The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 10785
Date: [16-17 or 23-24 February 1892][1]
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: William Heinemann[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Library of Congress
Call Number: Manuscript Division, Pennell-Whistler Collection, PWC 10/769-771
Document Type: TLc[3]

Tuesday night.

33, Rue de Tournon, Paris.

Dear Publisher -

I was so full of my new discovery of the Bijou Mallarmé[4] that I had no time left for the other matters -

As it is I only begin this tonight and shall wait for the morning's post - and if I d[o]n't get a letter from you, I shall be too horribly cross to write at all! You see I have set my heart upon your making a charming thing with the Mallarmé -

Don't you see too, you could of course get a lot taken here by the Paris publishers or Booksellers - I mean the French ones - That would be all right - They would be glad to have these from you in London - and Mallarmé would of course be glad that his book should come in that way into Paris - though he would feel sensitively about bringing it out here himself - In short this is just the moment when for you it would be excellent in every way! -


Well - I have had your letter - and the book is here all safe - You are going to Norway - wherefore of course Goss[e][5] goes with you. Mind that in the intimacies of the basin, you neither reveal this little "trifle" to him nor to the Stewart[6]! So that's all right.

Only mind you - I am disappointed - and you ought to know that the light "play" of a great man, is better to make everlasting in print, than the heavy labour of a mediocre person. As to the rest - of course you know better what is advisable (p. 2) as far as good business goes - As to the [tattle?], that was simply perfect - It could not be other - and what is most curious, only the other day some graceful reference to these elegant little quatrains, was made in the papers here - and this was one of the reasons I was so anxious that the matter shallould not get wind.

Now then - I told you that the Belfonds[7] and I are all right - they have put up the Press - and are also going to look out a lithographic one - and presently we shall be doing wonders! And you will have some little playthings of more to be serious about!! -

The fairy book[8] is greatly exercising us - and first you are at once to say what became of the proofs you had taken from the blocks to have reproduced?

Did they come out at all right? - You have never said anything about them - Do let us have them that we may know where we are - Meantime I have already spoken to Belfond about reproducing - but we would like to see what you had managed - In any case everything is going on and time will not be lost -

The Studio[9] as I have told you is amazing! and the palatial residence! When you see it you will think that the very centre of all Fairy stories - What possesses you to go to Norway? Have you got another Ibsen[10] up there? Or is Gosse going to write a Skivod[11] [sic] on whatever it is? Say to him pleasing things from me - We are not yet off to the sea - because of (p. 3) the architect and workmen - But we will let you know. Meanwhile come to Paris - I have had some amazing Official Correspondence[12]! That might have gone into the book[13], only you have been too bad! -

[butterfly signature]

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1.  [16-17 or 23-24 February 1892]
Dated by the address and reference to Mallarmé (see below).

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

3.  TLc
There are several points where the typescript copy is inaccurate or JW was being unusually ungrammatical.

4.  Mallarmé
Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-1898), Symbolist writer and poet [more]. JW had proposed an edition of 'Quatrains' by Mallarmé, based on postal addresses.

5.  Goss[e]
Edmund William Gosse (1849-1928), writer and art critic [more]. Heinemann published many of his works including Gossip in a Library, 1892/1893.

6.  Stewart
This may have been an acquaintance of JW, Jules M. Stewart, possibly a member of an American art club, involved in organising an exhibition in Antwerp.

7.  Belfonds
Lithographic printers in Paris. Heinemann and JW had the firm in mind to produce a series of lithographs, Whistler, James McNeill, Songs on Stone, London, [n.d.] (see W. Heinemann to JW, #02083).

8.  fairy book
B. Whistler, Illustrations to F. van Eeden, 'Little Johannes' (z225). Some of the woodblocks are in the Library of Congress: the book was not published as illustrated.

9.  Studio
JW moved to a house at 110 rue du Bac and a studio at 82 rue Notre Dame du Champs.

10.  Ibsen
Henrik Johan Ibsen (1828-1906), playwright [more].

11.  skivod
The copyist or JW spelt the Scandinavian word 'skald' incorrectly; it means the bards who sang verses written in honour of heroes

12.  Official Correspondence
Possibly the letter of 3 February 1892, #11036.

13.  book
JW may mean the forthcoming second edition of The Gentle Art of Making Enemies (Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892).