1866.

10.  Mary
Mary, the servant of JW's half-sister D. D. Haden.

11.  Annie
Annie Harriet Haden (1848-1937), later Mrs Charles Thynne, JW's niece [more].

12.  boys
Francis Seymour Haden (1850-1918), Arthur Charles Haden (1852-1910), musician, and Harry Lee Haden (1855-1877), JW's nephews.

13.  Julia's
Julia de Kay Whistler (1825-1875), née Winans, JW's sister-in-law [more].

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

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

16.  Mr Bozenquet
Bozenquet, an acquaintance of AMW in Coblentz.

17.  Arthur & Harry
D. D. Haden's sons.

18.  Queens Walk

19.  62
62 Sloane St, London, home of the Hadens.

20.  Feldheim
Feldheim, Wimbledon Common, was the home address of Mary Isabella Rodewald (1823-1867), née McNeill, JW's cousin, wife of J. F. Rodewald [more], AMW's niece.

21.  Albyns
The home of Mary Tyler Gellibrand (b. 1812), née Ropes, wife of W. C. Gellibrand [more]; see AMW to JW, 22 January 1866, #06527.

22.  US
AMW went to the USA in the summer of 1867; see AMW to Jane Wann, 24 July 1867, #06530.

23.  Mama
Probably a reference to Deborah Haden's mother-in-law, Emma Haden, née Harrison, mother of JW's brother-in-law, F. S. Haden.