The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 09159
Date: [18 November 1898][1]
Author: JW
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: William Heinemann[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, VA
Call Number: Special Collections, 7958a Barrett-W
Document Type: ALS[3]

My dear Publisher! -

How am I to harden my heart, and approach you with a proposal of, let us say, momentary, divorce! -

Certainly neither of us would have supposed it possible, that further developements of "The Gentle Art[4]" could have brought complications suggesting even our separation -

But what is to be done! -

This American impatience, and the smart [p. 2] method of announcement that distributes pages of an unfinished book to the newspapers - of which there is no end - has destroyed, for the time, the pleasure I looked forward to in presenting, with you, the pretty story of "The Baronet and the Butterfly[5]" to my London people -

I must really change the venue! -

And your first feeling in this matter was so entirely with me, that I will at once abuse your sympathy, and frankly ask you to transfer your camaraderie and the glory of Aide-de-Camp, to a Frenchman, whom I shall choose! -

This is no mere easy ingratitude, on my part, as a friend - Of far greater magnitude is the villainy! - I will not stop to dilate upon it - Suffice it to say that Napoleon and I do these things! - And France shall have the Baronet first! - Indeed the refusal should be hers - who has already presided at his toilette!

As to New York, I must leave that entirely to yourself -

You tell me that they "meant well", and naturally steeped themselves in crime -

J McNeill Whistler

Courage[6]! mon ami - à un de ces jours! -

[butterfly signature]

[p. 3] 'Returned from R. H. Russell[7] - Nov. 29 '98'

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1.  [18 November 1898]
Dated from JW's letter to W. Heinemann, in which he refers to this letter, [20 November 1898], #08501.

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

3.  ALS
The paper has a mourning border. This may have been the final version of this letter; drafts appear at #02257 and #02088. The letter was forwarded by Heinemann (see #13851) and published in the Morning Post, 2 December 1898; GM B.94.

4.  The Gentle Art
Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892.

5.  The Baronet and the Butterfly
This letter concerns preparations for the publication of JW's account of his quarrel with Eden over Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408): Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24]. JW was concerned when extracts and an incorrect title page appeared prematurely as publicity for an American edition of the book (see #13199). He then changed the place of publication from London to Paris. JW and Heinemann staged this event through their letters to the press.

6.  Courage
Fr., Courage! my friend - we shall meet again! (lit. 'until one of these days!').

7.  Returned from R. H. Russell
Robert Howard Russell, writer, journalist and publisher [more], who seems to have been responsible for the original 'leak' from the Baronet and the Butterfly.