The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 08480
Date: [3/4 April 1897][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: William Heinemann[2]
Place: [Paris]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC
Document Type: ALS[3]


I miss you mon ami! -

You were charming to me - and dull London is duller and blacker than ever now that you are gone! -

"What am I to do!" - What am I to do", I find myself continually calling out in the solitude of my own sad company!

The days are filled with dragging work - [p. 2] for the joy would seem to have gone even out of that - and the nights are not filled with sleep - As I said the other evening to Mrs Pennell[4], in gentle deprecation, really if it were not for the refreshing nap I get there while Josephs trial[5] is discussed, I don't know how I should keep my health at all! -

And now here comes that same trial - and all the sickening Sickert business! - In the midst of my work! -

I shall be able to send nothing to any Salon - Well it doesn't matter I suppose - Of course "nothing matters" - The work alone is worth while - Never mind -

Come back - and we will keep house together again - and Marie[6], who now is astonishing, shall make a bijou of the kitchen as she alone can! -

You should see her place now!

The Financier[7] is making money hand over fist! - And I have put his "scrip" proudly in the Bank! -

News - Well, no news - Oscar[8] they say is out - but the Harris[9] dinner has not come off - It would have been most excellent could it have taken place before our trial - for as Mr Poole (George's man)[10] said the British Jury could have understood that. -

Send us a line to say what next - The Pennell is really on for today - probably tomorrow

Always affectionately

[butterfly signature][11]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [3/4 April 1897]
Dated from the reference to Pennell (see below). Another hand has inserted '[1899'] at the top.

2.  William Heinemann
William Heinemann (1863-1920), publisher [more].

3.  ALS
Deep mourning border.

4.  Mrs Pennell
Elizabeth Robins Pennell (1855-1936), née Robins, JW's biographer [more].

5.  Josephs
Joseph Pennell (1860-1926), printer and illustrator, JW's biographer [more]. JW is referring to the recent libel action between Joseph Pennell and Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942), artist and writer on art [more]. Sickert had publicly alleged that Pennell's method in lithography of drawing on transfer paper instead of directly onto the lithographic stone could not be regarded as true lithography. The case was heard on 5-6 April 1897. JW supported Pennell who won the case. See E. R. Pennell to JW, 3 February 1897, #10635.

6.  Marie
Marie, a Belgian servant hired by JW in London.

7.  Financier
Edmund Heinemann (b. ca 1866), stockbroker [more].

8.  Oscar
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), writer, critic and playwright [more]. Wilde was sentenced to two years hard labour on the charge of gross indecency on 25 May 1895 after the failure of his civil suit against the Marquess of Queensbury. Wilde was released from prison on 19 May 1897.

9.  Harris
James Thomas ('Frank') Harris (1856-1931), writer and playwright, editor of the Fortnightly Review and Saturday Review [more].

10.  Mr Poole
Poole, possibly a legal clerk; he may have worked for Sir George Henry Lewis (1833-1911), society lawyer [more].

11.  [butterfly signature]
'Send us a line ... [signature]' is written in the left-hand margin of p. 1 at right angles to the main text.