The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
Home > On-line Edition > Transcription/Database Record

the on-line edition

System Number: 07114
Date: [13 October 1886?][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Edmund Yates[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler W1104
Document Type: ALd


"....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 my 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 the shearer[4] - for I have learned nothing from those who have gone before - and been lost too -

What will you! - I know Mathew Arnold[5], 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 the [sic] hurried ones at home, and gird at them with wisdom hiysterically acquired, and administered with unblushingly with a suddeness [sic] of purpose that prevented their ever being listened to here!

Shall I too Shall I follow in their wake to[6] be met with suspiccoin [sic] by my compatriots and resented as the invading instructor? Heavens I hope not! -

Yet in the papers where naturally I read only of myself I gather an impression of general offensive aggressiveness that coupled with Chase's[7] most lamentable lampoon has prepared me for the tomahawk on landing! -

Why did he do this wicked thing! and I who was charming and made him beautiful on canvas - the Masher of the Avenues!

But I may not again put off this visit hitherto deferred because as I told you remember I told you found Art

I told you even as it is, I found Art so absolutely irritating in it's effect upon the People that I really hesitate before exasperating another Nation -

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [13 October 1886?]
This is a draft of JW's letter to E. Yates, which is dated 13 October 1886 (#11432). #07113 is another draft of the same letter. See #11432 for full annotation.

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

3.  hated
Written at the top of the page, in JW's hand.

4.  the sheep before the 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.'

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

6.  Shall I follow in their wake to
This passage is joined by a line to the relevant text.

7.  Chase's
William Merritt Chase (1849-1916), painter [more].