UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 08179
Date: [19 June 1869][1]
Author: Anna Matilda Whistler[2]
Place: London
Recipient: [Margaret ('Maggie')][3]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 34A
Document Type: ALS


As I was[4] using the valuable little devotional vol[5] you sent me by her[6] (thank you dear M for so remembering me) I felt this morning, it was while waiting to assemble at Family Worship, the impression of thankfulness to our Lord for the love of His people I experience & for which I always rejoice in the hope that it is a token of the Divine favor towards me, for Jesus sake! I am always intending to write your dear Sister Eliza[,] give my love to her & dear Fannie[7] & beg her never to doubt it. I had intended also enclosing in this, my response to our beloved Clara's[8] letter which came with yours, but I have also one which must be answered, to a friend who intended to have forwarded a package to me by Mr King[9], it had not reached N Y & as another friend has now arrived without its being sent for him to bring. it may be a neglected parcel in the Express office, but will you share my loving remembrances with my friends the Gennets[10] & the W L Hills[11] til I can write them. Oh that your kind good wishes were realized by my own dear Willie[12] in his medical career, he is so attentive at his post & feels so interested in the study of each case[,] his Patients thank him for the benefit they derive from his skill, & speak to others commendingly, but the delay in payments causes him pecuniary anxiety, & at times he fears he must seek a surer means of support, But I know it is the trial of our faith, which we are assured must be as gold in the crucible[13], but poor Willie is so intent on earning an honest, honorable maintenance he cannot see why the result should be so disheartening. But I try to encourage him by the hope in God which I obtain through prayer & trust. Idas[14] [sic] father who is so comforted by Mittie[15] said to me one day "Willie ought to have a wife" & so I think and wish he may when he finds he can support one who will love him as Ida did. Meanwhile I am thankful to be here to help to cheer both my Sons, who are so tender in their endeavour to make me happy. Your mention of Miss Sallie Taylor[16] makes me wish to know her as you do, for I had heard of her, tho so lovely a Christian character, yet a coquette among her admirers. it is a dangerous amusement where a sensitive & true heart becomes distrustful of being appreciated. But [p. 2] this is a freedom I ought not to take perhaps so let it be entre nous & I shall be glad dear Maggie if you tell me I am mistaken[.] Willie has recently heard from a friend of his returned to Liverpool of his having seen Miss S T in his visit at Norfolk. Willie never forgets Richmond & Camp Jackson[17] & is interested in all who retain a friendship for him. I am sure he would wish me to offer you his affectionate remembrance if aware of my writing. he used to come to us every evening the three weeks his father King staid, but now must be the closer at study. I shall be thankful, as the lease of this house will expire the end of 1869, that we may find one conveniently to suit both my sons & we may then reside under one roof, but rents are so high where Willie has pitched his tent, I am afraid we cannot afford a house in that more fashionable part of the West End, where the opinion is a doctor must be. Both my sons are in excellent health & steadily at work, tho the Artist[18] has no pictures yet finished, therefore my economy & management is exercised. I am so thankful in having an excellent & faithful servant in my kitchen, never wearying & so bright & happy in her loving service to her Mistress[,] old Harriet[19] (for she is 60) is of the Old school of English servant, a rarity now, I was so tormented til Providence sent me this relief, I daily thank the Lord for it. the good old woman does not displease me when she remarks to me with her smile beaming honest countenance, "Well Ma'am isn't it curious how like are your ways & mine! I tell everyone my Mistress always seems pleased with what I do now!" Old Harriet is indeed a comfort & merits my respect & affection[.] I am thankful to report my health & sight both better this summer than they were last, it must be by divine favor, for I always used to find exercise in open air so necessary & now we have incessant chilling rainy days to confine me to the fire side. I never would pet any thing but a child til now, my Son Jemie's Pomeranian dog is so[20] lively & yet so docile it almost speaks & is so graceful & beautiful, we are all fond of the happy dog. [p. 3] [...] as right hand on their little Plantation on the St John's river the year before this bereavement & now has all the responsibility & is scarcely 25 years of age[21]. I am particularly interested in this nephew, because he was under my own roof & care when Willie was a medical student in Phila. & he gratefully assures me my endeavours to lead him to piety were not in vain. I dare say dear Maggie you may have heard of my nieces[22] who had married two brothers Rodewald. Mary's death two years ago was a sad blow to me on my return to London. I had been in Julia's[23] happy home on Staten Island & came from N York laden with loving messages, from her & her good husband to his brother & her Sister! But Adolfe Rodewald in his prosperous career of business in New York was suddenly seized by Pneumonia & died on Easter Eve leaving the wife of his youth, four sons & four daughters[24] to feel their loss. Julia writes me her solace is in memories of their love, & that he was a true Xtian, trusting in his Saviour! But Maggie dear, I must write of what more concerns you & yours. Cousin Mittie & I talked sometimes by ourselves, as you & I used to do in 7th St[25] when you so comforted me by being eyes to me, we took sweet counsel together did not we? & I used to hope for your future, what Mittie now yearns to realize that you might share her home as I knew from experience, you would reciprocate loving kindnesses. I shall indeed rejoice for you both to hear D V that you hasten to welcome her return to Brooklyn to stay an indefinite period, as I know she will invite you to do, she feels a delicacy because she has not the resources to enable her to compensate you for all your heart would prompt you to do to help her, and you I judge feel delicacy in the apprehension you might occupy the place of some relative of his, but they would both prefer Maggie to any one else I'm sure. The Lord provides for each of His children & in your case & Mittie's it is clear to me, you should be together [p. 4] I never write long letters except to those whose charity will cover all their mistakes for I do not read them myself. Assure your Sister when you write her of my affectionate regards. Share my love with those you are with. Believe me always dear Maggie

