The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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System Number: 11410
Date: [9 September 1886][1]
Author: JW
Place: [London]
Recipient: Henry Labouchère[2]
Place: [London]
Repository: Published
Document Type: PLc[3]

WHEN I suggested you as the "Sapeur[4] of modern progress," my dear Henry, I thought to convey delicately my appreciation, wrapped in graceful compliment.

When I am made to say that you are the "Sapem[5]" of civilisation - whatever that may mean - I would seem to insinuate an impertinence clothed in classic error.

I trust that, if you forgive me, you will never pardon the printer. -


[butterfly signature]

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1.  9 September 1886
Date of first publication, in Truth, 9 September 1886.

2.  Henry Labouchère
Henry Du Pré Labouchère (1831-1912), journalist and Liberal MP [more].

3.  PLc
This transcription is based on the letter as republished in Whistler, James McNeill, The Gentle Art of Making Enemies, 2nd ed., London and New York, 1892, p. 173, under the heading 'The Inevitable'.

4.  Sapeur
Fr., pioneer. JW used this phrase in a letter to Labouchère, 21 August 1886, which was printed in Truth, 2 September 1886, #09184.

5.  Sapem
The word 'sapem' printed in Truth was, as JW says, meaningless.