Not to be recognized, my dear Smalley, may be a sadness -- I don't know, but to be readily mistaken for another is a humiliation, qui fait douter de tout!
And, oh grief and disillusion! your preoccupation with political matter of minor importance has given the enemy the rare occasion of palming off as his own upon you, a Whistler of the purest water!
Ought you not at least to have divined that the [blank] who could abscond with the Collection would surely not leave its name behind?
My dear friend, c'est tout simple. The odd papers that could be laid hands upon were thrust in guilty haste into the bag, and the hurried drummer whose very pack still betrays in its disorder the hysterical gathering of another's goods, of course disappeared with the title -- or rather, with all that he could remember of it!
Clean and in its entirety you will see it next week, in a little volume for whose dainty dress I hope you will feel as much sympathy as for the indecent pastiche in 'sage-green,' whose successful seizure was such a brilliant instance of adorable injustice, delicately flavoured with law!
J. McN. Whistler.
Published in The New York Tribune, 25 June 1890. See also Getscher, Robert H., and Paul G. Marks, James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent. Two Annotated Bibliographies, New York and London, 1986, B. 71.
4. qui fait douter de tout
Fr., which makes one doubt everything.
6. c'est tout simple
Fr., it is all simple.
Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, London and New York, 1890.
Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, ed. Sheridan Ford, Paris, 1890.