your sincerely & warmly attached friend

A M Whistler

How I should delight to take my early morning walks in Richmond again, words cannot express!

Saturday 19th.

It may be a satisfaction to Mittie's Sister to hear of the 1st letter (I presume it is from Georgetown from her) have reached me last night & I forward it this day to Lausanne. & shall promptly send all letters [sent] to my care to them without delay. Willie staid here last night & breakfasted today with me, I asked him if I should request you to let Miss Taylor know he had received safely the token she sent him by Mr Bulloch[26] of her remembrance, but he will himself write her a note of thanks. Again dear Maggie adieu with love to you & yours.


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Notes:

1.  19 June 1869
Dated from references to the deaths of Mary Isabella Rodewald, and Charles Johnson McNeill (see below), and the Perpetual Calendar Whitaker's Almanac.

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

3.  Margaret ('Maggie')
Margaret ('Maggie'), probably a relation of M. M. King.

4.  As I was
First page of letter missing.

5.  devotional vol
Unidentified.

6.  her
Eliza, probably a relation of M. M. King.

7.  Fannie
Fannie Bronaugh, widow of J. W. Bronaugh [more].

8.  Clara's
Probably Clara Genet, daughter of Mrs Genet, of Richmond, VA.

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

10.  Gennets
Mrs Genet, AMW's house-keeper in Richmond, VA.

11.  W L Hills
Probably William Hill, librarian, son of S. and R. C. Hill.

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

13.  gold in the crucible
It derives from 'The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the Lord trieth the hearts.' Prov. 17.3. See also 'Gold, too, must be tried; it cannot be used as it is dug up from the mine, or in grains as it is found in the rivers; it must pass through the crucible and have the dross taken away." Charles H. Spurgeon's 'God's People in the Furnace,' The New Park Street Pulpit and Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit: Containing Sermons / Preached and Revised by C.H. Spurgeon , 12 August 1855, sermon 35, London, 1856-1873, vol. 1, p. 273.

14.  Idas
Ida Bayard Whistler, née King (d. 1863), JW's sister-in-law [more]. Ida died in 1863 in Richmond, VA. She was then living with her husband William McN. Whistler who was an Assistant Surgeon in the Confederate army; see AMW to James H. Gamble, 19 February 1862, #06518.

15.  Mittie
Mildred M. ('Mittie') King (b. 1820), née Bronaugh, second wife of R. King [more].

16.  Miss Sallie Taylor
Sallie Taylor, an acquaintance of AMW.

17.  Richmond & Camp Jackson
In August 1863, William McN. Whistler was stationed at Camp Jackson, Richmond; see AMW to Deborah Delano Haden, 4 August 1863, #06521.

18.  Artist
James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903), artist [more].

19.  Harriet
Harriet (b. ca 1810), a servant of AMW.

20.  so
'so ... dog' continues in the right margin.

21.  bereavement
The death of Charles Johnson McNeill (1802-1869), brother of AMW [more]; see AMW to Harriet and James H. Gamble, 6 May 1869, #06542.

22.  25 years of age
Donald C. McNeill (1844-1876), JW's cousin; see AMW to James H. Gamble, 3/27 August 1867, #06532.

23.  my nieces
Mary Isabella Rodewald (1823-1867), née McNeill, JW's cousin, wife of J. F. Rodewald [more], and Julia Catherine Rodewald (1825-1897), née McNeill, JW's cousin, wife of A. Rodewald, Sr [more].

24.  Julia's
J. C. Rodewald lived in Staten Island, NY. AMW visited them on her short trip to America in the summer of 1867; see AMW to Jane Wann, 24 July 1867, #06530. Julia's husband Adolphe Rodewald died on 27 March 1867.

25.  four sons & four daughters
Mary Louise ('Louloo') Rodewald (b. 1850); Adolfe Rodewald (b. 1853); Frederick Rodewald (b. 1855); Julia Rodewald (b. 1857); Anna Rodewald (b. 1860); William McNeill Rodewald (b. 1862); Emily Rodewald (b. 1864); Ferdinand Rodewald (b. 1866).

26.  7th St
Unidentified.

27.  Bulloch
Not identified, possibly a Carrier.