The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 11019
Date: 11 March 1895
Author: JW
Place: Paris
Recipient: Henry John Cockayne Cust[1]
Place: London
Repository: Published
Document Type: PL[2]

To the Editor of the Pall Mall Gazette.

Pall Mall Gazette, March 11, 1895.

SIR, -

We know the Baronet's[3] Valentine - you present to us now, comme de juste, I suppose, the Orson of the Clan[4].

See how he roars! - far from the farmer's wife, and her carving knife - adown the road of Warwick!

As an authority, in theory, on courtesy and the gentle arts, Orson is new - but in practice, I fancy we still recognise him of the club, as of old.

About tailors he may be right. The very clear-headed Sir William would know of course - and, from the determined attitude toward them, taken by this fresh and sturdy member of that pleasant family, it is clear that the poor devil North country snip has but slender chance with the Baronial breeches. Also, I now understand the course pursued with me. Indeed, it is well known, among my distinguished confrères that I am not the only painter upon whom our summary Patron has practised the swift and minute methods, unerring with his tailor.

Surely his courageous sentiment is now famous: "I know," he said, as he stood in front of the easel, "I know that I have there a beautiful little picture, but that is my luck! and a man is a d-d fool who gives a larger price for a thing that he can have for a smaller one!"

This to me, in my own studio, on the occasion of his visit, the day after the Valentine, when, pale and in the brown boots of travel, and doubting already the consequences of his first blunder, he floundered into the further one of attempting to patch up the matter by an offer of fifty guineas more! - while I looked on unkindly, with the amused expression of one who saw through the Jockey, tinged with the decorous sense of condolence for the Colonel and the Baronet who had got himself into such an awful fix!

Pray, Sir, make my compliments to the new Eden - and convey to that gallant kinsman, my slightly wearied acknowlegments of his doughtiness, and his knightly scorn of tailors - than nine of whom, he is mightier - and, kind Sir, reason then, with him.

Why should he burden himself with this "baculinum" cumbrance, since he proposes not to use it? Why prance and brandish about, and call aloud, since he proclaims that its exercise has fallen into desuetude - its custom is obselete - gone by, and "out of date"? Is this indeed so?... Let him ask Mr. Moore's brother[5].

[butterfly signature]


And so no more of bold buccaneering "baculinum[6] Fred." Of sweet disposition, au fond, and soft heart in belicose back, he has felt the awkwardness of his old-fashioned "argumentum," and, with velvet hand beneath the iron glove, has peaceably restored it to the family bric-à-brac of past prowess, in the tent - to be brought forth... never again.

[drawing[7] of a club on a cushion]

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1.  Henry John Cockayne Cust
Henry John Cockayne Cust (1861-1917), editor of the Pall Mall Gazette from 1892-1896 [more].

2.  PL
Published in Whistler, James McNeill, Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 [GM, A.24], pp. xxii-xxiv, under the heading 'Encountered', and in Pall Mall Gazette, 11 March 1895.

3.  the Baronet's
Sir William Eden (1849-1915), painter and collector [more]. His 'Valentine' was the payment for Brown and Gold: Portrait of Lady Eden (YMSM 408), made on St Valentine's Day (14 February). JW found the payment and method of payment unsatisfactory and refused to hand over the painting.

4.  the Orson of the Clan
Frederick Morton Eden (1829-1917), Barrister [more]. For JW's reference to 'Orson and Valentine', see JW to J. Sturges, [10 March 1895], #09900.

5.  Mr. Moore's brother
Augustus Martin Moore (d. 1918), journalist and acting manager [more], with whom JW had come to blows in 1890 (see #01052). JW had been introduced to Eden by George Moore (1852-1933), novelist and art critic [more], brother of Augustus.

6.  baculinum
Lat., staff-like; baculum, baculus: cane, staff. Eden wrote of an 'argumentum baculinum', an argument from staffs, i.e. beating with sticks (F. M. Eden to H. J. C. Cust, [8 March 1895], #13197).

7.  drawing
A club on a cushion (M.1564).