UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 06605
Date: [February 1892][1]
Author: JW
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: Beatrix Whistler[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W598
Document Type: AL[3]


21, CHEYNE WALK,
CHELSEA.

How could you Trixie! Fancy hurling at the poor absent much be troubled mangler all this dreadful abuse accross The Channel that separates from his only Wam! - How could you let the sun go down - When you know that unless every thing in this World be changed he is always the same fondly devoted slave of his of dear Luck!

You know that away from you I am, [p. 2] whatever happens, bored to death - and now of all times when I am wearied with entirely too much of the "respectueux" - and enjoying nothing properly without you to feel with me by my side - how could you pretend that you could not tell just as well as if you saw straight away out of the "dormer" that my one occupation is this thing to be completed - and that all latenesses and missing of mails come out of it! - Are you sorry now? - Did I ever before let a day go without talking with you and sending you my love? - And after all Chinkie you have not done so famously yourself - not that I wish to reproach you - for I am only too glad when the garçon brings me anything from you - even were it the sad scolding I got this morning! - But you did leave me without a word until the Tuesday morning although I wired you my address early on Sunday Saturday.

Well well! I see that you thought you made it all up by the second post's bringing me the Detroit Free[4]! -

Now there are no end of things and I am late as it it is - First and I suppose most important I have not been "raking around" with Mallarmé[5] and Mme Laurent[6]! - Never seen her - Poor Mallarmé I have seen - and I went [p. 3] again to his evening on Tuesday[7] - only too glad to get away from an atmosphere of "respectueux"! - which by the way I may as well say that I should not be in the least depressed by, were I not all the while conscious of this everlasting great work - with which, by dint of its long dragging, this melancholy "triste et noble" one has become entirely too intimate! It is that doubtless that demoralises me - and makes me fancyful and suspicious in his excellent company! - And now tomorrow he has insisted upon my going to a Matinée at the "Vaudeville" where they are going [to] play away a whole hurrah of Wagner[8]! and this in the middle of the day when I wanted to be at my painting! Of course all Paris - and of course the Gréfhüle[9] - and the Countess[10] de whats her name you know we met her in the Exposition - and so I am to drag my well cut and well worn rags accross the water and seat myself in the stalls in the roaring afternoon! - And you know [p. 4] how I shall hate it! - and all because of this great black work that still is there - an eternal terror and reproach until it is done! -

However I am not sure that it may not come out right after all - The Studio Chinkie dear is amazing! -

All it wants is yourself - You must hurry over and see it - and then you will take it of course - I said to Montesquiou[11] that if you choose to have it - it would be yours - and that the present painter man who believed it to be his would, in every sense, be "out of it"! - Fancy only £44-! - The only painting place I have been in for years -

Ah Chinkie if you could only look over the picture with me for ten minutes in that atelier I believe everything would be splendid after all! [p. 5] Montesquiou says that I am to tell "ces dames" that still they must go to the Opéra and hear the Lohengrin[12] - that it need be no occasion for grandes toilettes - for the box is a most retired one - a baignoire - you know - one of those very low boxes just down by the Orchestra - and that any little evening dress of black would do - only, of course, no bonnet -

After Friday I am to have clear work without further interruption -

Notwithstanding all this, I have been rather left to myself - I have breakfasted once with 'le Comte' - after he had breakfasted with me - but to dinners - etc - of which I have been glad enough as you may well fancy - Tonight he proposed going to the Grefhüle - but Drouet[13] - my little sculptor, dines with me - as I did with him last night - He is delightful and charmed to have me - He says that you are charming and bien belle - and I have promised that he shall come and dine with us all when you come - so that the blind and bewildering Bunnie[14] shall make long fingers at him!

Well When are you to be expected - and what all is the news?

Tell Nellie[15] - or write to her - that Ross Winans[16], whom I have seen, says that [...]


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Notes:

1.  [February 1892]
Dated from the reference to portrait sittings (see below).

2.  Beatrix Whistler
Beatrix Whistler (1857-1896), née Beatrice Philip, artist [more], also referred to as 'Trixie', 'Luck', 'Wam' and 'Chinkie'.

3.  AL
Published in Newton, Joy, 'La Chauve-souris et le Papillon: Correspondance Montesquiou-Whistler,' Nottingham French Studies, vol. 20, no. 1, May 1981, no. 76, pp. 149-50.

4.  Detroit Free
Detroit Free Press, a Detroit newspaper.

5.  Mallarmé
Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898), Symbolist writer and poet [more].

6.  Mme Laurent
Méry Laurent (1849-1900), née Anne-Rose Louviot, actress and courtesan [more].

7.  Tuesday
Mallarmé's famous 'mardi' salons were attended by Symbolist poets and writers like André Gide and Paul Verlaine.

8.  Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner (1813-1883), composer [more].

9.  Gréfhüle
Elisabeth, Comtesse Greffulhe (1860-1952), née Riquer de Caraman-Chimay [more].

10.  Countess
Not identified.

11.  Montesquiou
Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac (1855-1921), Symbolist writer and poet, and collector [more]. JW was painting Arrangement in Black and Gold: Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac (YMSM 398).

12.  Lohengrin
Richard Wagner's Romantic opera, first performed in 1850.

13.  Drouet
Charles L. Drouet (1836-1908), sculptor and collector [more].

14.  Bunnie
Ethel Whibley (1861-1920), née Philip, JW's sister-in-law [more].

15.  Nellie
Helen ('Nellie') Euphrosyne Whistler (1849-1917), née Ellen Ionides, JW's sister-in-law [more].

16.  Ross Winans
Ross Winans, Jr, brother of W. and T. De Kay Winans [more].