[...] Are you quite mad! What could possess you to suppose that I should allow people to think that I could either do a picture of myself with the magpie, or in any way be a party in any such advertisement of myself! Go at once and see Morley, and tell him that the little paragraph was only tolerable as a little playful bit [...]
Published in 'Whistler and his Secretary', The Times, 27 November 1923. The original has not been located and this is an incomplete transcription.
4. picture of myself with the magpie
JW had written that he was 'accompanied by a new familar in the shape of a most knowing and wicked magpie' (#08831). The magpie was called 'Coco' and accompanied him back to London, where its thieving ways caused some problems for JW's visitors (Globe, 26 December 1888, in GUL PC 10, p. 51).
Charles Morley (1853-1916), journalist at the Pall Mall Gazette [more]. Morley had just published a gossip item about JW: 'Mr Whistler, I hear, has in his journeyings in sunny France not been idle. He brings back some forty new etchings of the finest quality [...] I am told that the ex-President is now accompanied by a new familiar, in the shape of a most knowing and willing magpie, which sits on his shoulders as he etches, and doubtless imparts many mischievous thoughts in its native tongue.' ('Tittle Tattle', Pall Mall Gazette, 1 November 1888, p. 14).