UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 07113
Date: [13 October 1886?][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Edmund Yates[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W1103
Document Type: ALd[3]


The following extract from a letter of Our James appeared in Mondays New York Tribune[4], and was cabled accross [sic] - I complete it with the butterfly -

The following extract from a letter of our James [...]

[p. 2] How dared he do this wicked thing - and I who was charming and made him beautiful on canvas - the masher of the Avenues -

Well of course this [is] no time for hesitation -

However I may not put off until the age of the Amateur has gone by, but am to take with me some of those works which have won for me the execration of Europe that they may be shown to a country in which I cannot be a prophet and where, I, who have no intention of being other than joyous, improving no one, not even myself, will say again my Ten o'clock[5] which I refused to repeat in London - J'ai dit[6]! -

This is no time for hesitation - one cannot continually disappoint a Continent! -

[p. 3] The following extract from a letter from of Mr. Whistler's to a friend appeared in a letter in yesterdays was cabled to New York & appeared in yesterdays Tribune - & was cabled accross to me - -

appeared in yesterdays Tribune & was cabled accross to me -

Quite true - now that it is established as an improbability it becomes true! -

They tell me that December has been fixed upon by the fates for my arrival in New York - and if I escape the Atlantic, I am to be wrecked by the reporter on the pier - I shall be in his hands even as is the sheep before his shearer[7] - for I have learned nothing from those who have gone before - and been lost too -

What will you! I know Mathew Arnold[8], and am told that he whispered truth exquisite, unheeded in the haste of America -

And the others who have crossed the seas, that they might fasten upon the hurried ones at home and gird at them with wisdom hysterically acquired, and administered unblushingly with a suddeness [sic] of purpose that prevented their ever being listened to here -

Must I follow in their wake to be met with suspicion by my compatriots and resented as the invading instructor!

Heavens! - also in the papers where naturally I read only of myself, I gather an impression of offensive aggressiveness that coupled with Chase's monstrous lampoon[9] has prepared me for the tomahawk on landing - [...]


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Notes:

1.  [13 October 1886?]
This is a draft of a letter to E. Yates dated 13 October 1886 (#11432). See the latter for full annotation.

2.  Edmund Yates
Edmund Hodgson Yates (1831-1894), novelist, 'Atlas' columnist and editor-proprietor of the World [more].

3.  ALd
This is one of two drafts (#07114) of a letter to Yates (#11432). One or more lines have been cut off at the foot of the page.

4.  Mondays New York Tribune
'Whistler coming to America', New York Tribune, 12 October 1886 (Getscher, Robert H., and Paul G. Marks, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Two Annotated Bibliographies, New York and London, 1986, B38).

5.  Ten o'clock
JW's Ten O'Clock Lecture was given first in February 1885. JW did not go on a lecture tour of America - indeed he never returned there.

6.  J'ai dit
Fr., I have spoken.

7.  the sheep before his shearer
JW is alluding to Isaiah 53:7 - 'He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.'

8.  Mathew Arnold
Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), writer [more].

9.  Chase's monstrous lampoon
W. M. Chase, Portrait of Whistler (z188) is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. It has an element of caricature, presenting JW as dandy and showman.