The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 09889
Date: [14 or 21 May 1899][1]
Author: JW
Place: [Paris]
Recipient: [William Heinemann][2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Princeton University Library, Princeton, NJ
Call Number: Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, J. Harlin O'Connell Collection of the 1890s, Co. 203, Box 5, V-Y, Whistler Folder
Credit Line: Published with permission of Princeton University Library
Document Type: ALS[3]

Later! - Sunday evening -

What then has happened to the Pall Mall?!! -

I thought you had that all right - and that Pauling[4] knew who was going to do it -

Nasty - don't you think? - and so entirely the old played out business of "unworthy" and that sort of blind continuance of misunderstanding and misrepresentation! - You used to say that Douglas Straight[5] was devoted & enthusiastic! - What is the matter with them all? - I thought this 'vieux jeu', that was rife at the time of the Gentle Art[6], had now been dropped - [p. 2] And do you notice now they recall the "wit" and "sparkle" of that great work!! They really are too amazing! And Dunn[7] - why did he fall away from us? - You see though that the Papers are going on - and something ought to be done to better their tone of appreciation -

One thing though is most remarkable! - Do you notice that the article in the P. M. G. is perfectly reckless of consequences as far as the Baronet[8] is concerned? "Once again the artist has been defeated[9] by the man of business"!.... "the characteristics of the patron who would buy cheap"... "of the intervening friend"... ..."unrighteous hands["] . . . Now what do you think of all this? - Do you know I begin to believe that it is not at all so evident to every one that the Baronet would dream of taking action - Surely the Pall Mall is carelessly libellous! and quite as much so as can be any delicate suggestion & playful quip or crack of mine! - My idea always has been that the Baronet who talks so blaringly of what he will do has never read the reports of the French trial! - and that now for the first time he will see them, in the book! And after reading the Avocat Générals[10] exposé of himself, he will be a little less decided as to the wisdom of raking up the whole thing again! -

I have had Davray[11] to breakfast this morning - and [p. 3] to meet him, Lynch[12] - who means to fill papers of all kinds - American - Austrian - Hungarian Zingari! que sais-je! with anathema to the Baronet - And, to begin with, an article in tomorrow's "Daily Mail" - Davray, of course, excellent! - and says he has prepared every thing in the press here! -

Now the more I think of it, the more simple it becomes. - Why after all should I offer any thing to Simpkins[13]? - Why not simply tell May[14] not to trouble, but to send bails of the book directly into England to the promised [p. 4] booksellers who ask for it - The truth is that any appreciation, like the Simpkins', adds only to the desire to have the book - Booksellers and all individuals will write for it here -

As Duret[15] says it might have been announced, as in the time of Voltaire[16] "à obtenir à la maison de l'auteur".! Of course that is only a picturesque way of showing his appreciation! -

Now what ought to be done is to get a really good article written at once - taking the kind of statements of the Pall Mall and showing how on the contrary, the book is important extracting bits from the Avocat Général speech - etc. etc - and then some proper appreciation of the work itself - its quality - beauty etc - and roundly stating that if any thing it is the very highest out come of the Gentle Art - -

Let us see then what your men can do - I mean those you have relied on -

With my best messages to Mrs. Heinemann[17]

[butterfly signature]

This document is protected by copyright.


1.  [14 or 21 May 1899]
Dated from references to the publication and reviews of Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24]; R. Birnie Philip sent a related letter to JW's lawyer, Webb, possibly on the same day, #04744).

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

3.  ALS
Written on deep bordered mourning paper.

4.  Pauling
Sidney Southgate Pawling (d. 1922), business partner of the publisher W. H. Heinemann [more].

5.  Douglas Straight
Douglas Straight (1844-1914), lawyer, politician and editor of the Pall Mall Gazette [more].

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

7.  Dunn
James Nicol Dunn (1856-1919), editor of the Morning Post from 1897-1905 [more].

8.  Baronet
Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more]. In 1894, JW quarrelled with Eden over the completion of Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408), a portrait of Eden's wife. Eden instituted legal proceedings against him in 1894 but the case was not resolved until December 1897. The judgement was delivered by the Court of Appeal in Paris on 2 December 1897 (see #01037). JW's account of the affair was published in 1899 (Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24]).

9.  defeated
Double underlined.

10.  Avocat Général
Lé Bulot (1850-1922), barrister, Advocate general[more].

11.  Davray
Henry Durand Davray (1873-1944), journalist, translator and literary critic [more].

12.  Lynch
George Lynch (1868-1928), journalist, war correspondent and writer on Japan [more].

13.  Simpkins
Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., publishers and newsagents; see JW's letter to the firm, 12 May 1899, #05449.

14.  May
Louis-Henry May, printer [more]. He published the Baronet and the Butterfly (see note above).

15.  Duret
Théodore Duret (1838-1927), art critic and collector [more].

16.  Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694-1778), writer [more].

17.  Mrs. Heinemann
Magda Stuart Heinemann (m. 1899), née Sindici, pseudonym 'Kassandra Vivaria', writer [more], married William Heinemann on 22 February 1899. The lines 'have relied ... [butterfly signature]' are written at right-angles to the main text, in the left-hand margin.